Did I [i]pay[/i] for a floor model? (long)

I want new chairs for the living room. So I go the store and after a bit of browsing, find a nice big overstuffed Natuzzi leather chair and ottoman in bone. Sweet. I sit in it awhile and then go to another one that is smaller and cheaper, then back to the first. I pick up the tag to make sure it’s a reputable manufacturer (it is: Natuzzi), go back to the first. Hmm. One is $1159 the other is $1349. I like the more expensive one better, but…hmm, let’s make sure this includes the ottoman. Take out the tag and sure enough it includes the ottoman. Good. Notice it has a pen mark through the figure as if someone was going to cross out the price but then decided not to. Okay, decide to go ahead and pay the extra $$ for the bigger chair. Mr. Salesman appears and we seal the deal. I’m a little annoyed that he charges me $60 for delivery since I’m paying almost $3000 for two freaking chairs but okay, I’m not going to make a scene over $60.

The deliveryman arrive and after they leave I go to sit in my new chairs. Sweetness. Hmmm. Strange. There’s a tag hanging on one of them. This tag looks very familiar. Yes, very familiar indeed. Upon further inspection, it is the exact same tag that was in the showroom, down to the pen mark through the dollar amoutn. Behind it is a blue paper with the words “Hold for PunditLisa” on it.

Okay, I’m very annoyed now. They’ve sent me the FLOOR MODEL.

So I get on the phone and ask for Mr. Salesman, John. John gets on the floor and I say, “John, they’ve delivered my chairs, however you’ve sent me the floor model.”

“Impossible.” He said. “That chair is still in the showroom.”

“No, I don’t think so.” I said. I described the two tags.

“Well, how does it look?” he asks flippantly.

“That’s hardly the point.” I said. "I can’t tell by looking at it how many hundreds of customers have plopped down in my chair and deteriorated the frame. "

“Well, I’m telling you that it’s not a floor model.” He says, trying to brush me off. “It’s still here.”

I’m starting to get angry now, because I KNOW I’m right. “John, are you saying that if I drive over there right now, my chair will be sitting there?”

Pause. “Well, let me go check and make sure.”

I know right then that he had been lying to me because his voice was very nervous. He gets back on and tries to feign shock, “You know, you are right! The chair is not there anymore. I did a little investigating, though, and I know what happened. We sold the floor model to another customer after you and they must have shipped the wrong one to you.”

“Sounds like the “other” customer got a pretty good deal then. How are you going to remedy this for me?”

“Well, of course, I’ll give you some money off.”

“Fine. I think 20% is reasonable.”

“20%?! Oh no, we give 5% discounts for floor models since it was so deeply discounted already. Let’s see, I can knock off $67.50.”

“$67.50! That’s what you charged me for shipping!”

“Well, I’m sorry, but that’s the best I can do.”

"Fine. Then I want to return this floor model and have a new one delivered. "

“I checked before I got back on the phone and we’re are all sold out of that chair.”

(boiling) “Really? How convenient. Okay. I’ll keep this one until a new one comes in.”

“Unfortunately, we won’t be getting any new ones in. That frame has been discontinued.”

“Okay, John. Sounds like we’re at an impasse here. I’m going to think about this for a few hours and then I’ll call you back.”

I talked to my husband about it and he said to either get them to knock more off or have them take both chairs back.

I called back but asked for his manager because I wanted him to know that his salesman is dishonest. I relayed the story to him and he said, "Hmm. Really. Hmmm. Well, let me call you back and I’ll see what I can do. " A few minutes later, John (not the manager) calls back and said that they’re going to give me $200 off, take it or leave it. That’s 15%.

I reluctantly agreed, but let me tell you, I’m still pissed about it.

What pisses me off more than anything was that this salesman flat out lied to me. First, I have NO DOUBT that the second I left the store, he wrote out the blue “Hold for PunditLisa” sign and put it on the floor model. The deliverymen just weren’t shrewd enough to remove the tag or I’d have never known. I also have no doubt that John initially claimed my chair was in the showroom because he didn’t think I’d haul my ass into the store to prove him wrong.

Not once did John or his manager offer me an apology of any sort. In fact, John was almost smug to me.

Some people have advised me to have them take them back. I AM half tempted to call and say, “You know, John, I don’t want these chairs because I don’t trust you. Have your deliverymen come out on Wednesday. I’ll call you first thing Wednesday morning to give them a two hour window.”

But then another part of me thinks I’m being ridiculous over two chairs.

So, what do you think? Was 15% off sufficient? Am I just being totally bitchy? Or should I just let it go?

