RH Medicine Cab -- backing is delaminating

saydeJanuary 13, 2012

We remodeled our bathroom about three years ago and used many Restoration Hardware items -- Gramercy Park washstand, faucets, sconces, towel racks, mirror and medicine cabinet.

The silvering on the back of the medicine cabinet has disappeared leaving a reddish black mark right at the edge of the mirror. This is the inset hinged medicine cabinet in polished nickel.

I have written to RH but have not gotten a response. Next I will phone. Was wondering if anyone else had experience anything like this, or had had any dealings with RH on a product that had a problem.

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I have the Cartwright series in my bathroom for about 6 years now. About a year ago I noticed a few of the edges of the medicine cabinet had some paint scuffed off, so I sent their customer service an email asking if they had a touch up paint or could recommend one to use for this.
After a week they responded, stating they didn't have any touch up paint and couldn't help me out.
Not great customer service for me, especially for the price of their items, but hopefully you will fare better.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 11:10AM
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Thanks oldhousegal. I intend to pursue it as this is a product deficiency. And whatever happens I will post about it here.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 11:28AM
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I installed a Hutton single sink vanity about a year and a half ago. After a while, the doors started to warp. I figured I was SOL, but I talked with the salesperson who sold me the vanity (she remembered my face) when I went in to purchase another product. She contacted customer support and the shortly emailed me. It's been a bit of a slow process, but they sent out a repair man (who seemed rather incompetent) and when he was unable to repair the issue and I told them I was fairly certain it was the doors not the cabinet, they sent me new doors. I haven't had time to put them on, but intend to do so this weekend. The process took some time and several times I had to re-initiate contact with Restoration Hardware, but they were very responsive. Hopefully replacing these doors this weekend will solve my problem. You might try seeing someone in store who could directly contact the right department.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 11:34AM
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I hate to hear of your trouble Sayde. I bought the same medicine cabinet, but its still awaiting installation. I can't really change course since the bathroom panelling has been built to the medicine cabinet's specs. I hope you're able to resolve the issue with Restoration Hardware.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 12:34PM
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Wrote to RH. They wrote back (form letter) advising how to submit photos. Sent photos today. Will update.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 6:42PM
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I just heard back from RH

"Thank you for contacting . . . I apologize that you are not satisfied with the condition of your beautiful Metal Medicine Cabinet. I have reviewed the attached photos and determined that this is not a defect in the mirror. These spots are common occurrences with mirrors of all kinds, specifically bathroom mirrors as they are frequently exposed to chemical cleaners. There is a protective film or coating on the back of the mirror that is susceptible to ammonia, bleach or other harsh chemicals. Over time household cleaners that seep behind the mirror during cleaning will cause these spots."

So, the writer denied the request for a replacement.

I have never used any cleaners. This is a polished nickel cabinet and I was very concerned about the PN, so only used a wash cloth moistened with water. I am the only one who uses the bathroom and the only one who cleans it -- do not have a cleaning person.

I am livid -- the writer has described a clear defect in the process of denying that there is any defect!

I am going to escalate and will update here and also post photos of the mirror. Meanwhile would appreciate comments, guidance, support, suggestions!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 7:41PM
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Well, there you go Sayde. If you'd had the good sense to never actually use your bathroom, there would be no problem. ;(

I'd say Restoration Hardware is causing some expensive damage to its reputation. It presents itself as (and charge the prices of) a purveyor of upscale, high quality merchandise. The truth comes out when the merchandise doesn't suit its obvious intended purpose.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 8:43PM
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The backing of my El Cheapo mirrored (unframed) medicine cabinet began to disappear after a couple of years, but only on the bottom left corner where my fingers grasped it to open and close. I figured it was oils on my skin. I did clean the mirror with your standard window spray cleaner ---- but oddly, that is the only spot that showed wear. Using RH logic, my entire mirror should show that wear, right?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 9:30PM
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Well you just talked me out of looking at their mirrors I had bookmarked to check out for our build. What horrible customer service!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 7:18PM
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I would not buy anything from them ever again. Very sad to say, as I have a lot of their stuff and it has all been good til now. They just responded again and said "mirrors develop spots over time. This is not a defect." I think this is just some low level person trying to stem the tide of complaints. I will pursue at a higher level.

