American Leather/Scan Design headache

UAHMomJune 15, 2005

As part of a larger order, several months ago dh & I bought 4 American Leather recliners. Upon delivery, I noticed several scuffs and scratches, including what appeared to be a knife cut in one seat, plus some dinged legs. Instead of ordering a new seat cushion, the retailer (Scandinavian Design Gallery) said I'd have to wait (a month) for a "leather technician" to come from another state to repair it & the other problems. The guy finally came, took forever and did an awful job - which he admitted. He said that the light was poor (by the time he showed up it was after dark) and he failed to match the color. I was surprised (naive me) that American Leather doesn't supply authorized repairmen with accurate color dyes. Instead, he mixed his own paint - not dye - and the sprayed it on the leather. Not only did he fail to match the color, I later discovered that he oversprayed the paint onto our hardwood floors (in a brand new house.) We went back and forth w/ Scan Design's manager who finally ordered a new seat cushion. When the chair was redelivered, the new cushion had diagonal ripples across its front edge and am attempt to correct the color on the seat back had failed. Both Scan Design & American Leather refuse to do anything about it, claiming it's not that bad/acceptable. American Leather based its refusal on a photograph sent by Scandinavian Design Gallery, not a physical inspection. So what we're left with is four "new" leather recliners that have all been spray painted in spots to cover damage, and one that has a poorly made seat cushion. Due to the chronic difficulties in contacting the Scan Design manager (who's often out of the store & never authorizes anyone to act on her behalf), it's been approx. 5 months since we placed the order (which had to be prepaid) so we don't even have any recourse through our bank/credit card issuer. I'm not sure what action we will take next - at the very least we need to file complaints with the BBB so that potential customers who check them out will be forwarned.

At this point would you accept the chairs or continue to insist that American Leather do (what we think would be) the right thing & replace them?

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I would not accept furniture which was not up to your standards. You might want to discuss the situation in greater detail with your credit card company and get them to reverse the charges and then just return the furniture. I have had luck in the past with help even past the 30 day period with them. If that doesn't work or even as a back up, as well as contacting the credit card company you should write the CEO of American Leather with a copy to whoever owns the ScanDesign stores outlining your problems. The BBB is generally useless.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 10:48AM
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The 4th chair was finally redelivered. While the seat cushion has been restuffed and looks better (although I can still see the diagonal ripples), the spray painted spots look no better. American Leather does not provide contact information on its website, but thanks to google I found the name of its CEO & Chief Marketing Officer and a letter was mailed yesterday. I really hate that this has happened, because I like the contemporary styles and beautiful colors offered by AL and would have purchased more furniture from them had we not had all these problems.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 8:47AM
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Have you contacted the CEO/CMO yet? What was their response?


    Bookmark   July 30, 2005 at 2:26AM
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Ken, my letter was mailed to the CEO/CMO over a month ago, along with one to the manager of the Scan Design store. FWIW, the letter was written matter-of-factly, not as an emotional tirade. I have received no reply from either American Leather or Scan Design. We still need to purchase additional furniture for our new house and will certainly not be doing business with either company. In fact, I plan to do some shopping in the city where my kids attend college, a couple of hours from here, rather than buy from Scan Design again. Unfortunately, there aren't many options for contemporary furniture in our area.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2005 at 10:44PM
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sorry to hear that. I live in Dallas and was seriously considering purchasing products from American Leather; however, I absolutely distain businesses that don't follow-up on customer service. It's ok to make mistakes, but not following-up is just not acceptable.

Good luck on future purchases. I guess I'll just look else where.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2005 at 11:27PM
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Dear UAHMom,

Your problem is not with American Leather but with the store where you purchased it. I am an American Leather dealer and I have to say that American Leather is the best manufacturer I work with. They have an excellent product and are the best value for the money on the market.

I'm very picky about the product I carry in my store and dump manufacturers who do not give good customer service. American Leather gives great customer service. What you as a consumer need to understand is that you are not American Leather's customer, your dealer is. This does not mean American Leather does not care about you -- they do. But it does mean that they rely on their dealers to take care of issues that are the dealers fault, i.e. damage. After all American Leather shipped an intact product -- the dealer's warehouse is the one that damaged it (or the shipping company). Your dealer has not taken care of you. Your dealer IS the authorized entity responsible for providing customer service and repairs to their customer: you.

Regarding your comment about dyes: It would be impossible for American Leather to provide technicians with the dyes for two reasons:

1. They do not dye the hides themselves. The hides are purchased already tanned and dyed from the 3 major tanneries around the world which are located in Western Europe, Italy and South America. There is no major tannery in the US due to EPA regulations. All leather manufacturers purchase their leather from the same tanneries. They may offer different quality hides but they all come from the same place.

