Advice Needed, Challenging Situation with SCS

Hi Everyone,

I’m reaching out to you all on behalf of a friend who brought this situation to my attention last year, due to her mental impairments she has found it very challenging. In my opinion SCS have been messing her around for years, as a result she has paid a lot of money for a faulty corner sofa which can only be sat on at one end! :'(

I’ve attempted to find clarification on her consumer rights online, but the complexity of this scenario makes it difficult. If anyone can give any advice on the best course of action it would be extremely beneficial and very much appreciated. <3

Key Points:

- Corner Sofa purchased from an SCS store in April 2019.

- Cost £1099 + £200 SCS Sofa Guard - Castelan Insurance 04/2019 - 04/2024.

- Insurance invalid - manufacturing faults not covered.

- Multiple Website archives show that the SCS website offered a 20 year frame guarantee on this product and throughout the period of purchase and currently they offer a lifetime guarantee.

Customer Sales Contract:

Warranty section: 12 months but no information in relation to manufacturing issues.

Guarantee section: “please see care guide given to you at the point of sale”

Care Guide: “Every ScS sofa is guaranteed for one year against manufacturing defects.” ScS also offer the opportunity to purchase additional peace of mind with our unique furniture protection insurance. Available on all our upholstery, fabric warranty protects in the event of staining to the furniture, and also extends the structural warranty to five years.”

Timeline, details from SAR e.g emails/ticket logs/call recordings/technician reports.

November 11th 2020 SCS Ticket Log: Customer contacted - Wood from the frame coming through the cloth of the seat base, issue with frame, they contacted Castelan not covered manufacturing/structural fault. Arranged repair technician visit.

December 1st 2020 Repair Technician Report:

“Liability: VENDOR”

“Seat frame stretcher rails broken. Particle board stretcher not strong enough and wood rail supports come off due to staples not being strong enough. I have screwed support rails back to particle board stretchers securely” 

- I've seen the report photos and I can clearly see the frame wood has snapped, not sure why a fix was attempted. 

December 4th 2020 - SCS Ticket Log:  “Reviewed report, agree with tech, sent debit to manu”

- what debit did they send to Manu? 

30/03/2023 Call Recording: Contacted customer service, explained the issue briefly. Agent stated manufacturing warranty had expired and the repair too as its been over one year since it was repaired (not sure what is meant by this?), it would cost £75 non refundable, to have another technician visit and if deemed damage caused in the home then they would charge for the repair (ticket logs clearly show the previous technician deemed it as a manufacturing fault prior to this) she mentioned the insurance and the agent stated it would be invalid as its a structural issue.

30/03/2023 - Ticket Log:  customer agreed to the technician visit charge - non refundable - 75

31/03/2023 - SAR requested via email 28/04/2023 - SAR received

23/09/2023 - Complaint emailed to SCS

27/09/2023 - Call Recording: She called SCS, the advisor offered a technician inspection for free, stated SCS have a legal right to try to repair it before offering a refund, she mentioned its already been “repaired” previously, he stated that because its been over 4 years since the repair(non-factual it was repaired in Dec 2020) they have a right to repair it. Quite a coercive, aggressive and unpleasant call to listen to. 

16/10/2023 - Technician attended and the report states:

“Liability Explanation: This is manufacturing issue due to failure of stretcher rail as no glue used in construction

Action Taken: Upon inspection of the furniture I found the internal framework I have found the stretcher rail had snapped the rail has been repaired in the past and failed. The stretcher rail support rail had not been fitted with glue during manufacturing also, the repair has had no glue used “

27/11/2023 Call Recording - CS stated she could have a full value refund or full value store credit. They said because the fault was originally logged in 2020, she wouldn’t have any deductions. They logged it with the store and advised that they would contact her within 24 - 48 hours.

02/12/2023 Call Recording - SCS called her to arrange the above, However the advisor stated that because shes had the sofa for over 1 year she would incur depreciation costs and would only receive 40% of the the cost back. She objected and he said he could ask his manager for 50%. She asked for it in writing and received this email “I can confirm that the refund or credit amount would 40% of the original order value due to the goods depreciating over the last few years.”

04/12/2023 - SAR Requested 20/12/2023 - SAR Received

05/12/2023 Final Response Email from SCS - We have fully reviewed the history on your account with the manufacturer, and since the furniture is either discontinued, or the parts can no longer be sourced by the manufacturer to enact repairs, they believes the best solution to resolve your concerns is to supply a refund credit note in accordance with section 24 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Due to the fact you have possessed the goods for more the six months, the manufacturer is within their legal entitlement to apply depreciation on any refund credit in accordance with section 24(8) of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

 As the goods in question have been in your home since 27/04/19, this is why the manufacturer has agreed to offer you a refund credit at 40% of the original cost of your goods

The refund credit can be used towards a reselection purchase in an SCS store, or as a direct refund upon recovery of the goods.

