A STROUD woman has been reeling from the shock of plugging in what she thought was a brand new recliner chair only to hear a “big bang” and then discover an apparently botched cord.
The store she bought it off, AHF Furniture in Gloucester, has pointed out the chair was part of an ex-display set along with a sofa and discounted accordingly – but it is now writing to her with an apology and voucher.
Jackie Vallenger, 75, who lives in Uplands, had been disappointed to find last month that the plug for her recliner allegedly blew on its first use.
She said: “My daughter plugged in the chair and straight away there was this big flash from the plug, and a big bang.”
She says she later discovered that its cord was wrapped in duct tape, with wire exposed underneath – and assumes it must have come like that from the store.
“I went to my daughter: ‘oh my god! It’s lucky you weren’t burned!'”
Mrs Vallenger had not originally set out to buy a recliner – but then she sat in it in-store.
“I’ve got a twisted spine, see, and it felt marvellous against my back.”
Mrs Vallenger has since been seeking an apology and compensation from AHF.
Though she admits she was told the recliner was from an ex-display set, she says she was guaranteed it was in perfect condition.
And, while AHF has now got the plug repaired, the customer service experience has left Mrs Vallenger wanting to wash her hands of the whole affair.
“What made me cross, darling, is because over the years I’ve got all my furniture from there and I’ve never had any issues
“But the treatment I’ve now had and the hassle – I could cry from it all.
“They won’t give me a refund though. Their argument is is that it’s now repaired.
“Well, hang on, why should it be repaired when it’s bought new? The sofa’s fine.”
Craig Harbisher, customer service manager at AHF Furniture & Carpets, said: “We are truly sorry if Mrs Vallender felt the furniture she was purchasing was new, however, having checked the paperwork presented at the point of sale, along with the price paid, we do feel it was clear that she purchased used ex display items.
“I am also sorry if Mrs Vallender felt the staff she has spoken with were rude, this is certainly not how we want any of our staff to come across, we do that regular reviews with our customer care team in which we do listen to calls, so this will be used to ensure going forward our agents present themselves much better.
“Following the last visit from Homeserve on February 8, one of our agents contacted Mrs Vallender to ensure that she was happy with the chair and apologised for the issues she had encountered. Although we do not know what happened to the lead supplied with the goods originally, I can assure you that we have taken the necessary action to ensure the chair is safe.
“We would not offer any financial compensation, but I have personally written to Mrs Vallender to apologise and I have arranged for a card with a voucher to use against a future order to be sent out to her.”