2. Colors will vary from dye lot to dye lot (just like with paint and wallpaper). Plus, because each hide is individual even within a dye lot you will have variation from hide to hide and even within a hide. Because of this variation dyes have to be mixed on sight in order to have a perfect match. Again, the fact that the technician did a poor job is your dealer's fault. They are the ones that sent him. Our leather repair company is fantastic. I always tell my customers, "let us try a repair first and if it is not to your satisfaction I will replace it." I've never had to replace.

While it is important to let American Leather know that your dealer is not taking care of you, understand that they will be contacting your dealer and asking them to contact you to resolve the issues. Manufacturers in general do not communicate with the end consumer -- that is why they have dealer distribution networks in the first place.

Keep in mind too, that although American Leather does care about you, the end user, the dealers are their customers. Each dealer buys hundreds of thousands of dollars of their product every year. Naturally, if they have had very little complaints about a dealer they are going to be inclined to believe the dealer first.

Believe me, although your complaint sounds reasonable enough to me, furniture stores and manufacturers hear from many, many crackpots every day. I could tell you some stories. Some people are impossible to please no matter what you do for them and find imaginary problems in attempts to receive discounts.

Please realize that CEO's of companies are very busy and may not have even received your letter. I would try the following:

1) Contact your credit card company.
2) Write American Leather again but address it to Customer Service. Take your own photos and include them.
3.) Go to American Leather's website and email them.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 8:45PM
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Furnitureking, Your letter sounds like such a cop out in regards to responsibility to the customer. A corporation owes both their dealer network AND their end customers accountability. If they hear from many nut cases, they should have a mechanism to investigate and dismiss those type of cases. Some retailers are better than others, and you sound like a very good one, however the original poster clearly stated that her retailer was non responsive to her. There should be no excuse for the CEO not getting a letter addressed to him/her. Again that is a corporate responsibility which this company has ignored. American Leather dropped the ball, short and simple, and THEY owe the END customer the courtesy of a proper product.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 10:08AM
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Next time you want to purchase new furniture, rent a truck, hire a teenager, and drive yourself to the store. Inspect the furniture, before you pay, cash. Load it yourself, the same piece that you personally inspected.

If the retailer seems reluctant to allow you to inspect before purchas, go elsewhere. That's a big red flag.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 10:20AM
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Furnitureking, my problem is with BOTH Scan Design and American Leather. It was an American Leather that made the poorly cut and sewn seat cushion and it was American Leather that insisted the wrinkled cushion was fine. Also, American Leather failed to properly inspect these four reliners before they were shipped and American Leather also failed to wrap them well enough to prevent damage in transit. These four chairs were NOT "intact", as you said, when they were shipped from the factory.

At the time these problems occurred, AL had no email contact on its site - there is one now. However, is it likely that the company will respond to an email when they ignored my letter? I think not.

According to Scan Design, they are not permitted to return a product which the customer deems defective unless American Leather authorizes the return. American Leather must first agree that the item is defective and that the problem cannot be solved by a local repairman. Perhaps the manager of Scan Design is lying, but since American Leather refused to respond to me, I have no way of knowing that.

Scan Design also claimed that no one has ever complained about their repairman, who drives over from Atlanta once a month. About the same time as we bought this furniture, I also bought a leather sofa & loveseat for my kids' game room from what's typically considered a low-end store (RTG.) The loveseat had a minor defect, and RTG sent out a service tech to repair it - also saying that we could return the loveseat at their expense for replacement if we were not happy. That repair was done well & no one else has been able to spot it (since I know exactly where to look, I can find it if a light is shining on it.)

Finally, we also bought some Ekornes furniture from the same store as the American Leather, and found a problem with one item. Unlike American Leather, Ekornes took care of the problem immediately. Their regional manager telephoned me afterwards to make sure that I was pleased with both their handling of the problem and with the furniture in general. In part because of Ekornes' service, I intend to buy additional items. However, I'll do so only when I can place the order through a different store in the town where our second home is located. I will not order from Scan Design again.

EricWI, I find your suggestion that I load and carry home heavy furniture to be absurd and totally without merit.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2005 at 9:25AM
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So, what's AL's response to your letter? I live in Dallas. If you want, send me your letter and I'll deliver it personally.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2005 at 10:50PM
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Dear UAHMom,

In your original post you said that the chair had "scuffs and scratches, including what appeared to be a knife cut in one seat, plus some dinged legs". That is completely different from the information you have just provided, i.e.: "poorly cut and sewn seat cushion" so I am a little confused.

Scuffs, scraps and dings most likely happen in the shipping or delivery end of things -- not at the factory. A knife cut is usually a careless delivery guy slicing too deep through the packaging. Again, all things that are not American Leathers' fault as they did not happen at the factory and something your dealer could and should have easily taken care of.

