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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71038
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I purchased two sofas and one chair from Duresta at a total

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I purchased two sofas and one chair from Duresta at a total price of £6200. Before purchasing I established with Duresta the max height the seat would be from the ground. I was told it would be max of 52 cm. I also measured furniture in stores and found seat height to be 51cm - 52 cm. The furniture has arrived and its seat heights is between 56cm and 57 cm. These heights have been verified by both Rankins furniture and a Duresta rep at 56cm. My wife on above average height for a woman at 5'7" cannot touch the ground with her feet. I have asked for the retailer to take the furniture back as it is not fit for purpose. He has said that as we didn't specify seat height when purchasing he won't accept the furniture and give refund. I believe that we were within our rights to simply order the furniture with the expectation that it would be supplied to the dimensions given to use by the Duresta furniture, the manufacturer. Any advice on my position would be welcomed.

When the retailer and manufacturer rep visited my home to view furniture, the rep offered to fit different cushion filler. We had ordered and paid additional costs to have supawrap fillings, the rep offered to refill one cushion with fiberwrap. We refused this offer as we specifically required the firmer, higher cost supawrap filling. This filling was advertised as not being 'quite as lofty' as fiberwrap.

Dates: furniture ordered Feb 2015 - deposit paid. Furniure delivered 27th May 2015. Rankins contacted same day to inform them of the problem seat height and asked to return furniture and give full refund.

Reginald North

Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I wish to return the furniture and receive a full refund on the grounds that they are not fit for purpose because if the seat height. The retailer refuses to accept. Do I have a case in law to return the furniture and receive a full refund his points are I didn't specify seat height when ordering. I believed that the furniture would have a seat height specified in emailes and telephone conversations I had with Duresta.
Did they specify the height?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The manufacture specified the seat height both verbally and by e mail to me. I also measured seat height on showroom examples of the same furniture at their furniture display at the NEC furniture exposition Birmingham. I also received additional emails and verbal confirmation of normal seat seat heights from Duresta recommended retailers.
I eventually purchased furniture from Rankins, also a Duresta approved retailer? Rankins did not carry examples of furniture ordered. I ordered the furniture by phone, Rankins offered the most competition price of all Duresta approved retailers. I was not asked by Rankins to state seat height. Seat height is not or should not be a variable but consistent for all furniture produced by Duresta for a specified model.
I expected the height normally expected. There is no dispute from Rankins that about the height of the seats that I received. Nor do I think can there be any doubt that the expected normal height of max 22 cm is that which I should have been given.
At no time was I asked to specify seat height. It is assumed that is deterred by the particular style of furniture. No examples of that particular furniture that I observed or enquirer about had a height greater than 51 cm. My furniture was delivered with a seat height of 56/57 cm.
Yes, but did the store specify the height?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Did the store otherwise comment upon the height?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Don't fully understand your question. Do mean in answer to my complaint or with respect to placing the order? With respect to my complaint about height, a number statements were made by Rankins and Duresta. Rankins: problem is to with seat depth not height, we did not ask us about seat heights, height will reduce with settlement, we were willing to supply fiber cushions which were refused, the height was never mentioned and therefore not a part of the sales contract, I have forwarded your photos to Duresta, the sofas and chairs were customized to your specifications and cannot be returned.
Hope this meet your needs Jo. I dispute a number of points made by Rankins.
Am I expected to rate you on each response Jo?
No, sorry.
You don't rate until I answer. These are just information requests so that the answer is correct.
When you were in the store purchasing or negotiating the purchase was there any conversation about the height ?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No. I have responded to this question. But can't see my response.I said that I wasn't in the store when I made the purchase. I made the purchase over the phone. I had visited Rankins about a year or more previously looking at Duresta furniture. At that time I was told that they would give me a better discount on Duresta than any other retailer and to contact them once I had decided on the model I wished to purchase. This I did over the phone and they quoted me a price for the furniture that gave a better discount than other Duresta approved retailers from whom I also had a quotation. They did not carry the model in their showroom. Seat height is a non variable feature of the furniture. Only height,depth and width are quoted measurements. We enquired for seat height and seat depth directly to Duresta and checked it out in various showrooms and exhibitions. At no point was there an opportunity to state seat height. This seen as a given constant for an individual model. I measured personally four seat heights on our chosen model as well as getting confirmation from Duresta and other registered dealers of expected seat height.If, for example, I am buying a car and test or measure say the rear seat in a showroom , I would not expect the height of my purchased car to be different from that in the showroom, otherwise what is the point of showrooms if not to allow a customer to chose a model. If there was a variation in an actual product this should have been pointed out I believe. Thank you
Yes, but you discussed the product over the phone I presume.
What I need to know is was there any conversation then about the height of the product? Please don't put yourself to detail . Just yes or no is really all I need.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No discussion about the height of the seat. There was discussion about the overall height.
If this is at the time of sale then
1 What, exactly, was said on the point of height?
2 I presume this was with the retailer not the manufacturer?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Nothing was said on the point of seat height at time of sale with retailer.
I wasn't asked by the retailer what height I wished nor did I discuss seat height. The assumption by all concerned is that seat height is a given and constant .
I'm really sorry but that is a problem.
You may very well have complaints against the manufacturer. You do not against the retailer. They said nothing about the height of the product and so there is no misrepresentation. It doesn't really amount to a challenge under the Sale of Goods Act either as it does render the product unfit for purpose. It is just disliked by you for your own reasons but you didn't make those reasons clear to the seller which is what would bring you within that exception. I suppose, to stretch the law hugely, you could argue that it is not as advertised but I am not sure that is really right either. The seller didn't advertise the height. In any event, the Court can always dismiss it on the basis that it is a minor defect.
If this was a distance transaction then you would have rights to reject it under the Distance Selling Regulations. I don't know when it was delivered or whether or not they are saying it was bespoke in some way?
In terms of a complaint against the manufacturer then you could pursue that. Your contract is not with them though and this does not amount to neglect manufacture.
I'm very sorry but I can only give you truthful information.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Jo. I have just returned home. Please give a little to respond to your answer. Thank you Reginald
When you can.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Have tried replying with question but have problems sending. I think I too tired tonight and resend question in the morning if that is okay.
Yes, you can just post back on here.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you Jo. A couple of points to see if they affect your judgement please.
1. The furniture isn't simply disliked by us. The seat 'excessive' seat height makes it impossible for a average height woman to sit on the chair or sofa and place her feet on the floor. Hence our view about not being fit for purpose.
2 . The manufacturers stated what the seat height should be. Shouldn't the retailer have detected that the height was greater than 51 cm? Note the furniture was not inspected by the retailer on receipt from the manufacture before its delivery to us. The furniture arrived fully wrapped at our house directly from the manufacturer via the retailer, delivered by a separately owned delivery service, paid for by ourselves.
I appreciate that you are protecting me from engaging in costly action that would be unsuccessful. I just find it incomprehensible that a 'Rolls Royce' manufacturer (as retailer referees to Duresta) could produce this furniture with a seat height so much higher than that that was communicated to me and it was not picked up in product inspection at the manufactures or the retailer who clearly didn't inspect the product on its receipt from the manufacture before arranging its delivery to me.
Does this information make any difference to your advice?
thank you
Not really.
The trouble with it is that, come what may, these are complaints about the manufacturer and your contract is with the retailer who are not at fault.
Im afraid I cannot agree that the height of this furniture amounts to a product defect sufficient for the retailer to detect or at all.
It might be worth complaining to the manufacturer. Often complaints do achieve far more than legal action does.