Oh no, Lisa… if he gets away with this, he’ll do it again.

Stomp him!

Something like that happened to me once. I had to buy a new oven, I went to the appliance store and the saleslady showed me one, she was very rough with the floor model, slamming the door and dropping the top down , banging it. I bought the oven and specified that I didn’t want the floor model, for obvious reasons, she said fine, no problem.

The delivery men got there and the oven is not in a box, I asked why, they said" There are no boxes for floor models." I called the store and got the same shit that you did, they offered a very small discount. I was pissed off, I didn’t feel that I had much choice because it was only 2 days before Thanksgiving. But I will not use that store again for anything.

I don’t think you’re being unreasonable.

One of the most important choices you have in life is who you associate, deal with, and reward.

If the chairs are such a great deal that you would be causing yourself a hardship not to keep them, than keep them.

Otherwise, you have dealt with dishonesty, and an attempt to negotiate after the fact with you.

Furniture also generally comes in two classes. The floor models meant for display are constructed very cheaply, as they are just meant to show the furniture. They are not designed for long term consumer use, and the frames are generally cheaper pine tacked together, rather than the good quality hardwood you find in top quality furniture.

I would be very concerned that the chairs that you have are display quality models, rather than retail models.

If I were you, I would not keep the chairs. I would call, and politely demand that they make an apointment to pick up the chairs, and that they credit your credit account immediately. I would check with my credit card company the next day to insure that they have done so, since playing games with the float in these refund situations is another tactic that disreputable dealers may engage in.

If you encounter any resistance, I would let them know that you will alert your credit card company to deny the charge due to their fraudulent activities, than I would follow up in writing both to your credit card company, and to the store.

I would walk into the store with my receipt and letter and deliver it personally, and I would try to leave with both a written pickup notice in hand signed by the manager, as well as a copy of the credit to my credit card.

If you paid by check, I would ask for the check back or threaten to stop payment, but only if you recieve resistance.

The point is to let them know that they have dealt with you dishonestly and through that they have lost your business. Because they lied to you you no longer have a valid contract with them, and are no longer interested in dealing with them.

They need to both pick up the chairs and refund your money in a timely fashion.

Scylla this is kind of surprising to me- that they would bother to make a separate set of furniture- especially as that is the model on which purchasing decisions would be made on. Could you point me to a good source of info on this-- if you happen to know of one off hand. I like to wheel and deal, but want to know if its worth it on floor model furniture.


Are you sure about that? I work in furniture (although office, not residential). Our showroom models are the exact same stuff the customer gets; the manufacturer has no way of knowing when the order is placed who’s getting the furniture, the dealer or the end-user.

The only cheapie versions of office furniture I’ve seen were the demonstration models the reps carry around when a new piece is introduced. They’re slapped together with spit and baling wire because they’ll be used to show the shape and finish only, not the durable construction.

However, I freely admit I have no info on the residential side of the business. It would seem to me, though, that you’d want your showroom stuff to be at least as strong as the regular stuff, to stand up to the repeated use by multiple people every day. Having a chair or sofa fall apart on your showroom floor can’t be good for business.

My information comes from a man who owns a furniture store. The kind you see in a boutique, or a small furniture store is usually the retail quality.

If you go to a large chain, or outlet, their display models are typically made out of pine rather than hardwood. He also warned me that when you go to the big outlets you have to watch out when you see name brand stuff at ridiculously cheap prices. You’re buying the display quality.

My info comes first hand from a person who’s been in the business of retail furniture sales, and owns two small chains, but I have no other coroborating sources or cites for you to peruse.

Don’t get me started on the Proptronics brand TV set that I bought…

Not saying it doesn’t happen, but I personally have never heard of different quality furniture depending on the intended destination. Just my experience.

I personally think you are being somewhat unreasonable. The type of wear that a chair is likely to incur sitting in a showroom for a couple months is probably less than what would be incurred in a couple days of continuous home use. After all, people aren’t doing backflips off the chairs on the showroom floor. They sit in 'em for a few seconds or minutes, decide if they like them, then move on. If there is no visible wear on the chairs, take the $400, buy yourself a nice cashmere throw blanket, and forget about it.

This is independent of how the the furniture store people acted. Even in reading your account of what transpired, I do not see anything SOOOO egregious that it warrants further action. Could have been malicious, or it could’ve been a misunderstanding, or it could’ve been somewhere in between. Don’t shop at the furniture store again, if that suits you.

Regardless, you got a helluva deal on the chairs, previous assing of the chairs aside. Don’t taint them any further by dragging this out.