Understand that scuffs , cuts and scratches that occur in shipping while not aceptable in new furniture is not a "manufacturing defect". In other words it was manufactured properly and damaged subsequently. Therefore it does not qualify for a return to the factory. But a chair with some scuffs and scratches does not necessarily need to be returned to the factory to be made as new.

I don't know what chair you purchased but most have removeable seat cushions with zipper access to the seat cores. Your dealer could simply have ordered a new seat casing and cushion. The legs are also replaceable and new ones should have been ordered for you. Ask them to do this for you.

In terms of American Leather not packaging the product properly please realize that it is impossible to package any furniture so well that 100% of the time there is no damage. You could package it in concrete and believe me plenty of trucking companies will still find a way to damage it. I see it all the time.

If a seat cushion is poorly cut and sewn i.e. crooked stitching etc., American Leather will definitely replace it. Send photos. Also, what do you mean by "wrinkles in the seat?" Is the foam seat core uneven & buppy? Again, an easy replace in most styles.

Also, you said a leather tech from another store did a good job on a repair of something else. The leather tech selected is the Dealer's choice not American Leather's. Ask your dealer to send the tech you had success with. Most tech's are independent contractors -- they don't work just for one store. Let the dealer know you will be asking your bankcard to issue a chargeback. Just because you prepaid does not mean you have no recourse with your credit card company. If you paid with a credit card most bankcard companies give up to a year for you to complain and almost always side with the consumer over a merchant.

I do believe an email is more likely to be answered which is why I recommended it. I know who answers the emails personally. Also, there has been an email contact on the American Leather website for at least five years (that's how long I have been buying from them). Also, why not try writing the CEO again and send photos. Did you send your letter "sign receipt requested" so you know that it even got there? Afterall, the post office doesn't deliver 100% either.

Make sure your descriptions are detailed and send photos. The two descriptions you have provided so far leave completely different impressions so try to be as clear as possible. I am not trying to be an apologist for American Leather. I am trying to help you get your problem solved.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2005 at 1:14PM
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Dear UAH Mom, and other interested parties.
I am the President and Chief Marketing Officer for American Leather. Today I became aware of this forum, and have had a chance to read all the postings.
I would like to clarifye a few things and offer some suggestions.
First neither myself, nor our CEO, have recieved any letters from you or any one else regarding this situation.
We moved into a new factory in Dallas last year, and you may have addressed it to our old address, my office is in North Carolina, and you may not have found that address.
Second both myself and our CEO respond to all customer inquiries written or electronic, addressed to either of us directly or through the appropriate department or person who is authorized and trained to handle the inquiry. In this case it would be either our customer service department or our regional manager in your area.
Third we have had a web site for over 5 years that has always had a "contact us" page. We recieve over 150 emails in the average week, and have two full time professionals focused on answering consumer emails. They cover a wide range of questions, such as; where to find a certian style, whats is the best leather for pets, and positive comments about our products and services and yes sometimes complaints. Our goal is to respond to all in 48 hours.
If you have previously sent an email, I would ask you to resend it to us and I will look in to why it was not responded to in a timely manner.

Re. your problem, if you will contact me (Address it to the President and CMO), thru our web site, "contact us" link, I will have our local person come to your home and inspect your chairs. Our warranty covers repair or replacement for any defects that were a result of poor quality or materials for a full 5 years after your purchase. If the chairs have a legitimate problem we will take care of it.
We do rely on our retail partner to be our representative in dealing with the customers who purchase our products, however from time to time that relationship may not produce a satisfactory resolution, at which time we will get invloved directly if it is warranted.
As the person from Furnitureking wrote, "certain people are looking to get something for nothing, as an example they had an accident or have abused the product and now want some one to fix thier problem", this does not seem like the case here, but as they experienced, we do get all kinds also.

Thank you for your intial investment in our product, I will look for your email so we can resolve your concern and allow you to enjoy your furniture for many years to come.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2005 at 10:06PM
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UAH Mom, any progress? I'm watching closely. We need a new bed, chaise, and living room furniture...

    Bookmark   September 10, 2005 at 12:55AM
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Thanks to all who posted on this. I have a sleeper sofa that has had problems for 2 years. First the store (Foremost Furniture in NYC, a fine store) sent out a guy, who said it couldn't be repaired, they were all like that.

--The problem is the legs on the sleeper mechanism, at the foot of the bed. The legs are bent under and can't be unbent--

I was sick at the time with no energy to follow up on this. After a few months I decided this could not be true, that a quality company like AL couldn't possibly let a $4,000 sleeper stay absurdly bent. It would reflect poorly on the company, to say the least. Before I discovered the flaw, I sold probably 20 sofas by recommending the company and the store. That stopped, of course.

After much ado, I got in touch with someone at the company. She agreed that there was a design flaw in some of the earlier ones (not sure if that meant the earlier models or the units of this model which were manufactured "earlier".) In order to fix the problem, they would have to make new parts and do a retrofit. That happened over 3 months or so--time to make the parts, and time to ship them to NYC.