We would like to inform you that ScS A share & Sons is registered as a full member of The Furniture and Home Improvement Ombudsman which is approved by government to provide independent alternative dispute resolution services to consumers. We follow the Ombudsman’s Code of Practice which means that their decisions are binding on us. You are now entitled to contact them if you are not satisfied with our response to your complaint. This is our final response to you.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this, any advice welcome!  :)





Comments

  • eskbanker
    eskbanker Posts: 29,936
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    What happened between the repair in 2020 and requesting another technician visit in 2023?  If the 2020 repair was visibly unsuccessful at the time then it should have been challenged then?

    Likewise what happened between agreeing to a technician visit in March 2023 and this happening in October?

    What's her desired outcome?
  • the_lunatic_is_in_my_head
    the_lunatic_is_in_my_head Posts: 7,324
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    edited 2 February at 8:52AM
    Hello OP

    Their final response is (sort of) correct in that in the event of no repair/replace one option is a refund reduced for use.

    If she purchased from SCS their reference to the sofa manufacturer has nothing to do with anything as rights lie with the retailer with whom there is contract. 

    Offering 40% on a sofa with a 20 year guarantee is poor IMO, I’d push back on this and would be suggesting a much different % in your favour. 

    Nearly 5 years in use puts them at 75% based on their 20 year guarantee. 

    Other option is to have someone else (I.e Independent furniture repair company) fix it and seek the cost of repair (if reasonable) as a price reduction or damages. 

    Personally I’d get shot if the sofa for a refund and would simply send a letter to head office with a copy of their final email, a copy of proof you have showing the 25 year guarantee (forget what they offer now :) ) and a request for a settlement figure of £x.

    Looks like the insurance is due to expire shortly, I’d add the last couple months on top. I'd also add the £75 fee they've charged you.

    Not sure how long the £200 sofa guard is covering? 

    Long story short they are offering as little as possible you need to push back and politely but firmly demand more :) 

    (Edited to amend incorrect figures). 
  • ArbitraryRandom
    ArbitraryRandom Posts: 2,342
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    Agreed I think the best advice will depend on what your friend actually wants from this... There's a few avenues that I think could be pursued to attempt to at least get a higher percentage refund. 

    1. Nov 2020: complaint would be around the initial fault being reported and if your friend was incorrectly advised they had to accept a repair... yes it may not have been covered by the insurance, but that's because the manufacturing fault would be the responsibility of SCS (as the sellers) and they would have been entitled to a refund at the time. 

    2. March 2023: complaint based on call handler giving incorrect advice (there is no right to a second repair attempt if the first attempt has been more than a year ago) - and either way, the seller is responsible for the cost of the repair if the repair is attempted under the consumer rights act. 

    3. Deduction should be based on expected life minus period of use (excluding any time waiting for a repair or the refund)... so if you have proof they offered a 20 year guarantee for the frame of this model at time of purchase, and it's the frame that failed, then you can argue the deduction should be somewhere around 20-24% (50-57 months from 240 months)
    I'm not an early bird or a night owl; I’m some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.
  • Grumpy_chap
    Grumpy_chap Posts: 14,445
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    If I have read the timeline correctly, the sofa was purchased April 2019 and first issue reported November 2020.  That is a year and a half.
    On that basis, some deduction for beneficial use seems appropriate.

    SCS have assessed the period of beneficial use as being up to December 2023, so 4 and half years.

    SCS are now offering 40% refund, so that suggests the life span is 60% gone in 5 years making a whole life expectation of around 9 years.
    What is the reasonable life expectation of a sofa?
    I might be inclined to suggest 20 years (at least) given OP states the sofa has "20 year frame guarantee".
    5 years out of 20 would be 25% deduction, so 75% refund.

    If the beneficial use is to the first time the compliant was logged, 1.5 years, that is 7.5% deduction so 92.5% refund.

    The above may be worth consideration in how to structure a claim for a higher level refund than the 40% offered by SCS.
    Is that 40% simply a number plucked from thin air by SCS, or did they explain how it was assessed?
  • the_lunatic_is_in_my_head
    the_lunatic_is_in_my_head Posts: 7,324
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    edited 2 February at 8:54AM

    If the beneficial use is to the first time the compliant was logged, 1.5 years, that is 7.5% deduction so 92.5% refund.

    The deduction for use should be based upon the time at which the customer exercises the final right to reject, I would assume the sofa was in use for most of the time owned so basing it on the current timeframe of nearly 5 years seems appropriate :) 
  • Grumpy_chap
    Grumpy_chap Posts: 14,445
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    If the beneficial use is to the first time the compliant was logged, 1.5 years, that is 7.5% deduction so 92.5% refund.

