Submitted by Furniture Professor
Okay, you’ve done your homework, selected a store, asked all the right questions, made your selection, and you have decided to bring your new furniture home by yourself. What could go wrong?
I always advise people to pay for delivery and setup of anything that requires more than one person to get their purchase into the house. The reason for my belief comes from more than three decades experience in the furniture industry and Murphy’s Law.
How many times have you moved a sleeper sofa through a narrow doorway, up the stairs (or down) and around a tight corner? It isn’t easy. What is easy is scraping a wall, tearing the upholstery on a strike plate in the front door frame or severing a body part. If you have paid for delivery, the retailer and/or delivery company are responsible for damages to your property and themselves. Professional delivery people know what to look out for from a safety standpoint.
Would you think to tie down the folding mechanism for the bed? If you said no, don’t try to do this yourself. Many years ago I was told of a man that attempted to deliver his own sleeper sofa. He didn’t think about the mechanism falling open when he had to turn the sofa to get it into the house. He didn’t think that his instinctive reaction would be to grab for the folding mechanism. He didn’t think about his arm being in the way when the sofa tipped back and the folding mattress frame closed. The money that he saved, by delivering his own furniture was more than eaten up by his medical bills. Yes, that is an extreme case but I almost fell backwards down a long flight of stairs moving an armoire. I tripped on a toy that was left on the stairs and was barely able to maintain my grip on the armoire or my balance.
At the other end of the spectrum of delivery problems would be damaging the furniture or the house.
Any reputable company will take care of these problems if they caused the damage. In the event that something like this happens to you, I suggest taking pictures of the damage, getting the names of the delivery people and calling the store immediately. When you call the store, insist on talking with the top person available so that you can get a commitment that the damage will be resolved to your satisfaction. When discussing any problem that you may encounter relating to your purchase or delivery, always remain calm and courteous. If you start out yelling and blustering, you will alienate the person that you are talking to. This is a bad strategy, especially if the person you are talking to is the one that you are depending on to resolve your problem. Make sure that you take careful notes to go along with your pictures. They may become very important. If you talk with everyone that you need to and there is still no happy ending in sight, continue to be calm and courteous.
Your next step will be to write a letter to the Better Business Bureau stating your case and detailing your efforts to that point. If the BBB cannot resolve this either file a claim in small claims court or hire an attorney. You will be surprised how easy it is to press a small claim. I have only done it once but my situation was fully remedied. Assuming that your purchase and your delivery have gone flawlessly, you must still exercise some care. Be sure to get the details of the warranty. If you have that information, you know that it is your responsibility to take proper care of your new furniture. If you abuse or neglect your furniture, the warranty is null and void. I doubt if any judge or jury of your peers will hold the retailer or manufacturer liable if there are signs of obvious abuse or neglect.
The bottom line to choosing delivery over pickup rests in your abilities and your willingness to take some risk. What might seem like some small savings on a delivery charge has the potential to turn into extra expense and aggravation. Go ahead and choose delivery. And as Greyhound says, Leave the Driving to Us.