A different technician came out this time and installed the new parts. As he was working I asked if these weren't the exact same parts he was replacing. Yes, they were--shaped and fabricated exactly the same. He worked for a couple of hours, installing this way and that, but no luck. The new parts acted just like the original ones. Good for me--proves it's a flaw in the mfg. Bad for me--seems like the whole mechanism, or whole sofa, will need to be replaced.

The last development was this week. I have been contemplating what to do, started a letter to the president of AL and owner/mgr of Foremost Furniture. So glad I popped in to do my round of forums and searched again on "American Leather". I'll send an email and a letter.

I've done lots of research on the company, both before purchase and after. What I read does not jibe with what has happened. I truly don't want to make the rounds of home and furniture and NYC boards to give bad news re the company.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2005 at 12:14PM
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Pkease update, I need new living room furniture and after reading soem raves thought I would check out my local dealer, I think I will hold off for now

    Bookmark   September 24, 2005 at 3:36PM
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RE: The Comfort Sleeper end legs collapsing.

Hello, I am an American Leather dealer. The Comfort Sleeper is the best sleeper sofa on the market but they did have an issue a couple of years ago with the mechanism.

American Leather has been manufacturing the Comfort Sleeper for around 5 years. Some of the ones manufactured a few years ago do have an issue that if the legs are not completely extended when unfolded and someone sits on it, it could become permanently bent and no longer support the end section properly. The newer models have been redesigned to prevent this from occuring.

Your bed can be fixed although it can be difficult to get everyone to understand what is required. Because it does not occur on all the old sleepers not everyone is aware of the issue. It is not possible to do just a metal parts replacement as the new parts do not fit the old beds.

You're dealer needs to order A WHOLE NEW INTERIOR BED SECTION. This means the platform system, mattress and all metal parts as a UNIT. The whole new unit can be successfully installed in most all old model sleepers. American Leather will do this FREE. Print out my explanation and take it to your dealer. Ask them to order this for you. Please emphasize that the WHOLE BED UNIT requires replacement.

It really is a great sleeper and American Leather really is a good company that provides excellent customer service. I deal with a lot of manufacturers and most are big pains to deal with. I always drop the pains from my store. American Leather is a keeper.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 12:05PM
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Regardless of what "furnitureking" says, the actions described speak louder than the words, and the stories in this thread have convinced me not to buy American Leather. Not worth the risk. Sounds like their customer service, and/or the customer service of the dealers they work with, is foot-dragging to say the least (installing the same parts while trying to pass them off as new? Not for me). I just got through a warranty headache with Sharp (don't buy the R-1870 convection microhood); don't need to be kept on hold again for 45 minutes at a time begging for a product that works as advertised. :(

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 7:35PM
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Your loss FlyLeft. American Leather is the best leather product for the price on the market. Period. Search the web for American Leather complaints -- these are the first I've seen. Search the web for Lazy Boy, Natuzzi or Room Store problems, then see what you get.

Also, no response from UAHMom since being contacted by American Leather CMO. Hmmmm....

Also, no one said that anyone tried to install old parts and pass them off as new. They made a mistake. People make mistakes. It's whether or not they correct them that matters. American Leather will take care of both issues (2 issues are hardly an epidemic of problems). Also, the first problem that started the thread was caused solely by the dealer despite what the customer thinks. I know the American Leather CMO personally. If he said that no one has contacted them -- they didn't get contacted.

I am trying to let people know what they need to do because people who run furniture stores usually sell so many products that they do not know enough about each one to properly service the brand. Again, that's not something a manufacturer can control -- as much as they may like to. American Leather actually tries to combat this by providing training at the factory for all dealers. Very few manufacturers care enough to do this.

It seems to me that people just want to whine and complain instead of actually get results. I was trying to help you folks get results. I give up. Sounds like you enjoy being miserable.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 7:53PM
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Also, no response from UAHMom since being contacted by American Leather CMO. Hmmmm....

furnitureking, there's been no response because UAHMom has been busy dealing with major health problems, natural disasters, and assorted other serious issues that outweigh the lack of assistance and help from American Leather on the problems with this furniture. So forgive me if I haven't dropped everything to come here and debate this issue with you. I have not been posting in any other forum on this website, either. I resent your implication that there's something peculiar about me not staying in constant contact with you via this forum with your silly "Hmmmm". You clearly resent any criticism of American Leather and are going out of your way to make this personal.

It would help if you would read more carefully, as you have also misrepresented what I've written. My comments about the scratches & cut referred to the original cushion, which had it been properly wrapped and protected by Amer.Leather would not have been damaged in transit. The comments about the poorly made cushion referred to the replacement cushion which Scan Design finally obtained after the botched repair attempt. That cushion had clearly visible diagonal ripples that looked dreadful. It was later restuffed and looks somewhat better. However, I should not have had to waste even more time getting that problem corrected, as the cushion should have been doubly checked before leaving American Leather.