Here is a photo of the defect. Caveat Emptor.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 7:41PM
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Even assuming that it is true that mirrors develop spots over time, three years hardly qualifies as "over time." Definitely escalate this to a higher level at the company.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 7:44PM
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Made in China junk marketed as a high end product with a price tag to match. The only thing that separates their products from Walmart is effective marketing.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 9:54AM
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In case it's helpful, I'm still working with RH on the issue of my warped doors. I finally opened the box and found they'd only sent me one of the two doors and the screws were too long (and the original screws were mostly stripped by whoever assembled the vanity before I received it). I contacted RH again and I should have another door coming and the appropriate screws. I'm also having some difficulty getting the one new door to install properly and RH offered to have someone install the doors for me if I can't seem to install them myself.

If I were you, I too would try to contact a higher level of customer service. Let them know exactly what you told us: that you have not used any cleaners and this is clearly a defect. You might try talking with someone at a local store if you have one. That seemed to really help move the process along for me. Good luck with the process. I think if you continue to stand up for yourself and refuse to accept what is obviously not a reasonable response, you may get some assistance.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 2:49PM
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I'll give you $20 for it. :) Sorry to hear about this. On a side note, could you simply replace the mirror? Hopefully they will help, if not, at least it might be able to be fixed by a mirror swap.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 3:28PM
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would you mind sharing the name and contact information of the person at RH who is helping you?

Also if anyone else has any guidance on who/how to contact at RH it would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 6:06PM
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Certainly. This customer service representative has been very helpful. I hope she can help you as well.

Amber Sousa
Gallery Solutions Advocate
Restoration Hardware

    Bookmark   January 19, 2012 at 10:31AM
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I got the same response from Robern. The silicon glue they used to adhere the glass to the backing is showing through.
Every company tries to wash their hands to any problems. It is not only RH but mostly every company.
I sent them pictures clearing showing the glue marks but they blamed my way of cleaning. In which they are totally wrong. They never offered any advise and never responded to my second email with pictures showing proof of the glue marks.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2012 at 2:00PM
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Thank you pricklypear. I will contact her and post about whatever the outcome is.

I am starting to see another little spot developing at another place in the mirror.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 9:03AM
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That is quite an ugly defect and certianly not acceptable for a product of supposedly high quality and longevity. I really hope they will do something for you but I would be worried that you might have trouble even if they replace it. If the mirror cannot stand cleaning with a moist cloth then obviously it was never fit for purpose in the first place. Good luck with your quest.

I recall years ago RH had a satisfaction guarantee that stated you could return a product at any time. However, that must have gone out in the fine print at some point because I had trouble with them over both my bathroom hardware and towels. I remodeled ca. 5 years ago and installed all their polished nickel towel racks, train rack, etc. Very quickly it looked terrible even though I did not use chemical cleaners on it. After much argument they agreed to replace it all with the chrome version and that has fared OK. However, I also purchased a lot of the silver sage towels and the silver sage quilted shower curtain to go with the new decor. Horrible patchy fading of the color in the shower curtain and now I need to throw it out (I have not washed it and it is not exposed to sunlight). The towels were even worse: Within a year I had to relegate them all to the dog/cleaning because the color had faded so badly in them. They are hardly recognizable. When I complained they muttered something about natural dyes, to be expected etc....but would do nothing. I had not abused these towels in any way, normal wash with persil detergents (color version), no bleach etc. All my other towels, even darker ones, are fine. I have never had towels fade out like that.

My other gripe is that I have called NUMEROUS times to have myself removed from their mailing list because I think the huge catalog that comes so often is a terrible environmental waste. Every time I got to some answering machine that said it was full and could not accept a message. This reminds me that I must try again the next time I get a catalog.

It is a shame but I think they are not a reputable company any more. Woe to anyone who buys their upholstered furniture: It costs the earth and yet, from what I have read, it is made in China and by all accounts quality has gone down terribly in the last few years.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 10:49AM
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I've seen that on very old, cheap mirrors over a long period of time, but not after a few years!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2012 at 5:36AM
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I contacted Amber Sousa and got the same exact response that the first agent gave me. I am really disgusted.

I may try contacting one of the stores next.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 4:35PM
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Good luck on your efforts. I am sorry to hear of this defective manufactured product.

I have decided not to buy anything from RH because of stories like this.

I have a medicine cabinet in my 60 or 70 year old bathroom (it may not be quite that old but it looks like 40's or 50's deco) that has only a bit of de-lamination of the mirror silver, on the upper portion; sort of an airbrushed haze. Something you'd expect to see on an old vintage piece. It is totally covered on the inside of the door with a protective board of some sort. It has a chrome frame. Now looking at it, for this post, I might just keep it in my BR remodel that I'm planning.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 11:47AM
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