When I worked at Kmart (Oh, it is SWEET to say that!), we weren’t ALLOWED to sell the floor models. Especially of things like grills, appliances, etc.
Furniture-it’s probably the same thing. BUT…appliances, or anything that has to be put together usually isn’t put together perfectly-it’s usually missing a lot of parts and things-it’s just for display.

And we’d get people pissed about this!

Furniture-Scylla, I just find that kinda hard to believe. It could be true-I mean, I don’t think you’re lying, I’m just saying it probably isn’t the case everywhere.

Actually, Macro, I beg to differ-customers let their kids jump all over these chairs, spill things, etc. At the very least, they’re probably dusty and such.

I don’t think she got such a deal at all.

When I worked at Pier one, we weren’t allowed to sell things already assembled for a wholly different reason: because the stuff is a pain in the ass to assemble and costs labor to do!

I find it hard to believe, too. It would seem to me that it would cost more to make two separate versions of the piece of furniture and keep track of which was which than to just put the regular model on display and sell it for cost when the time comes.

PunditLisa–I’d say to return the chairs. Then buy something similar from a reputable dealer.

My hsuband and I bought 2 floor model sofas from Macy’s Furniture Outlet. We thought long and hard about whether we wanted the floor models, but we decided it was okay with us. Well, it turns out that they had an extra set of the sofas (new) in the warehouse, and shipped those to us instead. So we paid for floor models and got new. That was really excellent. Anyway, IMHO, it’s completely unacceptable to substitute a floor model for a new piece. It’s just fine if they substitute new for a floor model–but even in that case, they informed us that they were shipping something different from what we agreed to purchase.

But she would’ve never known, other than the fact they had a tag on them. There were no marks, dust, etc. on them, at least that I can infer from the OP. I tend to think that a store that sells $1400 chairs probably doesn’t have children continuously jumping from chair to sofa to end table throughout their showroom. I do not know about Lisa’s house, but I do know that 6 months in a showroom is much easier than 6 months in the Macro house. Not quite as good as new-in-plastic, but worth the $400 tradeoff, IMHO.

Macro Man
Proud owner of a leather Laz-E-Boy, with built in massage, heat, and refrigerator.

If I was in this situation, I wouldn’t have been nearly as pissed if the salesman hadn’t made you threaten to go down there before admitting you got the floor model…if he would have done his ‘mistake with another customer’ bit, combined with 15% off, I would have took it and just not used the store again. But, since he added denial to his lying, I would have first caught him in the second lie (“Well, then it should be easy to straighten out. Call up the lady who got my new chair and explain the mix-up.”), and then made them either go to 20% or throw in a free end table or something.


Hey PunditLisa,

Even with the $67.50 they were charging you, you could have really pissed them off by demanding they take the chair and ottoman back and totally refund your money, including shipping.

With the time the delivery guys had already spent getting the thing to your house and bringing it in, and by the time they make it back to your house, get it out of your house, and back to the store, they should have spent near around the $67.50 in labor alone making up for a bad decision. And that $67.50 will come right out of the store’s revenue rather than your pockets. . .

I say “stick it to 'em!”

Jeez, people, let her enjoy the stupid chairs!!!


At the point the salesman said:

“Well, I’m telling you that it’s not a floor model.” He says, trying to brush me off. “It’s still here.”

I would have politely said “OK, let me get back to you.”

Then I would have got two friends, one to play a reporter and one to be a video cameraman.
All three of us now go to the store and the ‘reporter’ asks for the manager.
The manager is told that you (PunditLisa) have being interviewed for a consumer program.
PunditLisa claims that she was sold a floor model, but that the salesman has assured her that the model is still here.
The reporter wants to film the chair and then do an interview with the salesman and the manager, to show how stores are sometimes falsely accused.

Then you film the salesman…

Well the scenario might need tidying up, but you get my drift!

No way! We need to whip her up into a frenzy so she storms in there and gives the salesman and manager a verbal beating. That way, there’ll be a fun story on the back end for us to read about. If she just enjoys the chairs, then this whole thing is over… :frowning:

Just had to add that a friend of mine used to work as a salesman selling furniture. (He quit saying he couldn’t believe the schmuck he’d become.) Any day you talked to him he could tell you how horribly the customers were cheated. The bait and switch thing was standard practice and customers couldn’t (well shouldn’t) have believed a word that was said- not the value, make, price, warrantee, anything. They did everything they could to get money for the furniture, then did everything they could to not take it back when challenged.

It’s a pain in the butt, but I’d definitely second what was said already. You can also look up the store in Better Business Bureau (I’ve had luck getting money back with them) or maybe consider small claims court, if necessary.

Good luck,