I just saw the reply here from someone claiming to be Pres. & CMO, although the post was not signed. I mailed my letter to Bob Duncan and Cary Benson at
American Leather Company
4501 Mountain Creek Pkwy.
Dallas, TX 75236
on 6/22/05. No reply was ever received.

In that letter, I mentioned that a territory manager for American Leather had told Scan Design that these chairs meet American Leather's quality standards. (I've seen a copy of his fax.) So the manufacturer has already had its opportunity to make things right and opted not to do so.

I do hold Scandinavian Design responsible as well, as I mentioned previously. If any of their management or staff has ever attended training by American Leather at its factory, I'd be surprised.

A recent change in circumstances means that we expect to build another home within the year. When we move, I'll simply donate the four AL recliners and purchase new furniture for the new house. Life's too short to live with daily reminders of this unpleasantness. At least I know where not to shop and what not to buy next time.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2005 at 4:31PM
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Dear UAHMom,

I did not "misrepresent" your statements. I found them confusing and asked for clarification. I thought from your post you were looking for ways to get your problem solved which is why I offered help. I made suggestions for getting your problem resolved based on my five years of experience with American Leather. You rejected them all without any attempts to see if they would be helpful.

I have no problem with people making legitimate complaints. TrinityM has one. But with regards to your situation please note the following:

1. Mailing a letter does not mean it actually WENT to it's destination. Have you never had a letter lost or misdelivered by the Post Office? That is why I suggested you send a "certified or signed receipt requested" letter.

2. When I suggested you email the company you claimed that there was no email contact on American Leather's website at the time. That simply is NOT TRUE. They have had an obvious "Contact Us" link on their website for 5 years.

3. The CMO of American Leather attempted to contact you on this forum. You have ignored him. Did you notice that the initials in his screen name "crb in nc" match the name of one of the persons to whom you addressed your original letter?: i.e. Cary Benson. His office is in North Carolina. He too, suggested that you email him from the website.

4. Your Dealer damaged the product. It is not likely that the type of damage on your chairs occurred during shipping. A knife cut is 99.9% a result of a careless delivery or warehouse person cutting open the packaging. You blame American Leather for not packaging it properly which is ludicrous. There is no packaging on earth that can prevent a careless person from cutting the furniture underneath. Your Dealer contracts or directly hires the warehouse and delivery personnel -- not the manufacturer. I tried to explain this to you but you seem bent on blaming American Leather for problems they are not only unaware of but that were solely caused by your dealer. It is your Dealer's responsibility to replace product that they have damaged. If it was damaged during shipping it is also your Dealer's responsiblity to note damage when they receive the product, make a claim with the shipper and deliver to you an intact product. American Leather shipped an intact product. Your Dealer screwed it up. Again, no matter how good the packaging it is also not possible for something to NEVER EVER arrive damaged. That is an unrealistic expectation. It IS realistic to expect your Dealer to properly repair or replace damaged product. That is their responsibility and they have failed you.

I was not trying to get "personal" but did think it odd you made only one attempt (with no verification of receipt) to contact the company yet feel free to try and harm their reputation. I understand your frustration with your Dealer. They are the sole source of your problem and unresponsive to your complaint.

As for TrinityM:

Your problem can be resolved in the manner I stated before. It is covered under your warranty. In five years of selling the sleeper sofa you purchased I have had to replace the "old style" bed unit for 3 customers. The new design does not have the problem. If you cannot get your local dealer to help you please contact me and I will assist you.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 11:32AM
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I'm so glad I checked this--I wasn't aware there were followups.

Thanks, furnitureking. I hoped you or someone else might be following this thread.

My sleeper is a little over 2 years old--bought in May of 2003.

I do like the company very much, and I have no major problem with Foremost (the store). It's the combination of the two. I felt as if my problem slipped through the cracks. I did speak to people at AL in June, having been given the number by someone at Foremost--I refused to believe that a quality company would let a customer twist in the wind like that, or that mine was a unique problem. But all I was told by Foremost until June of this year is that I had a bad unit that couldn't be fixed, too bad for me.

My repair guy came for the second time since I posted. He found that, just as you described, the new hardware doesn't work. One section of the bars is about 3" too short. I now know what to tell Foremost. The time lag has put me in a difficult situation, and I am surprised the person at AL didn't know to send the whole unit to Foremost.

The repair guy and I both agree with furnitureking that AL manufactures the best sleeper on the market, and that it's a good company. I will get in touch with people there to see if my problem can be resolved quickly.

