Don't waste your money on a "Bespoke" armchair from "Willowbrook.co.uk"

I spoke to The Furniture & Home Improvement Ombudsman about my experience with "Willowbrook"

After months of correspondence eventually the Ombudsman found that there was nothing we can do.

So the only thing I can do is alert others who may be drawn in to waste money with "Willowbrook".

We would have been very pleased if the chair actually fitted the purpose, but it came nowhere near.

This is what happened :

We had £2000 to spend on a made to measure chair to help with my wife's comfort as she suffers with her joints (Osteo-Perosis).My wife is 4`7".
I did some internet searches and chose to go to "Willowbrook".
I called to request a demonstration. This was arranged for 27/07/20 @3p.m. with Mr Bradley Jordan (Consultant).
He performed his demonstration took measurements of my wife and showed us some pictures of chairs and fabric options.
He created an invoice we paid £2033.50 and the invoice was immediately emailed to me. On inspection I noticed that he had the colour wrong.
When I pointed this out he had to create a replacement invoice.
During the demonstration we could see that Bradley was agitated as it was a very warm day, he had to wear a visor and he told us he was asthmatic.
He was also interrupted by a phone call from a relative.

On the 17/08/20 we took delivery of the chair.
Two engineers came to assemble it.
Once assembled we could see that it was the wrong design and once my wife sat in it, it was immediately obvious that it was not made to her measurements
and the design of the chair meant that the head rest was pushing her forward.
The engineer (Mark) made some adjustments even though we expressed that it was "all wrong" !
Once adjustments were made the dimension of the depth of the chair was now correct the chair itself was distorted and very uncomfortable to sit in.
The engineer (Mark) made a report and sent it to head office. He gave us a number to call if they hadn't got back to us by 19/08/20.
They didn't contact us by then so I called and complained. The Manager (Mr Keith Downs) phoned me back within the hour and arranged to come and see me and the chair on 20/08/20.
The Manager viewed the chair and said that it was exactly what we had ordered.
The design "Newhampton" and when I showed him from the catalogue that we had chosen "The Hanbury".

During the demonstration Bradley himself could see that the "Newhampton" would not be comfortable for my wife.
However, on the invoice that he at first got wrong with the colour, put the wrong name of the chair down. I noticed the first mistake of the wrong colour however; I did not notice that the name of the chair was wrong as I am not a chair demonstrator.
Even though the design was wrong the more important crucial dimension was incorrect. My wife is 4`7".

The manager informed me that the chair was correct with regard to the invoice and the adjustments made by the engineer were completely within their guidelines. He also said that "comfort was not their priority" and that "I should try putting a cushion behind my back".
This didn't work. Although I tried it on my old chair and I'm still using it today.
What a waste of £2033.50
He said there was nothing he could do. I said I would complain to "Trading Standards" and asked him to leave.


Quote from website:
1. Handmade to your exact requirementsFirstly, each element of a Willowbrook riser recliner is made-to-measure.To help you sit comfortably and with the correct posture, Willowbrook chairs are built around your needs, and we take every little detail into consideration to make you as relaxed and supported as possible.This results in a completely bespoke product for you which ensures you are sat comfortably with the correct posture:
I spoke to The Furniture & Home Improvement Ombudsman.After months of correspondence eventually the Ombudsman found that there was nothing we can do.So the only thing I can do is alert others who may be drawn in to waste money with "Willowbrook".We would have been very pleased if the chair actually fitted the purpose, but it came nowhere near.She cannot sit in this chair at all !!DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY !!!!!!!

Comments

  • Pollycat
    Pollycat Posts: 34,637 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Savvy Shopper!
    What exactly did the Ombudsman say?
  • The retailer has offered to exchange the back of the chair for that of ‘The Hanbury’ model that you originally believed you were ordering. This would involve the retailer collecting the chair and taking it to their factory for the work to be carried out. Is this something you feel is acceptable? Please note, that with the absence of any evidence of a manufacturing fault or the goods not being in line with the specification, I cannot guarantee I will be able to compel the retailer to offer anything further.
  • Manxman_in_exile
    Manxman_in_exile Posts: 8,380 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Presumably that is the response from the "furniture ombudsman"?  (You don't actually say).

    That only appears to deal with the question of what model of chair you ordered.  If the order was generated for the wrong model of chair and you accepted the order without noticing the error, that probably puts you in a difficult position. 

    But what does the "ombudsman" say about the measurements?  You say the chair was meant to be built to your wife's measurements (ie specification) but you seem to be implying that the chair does not fit your wife and so therefore cannot have been built "in line with the specification" (to quote the "ombudsman").  What does the "ombudsman" say about that?  If he didn't mention that, have you asked him why not, as that surely was the whole point of getting someone around to take custom measurements in the first place.  If the chair was not built to and delivered to specification you should be able to reject it.

    If the ombudsman did not address the custom measurement/specification issue, ask him why not.  Personally I'd also go back to the retailer and explain your experience again (eg their rep originally generated an order for the wrong colour so it's quite likely they got the model wrong too - they even accepted during fitting that the model they originally ordered would not be suitable for your wife - and you simply made a mistake and did not notice the wrong model.  Also point out they have not manufactured it to your wife's measurements.

    If that doesn't get you satisfaction, I think you should consider the pros and cons of suing in small claims.  (I'm not going into how you do that here - if you reach that stage come back to the consumer rights board for further advice)

    PS - the reason I keep saying "ombudsman" in quotation marks is because they aren't a proper official ombudsman, are they?  They're just some thing funded by the furniture industry so hardly independent.  I don't think their decision means anything.  
  • The manager ( from "Willowbrook") informed me that the chair was correct with regard to the invoice and the adjustments made by the engineer were completely within their guidelines.
    What can I do ??
  • Manxman_in_exile
    Manxman_in_exile Posts: 8,380 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    And what did he say when you pointed out that it obviously had not been made to your wife's measurements as it doesn't fit her?
  • They adjusted it to the right measurements !!!, but now is distorted and uncomfortable.
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