    The deduction for use should be based upon the time at which the customer exercises the final right to reject, I would assume the sofa was in use for most of the time owned so basing it on the current timeframe of nearly 5 years seems appropriate :) 
    Thank you for confirming.
    I think I agree.
    So, sofa supplied in 2019.
    20 year frame guarantee
    Rejected 2024, 5 years old.
    Refund 5 of 20 = 75%
    Not the 40% that has been offered by SCS.  I suspect that was simply a standard number plucked from thin air / standard "go away" offer that SCS would make on a generic basis.
  • Bs_71
    Bs_71 Posts: 5
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    eskbanker said:
    What happened between the repair in 2020 and requesting another technician visit in 2023?  If the 2020 repair was visibly unsuccessful at the time then it should have been challenged then?

    Likewise what happened between agreeing to a technician visit in March 2023 and this happening in October?

    What's her desired outcome?
    Apologies for the delay, my friend doesn't have the capacity to pursue and handle these things so she didn't do anything as she assumed she had no rights etc, based on my knowledge and the knowledge kindly given to me here I think a refund would be best and she can get a sofa from a company with quality products. 
  • Bs_71
    Bs_71 Posts: 5
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    Hello OP

    Their final response is (sort of) correct in that in the event of no repair/replace one option is a refund reduced for use.

    If she purchased from SCS their reference to the sofa manufacturer has nothing to do with anything as rights lie with the retailer with whom there is contract. 

    Offering 40% on a sofa with a 20 year guarantee is poor IMO, I’d push back on this and would be suggesting a much different % in your favour. 

    Nearly 5 years in use puts them at 75% based on their 20 year guarantee. 

    Other option is to have someone else (I.e Independent furniture repair company) fix it and seek the cost of repair (if reasonable) as a price reduction or damages. 

    Personally I’d get shot if the sofa for a refund and would simply send a letter to head office with a copy of their final email, a copy of proof you have showing the 25 year guarantee (forget what they offer now :) ) and a request for a settlement figure of £x.

    Looks like the insurance is due to expire shortly, I’d add the last couple months on top. I'd also add the £75 fee they've charged you.

    Not sure how long the £200 sofa guard is covering? 

    Long story short they are offering as little as possible you need to push back and politely but firmly demand more :) 

    (Edited to amend incorrect figures). 
    Thank you for your advice, I agree with you I think she should take a refund and go to a different supplier. The sofa guard runs out in March. Any idea where I can find the head office email address?
  • Bs_71
    Bs_71 Posts: 5
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    Forumite
    Agreed I think the best advice will depend on what your friend actually wants from this... There's a few avenues that I think could be pursued to attempt to at least get a higher percentage refund. 

    1. Nov 2020: complaint would be around the initial fault being reported and if your friend was incorrectly advised they had to accept a repair... yes it may not have been covered by the insurance, but that's because the manufacturing fault would be the responsibility of SCS (as the sellers) and they would have been entitled to a refund at the time. 

    2. March 2023: complaint based on call handler giving incorrect advice (there is no right to a second repair attempt if the first attempt has been more than a year ago) - and either way, the seller is responsible for the cost of the repair if the repair is attempted under the consumer rights act. 

    3. Deduction should be based on expected life minus period of use (excluding any time waiting for a repair or the refund)... so if you have proof they offered a 20 year guarantee for the frame of this model at time of purchase, and it's the frame that failed, then you can argue the deduction should be somewhere around 20-24% (50-57 months from 240 months)
    Thank you this is so so helpful! Should this be via email to the same email address they sent the final response from? Are there any important laws or anything I should include to back up her claim regarding their liability? It seems she was incorrectly informed and misled in order for them to not have to replace it or refund it. 
  • Bs_71
    Bs_71 Posts: 5
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    Forumite
    If I have read the timeline correctly, the sofa was purchased April 2019 and first issue reported November 2020.  That is a year and a half.
    On that basis, some deduction for beneficial use seems appropriate.

    SCS have assessed the period of beneficial use as being up to December 2023, so 4 and half years.

    SCS are now offering 40% refund, so that suggests the life span is 60% gone in 5 years making a whole life expectation of around 9 years.
    What is the reasonable life expectation of a sofa?
    I might be inclined to suggest 20 years (at least) given OP states the sofa has "20 year frame guarantee".
    5 years out of 20 would be 25% deduction, so 75% refund.

    If the beneficial use is to the first time the compliant was logged, 1.5 years, that is 7.5% deduction so 92.5% refund.

    The above may be worth consideration in how to structure a claim for a higher level refund than the 40% offered by SCS.
    Is that 40% simply a number plucked from thin air by SCS, or did they explain how it was assessed?
    Thank you! No explanation given and the tone both on the phone and in their emails is really quite nasty.  Is it worth asking them to clarify how it's assessed and for details of their policy? I'm going to create an email for her to send this week, should I include any suggestions of taking further action via small claims or anything like that? I just want it resolved for her and obviously it's quite time consuming for me but she needs help with it. 
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