I ought to start my own thread, really, since my problem is not so much with my AL dealer. I wish they had known more about my problem when it first happened or later. But if AL personnel didn't know then or in June, it's not surprising that news of the problem or how to fix it hadn't spread this far. I'm reserving cynicism for now, willing to believe nobody really knew, or if they did know, they'll now fix it posthaste.

At least Foremost was willing to let me try to investigate the problem myself, when it seems this other dealer really was irresponsible. (That's a betrayal of AL products, in my opionion.) Did they order replacements maybe and keep the new ones to sell off the books?

Anyway, more news will follow. I'm grateful to you furnitureking. Better late than never.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2005 at 2:38PM
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What a difference 6 weeks can make.

Yes buy American Leather, but as we've seen on this thread, research your dealer carefully re their customer service. AL must go nutty making up for bad dealers, but your local dealer makes a huge difference.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 4:38AM
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I looked at American Leather, yesterday in Concord, CA. I am so glad I read this thread. The total of the sofas and electric recliners was a little over $10,000. I will wait for now. Thanks.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2006 at 7:30PM
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you said: "Your loss FlyLeft. American Leather is the best leather product for the price on the market. Period."

This statement represents advertising. Advertising in this forums through posts is strictly prohibited. Your condescending attitude is exactly what drives furniture shoppers to NC.

For the most part, the furniture forum of That Home Site is a helpful place to exchange information about furnitue, prices, shopping, etc. It is the most courteous forum in this space, IMHO. Your comment to the OP was: "It seems to me that people just want to whine and complain instead of actually get results. I was trying to help you folks get results. I give up. Sounds like you enjoy being miserable." This is as rude and crude as it gets. You owe an apology.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 5:10AM
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You said: "As the person from Furnitureking wrote, "certain people are looking to get something for nothing, as an example they had an accident or have abused the product and now want some one to fix thier problem", this does not seem like the case here, but as they experienced, we do get all kinds also."

It's one thing for fk to make this statement; it's quite another for you to do so. Reasonable folks know this. Your reps could easily determine the difference between customer abuse and faulty product performance. No reasonable person, and most people are reasonable in my view, expects perfect products. What they do expect, however, is attentive customer service. The customer should expect seamless service regardless of whether it is performed by the dealer or manufacturer. The above quote was unnecessary IMHO and is indicative of customer service that is not gracious or helpful. Every member who reads this thread can form his/her own opinion about American Leather.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 9:04AM
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FWIW, last year I tried contacting American Leather again. I sent the company two emails, including photos, and received no reply. No "local person" from Amer. Leather has contacted me, as crb_in_nc stated would occur.

It seems reasonable to assume that my emails were received, however, because shortly thereafter I was contacted, seemingly out of the blue, by the retailer. The retailer's only offer was to send their "leather technician" back to my home (the same guy who couldn't match the color and who sprayed paint on my new hardwood floors.) I declined that offer. Since he had admitted that he was unable to match the color originally, and told me to request a replacement seat cushion to rectify the worst of the problems, it didn't seem likely that he could do anything about the remaining greenish splotches. The retailer's salesperson said that he might clean the paint overspray from our floor. I weighed the inconvenience of having to wait around for him to show up and attempt to clean the floor, against the hassle of doing the job myself and opted to clean it myself. At least I know what's safe to use and would not damage the floor. I did ask the salesperson to speak to her manager about what, if anything, either Scandinavian Design or American Leather intended to do about the remaining greasy-looking greenish areas on the chairs, and to call me back. I never heard from anyone.

john_wc is correct that product perfection is not expected, but attentive customer service is a reasonable expectation. I would add to that the expectation that aspersions not be cast on the customer's character by a company's officials or its cheerleaders when a complaint is made.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 6:53PM
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"I would add to that the expectation that aspersions not be cast on the customer's character by a company's officials or its cheerleaders when a complaint is made."

Bingo! American Leather did not look good from their post in this forum. Consumers should take note.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 10:13PM
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I was online this morning looking for some new leather furniture to replace 18 y/o Glenn (they seem to no longer be in business).

Feedback of this type is very helpful in purchase decisions. No AL for me. If someone from AL is actually reading posts here step up as the word will quickly spread...

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 10:47AM
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I would add to that the expectation that aspersions not be cast on the customer's character by a company's officials or its cheerleaders when a complaint is made

I'm glad I found this thread. American Leather just lost another potential customer.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 10:40PM
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We bought an AL Comfort Sleeper sofa through Room & Board earlier this year. We've had no problems with it, and the quality seems to be very good.

I'm sorry that others are having issues.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 11:05AM
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Can't we all just get along?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 7:37PM
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We are evaluating options for a leather furniture so I am very glad I found this thread. American Leather is one of our options.

The American Leather dealers in our area are Darron's in Upper Arlington and Macy's in Columbus Ohio. Has anyone had experience with Macy's Furniture customer service, particulary as it applies to American Leather?

