Newest Review: ... we would have to have them as they stand rather than pick our own combination of fabrics and colours. After a little more sitting and... more
Sofa so bad
Member Name: Dryad
Advantages: Looked nice for about two months
Disadvantages: Fell appart quickly, expensive, stain protector didn't work
This review is as this dooyoo heading specifies about the sofas sold by DFS (DFS is not called DFS Sofas) not the store itself. If you would like details of their price plans, customer service etc, there is another dooyoo heading which covers DFS as a retailer. Also this opinion covers my experience only with one sofa suite we bought from them.
About 4 years ago we needed to replace our lounge suite, having entrusted our barely 3 year old uber comfortable one to the tender ministrations of my father in law while our house was renovated. He stored it lovingly fabric side down on a rough concrete garage floor with a leaking roof. Needless to say the result was torn fabric and an interesting line in exotic moulds.
The DFS store we visited was on the 'industrial' estate in Llansamlet Swansea, it was spacious, well set out and we found the sales staff to be pleasant and helpful. We 'tried on' virtually every sofa in the place and they all felt kind of flimsy, comfortable (mostly) but flimsy. My family really 'live' in their home, so everything in it needs to be durable first and foremost.
We were about to give up (having traipsed around many other furniture shops over a period of weeks before we got to this one) when we spotted a display of reclining sofas that seemed to have the padded pillow style arms that we liked, also thankfully there was no obvious 'head rest' which being short always rests at the top of my head, not neck and pushes my head forward giving me head and neck ache.
The style that caught our eye were almost identical to the versions they still have on sale (we asked about the mechanism and it is the same one used in sofas sold at the time we bought ours), the only thing that has changed is that the sides are straight and do not scroll out on the newer versions. The one we chose is similar to but looks sturdier than the navona on their website.
The sofa was upholstered in faux suede which felt thick enough to stand up to the gouging of dog paws and burrowing feet of teenagers. It had nice deep seats that you could curl up on nicely, and whilst not being as enveloping as my previous sofa it felt comfortable and supportive.
The assistant was quite helpful in general, when we questioned her on the colours available she showed us swatches of different colour/fabric options, which could be provided with a small extra waiting time. However I had made the mistake of falling in love with the mushroomy fawn colour one on display, I would normally plump for a more 'serviceable' colour.
We also asked her how sturdy the reclining mechanism was; on the suite we bought it was hand operated by a small flat 'paddle' type lever recessed fairly elegantly into the side of the sofa, for a little more we could have had an electric (I think) model which reclined at the push of a button (at a higher price). We decided that the fancy automatic version would be just asking for trouble with our family, and would be bound to go wrong very quickly. So with the assistant's reassurance that it was a very sturdy sofa with a good mechanism we decided to purchase it, as a (manual) two sofa suite, one three seater with the two end seats being reclining, and a two seater on which both seats reclined. This cost just under £2,000 at the time for both sofas, and took several weeks to be delivered.
The fabric was treated with own brand scotch guard type protection (so we were told) and we were nagged to take out a restoring insurance to cover cleaning. In retrospect I wouldn't have bothered with this, we never normally take out extra insurances but I was proud of my nice new sofas, and with pets and kids I thought the chances were that we would need it. As it turned out the sofas didn't last long enough to bother with cleaning.
Initially we were very happy with our purchase; it was attractive and seemed comfortable. However after living with the suite for a little while the hubby decided he didn't like it. He spends most of his resting hours recumbent, and found with these sofas that if he tried lying lengthwise on it then each seat was at a different level with no 'give', it gave him a 'bad' back and was generally very uncomfortable. I did try getting him to use the reclining function instead but he said he couldn't see the telly when lying back to the extent that was comfortable, where as if he simply lay down and turned on his side on a 'normal' sofa it worked perfectly. This is of course a personal irritation that might be something to consider if you spend a lot of your time horizontal.
Other inherent problems with the furniture became quickly apparent. My girls are fairly rough on furniture, expecting to be able to lift their legs up onto it, rest their full weight on to it rather than perching like a flower fairy, and to be able to recline the recliners, unreasonable things like that. Within a couple of months the seat which my eldest had claimed as her own developed the annoying propensity to pop up when you shifted your weight. We noticed that a spring had come un-clipped on one side and re-attached it, but the problem kept happening, so it must have been co-incidental. We continued to find random springs on the floor underneath both sofas.
Sadly my mother in law passed away at around this time. The vicar visited us to discuss the funeral service etc., and unfortunately chose to sit in that chair. I'd warned my husband to guide him to one of the others but he forgot. I returned from the kitchen with biscuits in time to see the vicar rest his arm on the side of the chair, which made the recliner violently pop into action flipping him suddenly back. His legs flew into the air and one of his shoes seemed to fly off in slow motion somersaulting to rest in my fireplace. I have to admit although it was a sad time, and I was a bit embarrassed, it did make us laugh. He was very good about it, and luckily he didn't have his hot tea in his hand. Anyway this was the beginning of the end for our suite.
Soon the other seat on the same sofa developed a fault, the foot rest wouldn't fold back in properly and the back remained at an uncomfortable 45 degree angle. The dog would often jump up to sleep on the back of the chair once it had developed this convenient angle, and flip the sofa and whoever was sitting in it onto their back, where they would flap around like a stranded turtle until they rolled unceremoniously out of the seat. So obviously this fault left the seat very unstable with a tendency to rock backwards (even without the dog). The seats did clip together to form the sofa but it never really worked properly and they were more like two chairs pushed together .
We called DFS to try and sort out the problem but failed to follow up due to the stress around the time of the funeral, my father in law was diagnosed with vascular dementia just before the funeral after a marked deterioration, which obviously put more pressure and stress on out time and energy (as we were his sole carers). So during that period sofa malfunctions were the last thing on our minds.
Within a year the three seater had both recliners permanently out at full stretch, the seats are wedged up against the lounge wall so the backs are more or less upright, but you have to clamber on to the seat and sit with your legs up, or curled to the side. The faults occurred gradually during the year, every time we swore we would contact the company some other disaster seemed to crop up which made it impossible, (such as long term health issues with my youngest becoming apparent). Eventually so many things had gone wrong we felt that we couldn't make a complaint, as the company would probably have some loophole which stated that we should have contacted them in the first instance of a fault.
As similar faults occurred with both sofas I don't think it was bad luck with one of them, but a design fault, as it would be unlikely to affect both sofas if it were just a one off glitch.
If we had been more assertive and returned to DFS with each problem as it occurred maybe we could have had some satisfaction. I only mention the family issues above to make the point that sadly we really didn't have the time or the mental energy to deal with the hassle that could have entailed. I'm angry that we should have been in that position in the first place, because of poor construction. Also the thing with the dog and vicar, whilst perhaps funny could also have resulted in more serious accidents than we experienced.
The law states you can return items when they are not fit for purpose, but manufacturers often bank (literally) on the fact that a proportion of people will get fed up of or not be able to face the process and give up. I know built in obsolescence seems to be a fact of life now; ensuring people are constantly struggling to replace things that should last a lifetime, filling and re-filling the pockets of industry, but under a year for sofas is ludicrous.
If your family are not the sort to leave the plastic on their furniture, and like to be able to lounge comfortably on their sofas then these DFS recliners are definitely not for you. However if your whole family collectively weigh as much as a dandelion seed, and simply perch delicately on their furniture (as the vicar is now inclined to do), then perhaps you could consider these sofa options from DFS.
Summary: Fragile handle with care
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