Gentle readers, let's hear from your experiences with American Leather, pro and con.

Thank you for your help. Jean Valjean

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 9:33PM
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We purchased an AL leather sofa and arm chair 7 years ago. After 4 years the leather began breaking down and cracking. The retailer we purchased it from had gone out of business. I made several attempts to contact the company with no response and finally gave up. We are very dissatisfied with the quality of the product and can't recommend an AL product.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 10:32AM
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I went to buy an American Leather Comfort Sleeper for an apartment in NY. When discussing delivery, the authorized dealer (whose name I got from the AL web site) told me the comfort sleeper would not fit through my apartment door (a standard 36" door) but, not to worry, they would send an upholsterer to disassemble the sofa in order to get it into the apartment and then reassemble it once inside (which would cost me $200 in addition to the delivery charge). He said the regular delivery people would not be able to do this. (I also now see that another authorized dealer in the city specifically says the comfort sleeper is "fairly easy" to disassemble for delivery.) I am very concerned about the prospect of taking apart a $4000 leather sofa with a complex sleeper mechanism and about what I would do when I wanted to move, as well as whether the store would take full responsibility if the mechanism didn't work properly after the sofa was taken apart and reassembled or whether doing this would void any part of the warranty on the comfort sleeper or mechanism. The dealer led me to believe that having to take the sofa apart was fairly common, so I decided to contact AL to find out if they had a diagram or specific instructions for disassembly and reassembly of the comfort sleepers in case this needed to be done after the initial delivery. I was very surprised not to find any telephone number at their web site (in my opinion, this was not a good sign) but I used their web site contact form to ask my question. As I was eager to buy the sofa that day or the next I also looked up their telephone number at one of the online directory services. I was connected by the telephone menu to Customer Service but after a few announcements that "your expected wait time is 1 minute", the voice suddenly announced that Customer Service was not available and that I could leave a message, which I did. I explained my question and asked them to call back ASAP as I wanted to buy the sofa that day or the next. I even left a fax number and email address in case they had a diagram or instructions they could send me. So far a full week has gone by with no answer to either the email message or the telephone message. Does anyone have experience with disassembly of the comfort sleeper for delivery? I feel very queasy about buying such an expensive product ($4000) under these circumstances, and any advice would be welcome.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 3:47AM
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Dear newyorker_2007,

I just became aware of your post and am very sorry you were not able to get the information you needed back in April. As the one dealer mentioned, disassembly is actually a fairly simple process and, performed correctly, will not void the warranty.

If it's still helpful to you or anyone else on the forum, here's how it works...

To begin with, removing legs and cushions will bring most sleeper models down to a height of around 33 inches. So, in many cases, that's all the disassembly that's needed. (I have a sleeper at home, in fact, and with our standard size doorways, no additional disassembly was needed). However, if necessary, the sofa back can be removed to allow for an extra 1-2 inches. And, the back sleeper section can also detach if even more clearance is needed. This reduces the sofa to the height of the arms, which is 23-25 inches depending on style, and can be even less if legs are already removed. Disassembly instructions, with pictures, are online at

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 1:39PM
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Disassembly instructions is really work...good!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 11:29PM
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I am so glad I found this thread! I have been struggling with whether to by the AU/American leather sleeper sofa or one from Maine Cottage. I was almost sold on the AU due to the fact that I could find no information about custmer satisfaction with Manie Cottage.
I will say though, that this thread has helped me make my desicion. I have the same situation as NewYorker_2007. I have a small doorway of only 28 inches. I live in Westchester county ouside of NYC and found a company called Dr. Sofa that will disassemble and assemble any furniture to get it in small hallways and doors. The customer service rep at Maine Cottage was fantastic. She actually called Dr Sofa and explained the contruction of their sofas to see if they could do the job well. She agreed that they could handle it! She has written me daily (I would say we have written back and forth about 8 times!) and given me more info than I could ever have found myself on the internet. The customer service with Maine Cottage is unbelievable! I am not sure what their sleeper sleeps like, but I love their sofas/furniture and will go ahead and buy it instead of an AU sofa. I will do this all because of how wonderful the sales rep/customer service rep has been with me!!!!
Thanks again for this thread. I hope it teaches others how important customer service really is to the consumer!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 11:40PM
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Lots of great opinions first time on the blog. I am a 23 year veteren of the furniture industry, mostly commercial furniture, but I have had experience with residential manufacturers...including AL. Just to clarify, I do not work for American Leather nor am I a distributor. But I do have some thoughts. First, you cannot make a furniture purchase decision based on one blog. Not in the furniture industry. Why, because, the furniture business is one of every changing options....many thousands of options provided by many manufacuters. This is what makes customer service so difficult in our business. For example, if you add up all the leather options / styles / colors available with the many different seating styles and sizes alone for AL, the number of choices a consumer has now numbers is the thousands. NO manufacturer can get it right all the time...never have seen that happen in 20+ years. Furniture is, for the large part, a made to order business driven by us consumers. Take a broad look at any one you are considering buying from to make a good decision. I have visited the AL manufacturing site, and also one of their leather vendors, and if you choose to purchase from them, you are buying a very well made high quality product. As for the individual whose leather started to crack, you get what you pay for. Most manufacturers of leather products will offer a range in quality of leather. As a consumer, you must do your home work and ask questions. If you buy a cheap leather with a spray on finish, vs. a full grain leather that has been dyed through, you will most likely not be satisfied. I have a wonderfull leather chair that I have been sitting in for 15 years, and the leather is still as beautiful as the day I purchesed it. If your dealer cannot answer simple questions as to leather quality, then dont buy from them. Pay more for higher quality leather and you will have that piece of furniture for many, many years. Final thought, the quality of your dealer will dictate the quality of your experience. Bar none. I doubt that any of us who tried to contact the president of General Motors will ever get a response if we are having an issue with our Chevy. (by the way, the leather in a chevy is probably not the same leather in the Cadilac...Im guessing)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2007 at 8:20PM
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Came to this website looking for updated info on the latest appliances and thought I'd check in with this thread. I'm glad I did.

My sleeper sofa (see posts above) had to be disassembled too. When I first ordered there was plenty of room for delivery, but during remodeling I decided to put in a door that was normal-sized (too narrow for the sofa). It wasn't hard to put the unit back together again on the other side, but it's more complicated than just screwing the legs back on. So I'd suggest you make sure the delivery people (or friends of yours) know what they're doing. Then it would be fine. It's not brain surgery, but it's not like playing with TinkerToys either. You're buying a relatively sophisticated mechanism, as well as something that looks good. So it makes sense to respect what you've paid for. You wouldn't let just anybody install a dishwasher, for example. But thousands of them get installed properly every day.

I would buy American Leather again, even after my nightmare. I accept that things will go wrong with a percentage of anything that's manufactured or delivered. My problem was with with my retailer, Foremost Furniture. At every step of the way they were careless. As in, they could not have cared less what happened once they had all their money. If you do not live in New York or the tri-state area, you cannot make this mistake.

I believe AL pushed Foremost to fulfill their legal obligations in my case, thanks to this site. After I posted here, the situation was addressed. I could not get a refund--Foremost dragged this out for years, so the sofa was now officially "used"--but I got a store credit. That is not, IMHO, AL's fault.

Foremost is a nightmare, so I warn anybody about their truly nasty management. But if you have a decent retailer (and do your research into their customer service record), I think AL is a very good value in every way. I love their stuff.

I only come to this site when I am remodeling or need advice on purchases, so my purpose in posting is to clarify what I can and to be fair. I'm glad I didn't have to go the time and expense of taking legal action to solve my problem. It took years to address the problem; that's wrong. But once AL got involved, the problem was attended to in a reasonable time frame. And they only got involved because of this site and this thread.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 6:11PM
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Looking for AL sleeper sofa. Has anyone had experience with AL dealers in the DC area?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 7:46PM
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FWIW, We are looking for two sleeper sofas to act primarily as sofas, and to be used for occassional overnight guests.

We checked out AL in both their leather and lower-quality upholstered line and found that their sofas with sleepers in them were unbearably uncomfortable to sit on! I was completely sold on the website's description of such a comfortable bed, with larger space for sleeping due to their patented manufacturign process, and I admit the pull-out bed is darned comfy.

However, unless you are buying primarily for someone to sleep on it regularly, you will be buying one of the most uncomfortably sofas for lounging on that I have ever sat on - well, maybe the sofas in college were less comfy, but that was a common room in a dorm!

That said, the highest quality non-sleeper AL leather sofa I sat in was delicious!

So, we're not buying AL for reasons of comfort, since our priorities are sofa first, sleeper 2nd, but after reading this thread, I'm glad!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 1:18PM
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Just wanted to chime in with our AL experience. We have a comfort sleeper by AL in our guest room. We find it very comfortable for sitting on, and even for laying down on when it's in couch form. I've been told that it's very comfortable when it's pulled out and used as a bed. Be forewarned that the mattress is very firm.

The only thing I wanted to add was that we chose this sleeper sofa because of its comfort as a bed and because the design meant that the bed did not stick into the room too far--the head of the bed is very close to the wall that the couch is against, if that makes any sense. The flipside to this is that the arms of the sofa can get in the way for someone trying to get out of the bed, especially if the guest has problems with their arms as my mother does. (She's the one who told me that she has to scoot down the bed to get out of it because she cannot use the couch arm to help her out of bed.) I never would have thought of this issue--so leave it to my mother to find the one possible flaw.

Other than that, I'm very happy with our choice and would buy it again. Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 5:24AM
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