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My couch got hit by a car. Now what?
January 22, 2013 6:56 AM   Subscribe

I bought a new couch. It got delivered yesterday. The couch is damaged (though it's very minor). I'm going to call "the guy" today and "work something out." Please help me choose the best option.

So, the reason the couch got damaged is that the delivery truck got hit by a car on the way to my house. The front corner of the truck got smashed clean off, the cab lost a side mirror, and scary pieces of metal were sticking out every which way. Apparently they got hit by some drunk teens out joyriding. Awesome.

Anyway, the couch suffered a puncture wound. It's a slit about the diameter of a nickel, and it's located approximately here. That is not my couch, nor does it look anything like my couch, it just serves to illustrate that it's on the top of the back part, not on a cushion, more or less hidden from view. I noticed it after the guys had finished putting the couch together and hauling it into my apartment.

The delivery guys were great about it, took pictures, noted everything fully on a form, and told me that I should do whatever I want, because they're going to bill the damaged truck and damaged contents to the other driver's insurance, and it wasn't going to get them (the delivery guys) in hot water either way. Cool.


Here are my options:

1) Get a whole new couch. (This is a very large sectional, and they said it might take a few weeks between ordering a new one and delivering it. I like having my couch right now and would like to continue having my couch.)

2) Let them send someone out to fix it. (It's a microfiber material and the wound is pretty small.)

3) Talk to the shop owner and work out deal where they give me some money back.


I think I'm going to call today and ask for a combination of #2 and #3.


My questions:

a) Is this a bad idea? Should I ask for a whole new couch? I don't particularly care much, honestly, and the idea of getting money back appeals to me. But it's the sort of thing that some people (like, for instance, my mom) would absolutely freak out about. Is there a legitimate reason I should want a whole new couch?

b) Assuming I go the other route, how much money should I ask for? I paid $900 for the couch, but I talked it down a bit (a bit). Ideally I'd like to get as much back as possible just because, y'know, money, but I don't want to be ridiculous.


I'd also like to be nice about this. The saleslady was very nice to me and gave me candy, and the delivery guys were very nice, too. And they got hit by a car and still delivered in the promised time window.

Thanks!
posted by phunniemee to Grab Bag (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Hey, you're me. I'm pretty easy-going about stuff like this.

No matter what you do, the insurance company of the joyriding teens, or uninsured motorist or whatever insurance the furniture store has will be picking up the tab.

What I'd aim for is let them try to repair the couch AND ask for a couple hundred back. Those are damages that they then could ask for in the insurance settlement.

Here's how I'd phrase it:

"Hey, this situation sucks for us both. I'm willing to work with you though. Let's see if you can fix the cosmetic thing so that I can live with it. But let's be fair, I ordered and paid for a pristine, new sofa. While I think the repair will be okay, the sofa is damaged and has lost some of its value, so I think a rebate of $$ would be fair."

See what they say. More than likely they'll agree to it because schlepping the sofa back, reordering, redelivering and all that hoo-ha will cost them more in the long run.

Hondle, baby, hondle.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:01 AM on January 22, 2013 [13 favorites]


A lot depends on whether you think you are ever, in any apartment you may own during the life of the couch, going to position the couch with the back facing a part of the room, and if so, whether it can be patched in a way that is not going to drive you nuts if you happen to see it.

If it were me, I'd have it patched and ask for some money out of it and not worry about it, but I'm pretty laid-back about things like cosmetic damage to furniture.

onPreview: just what Ruthless Bunny said.
posted by gauche at 7:04 AM on January 22, 2013


If getting a whole new couch is an option that will not hurt anyone but the other driver's insurance company, I would go that route. Furniture is a big expense and you're going to have it a long, long time. It may cause a temporary inconvenience while you wait for the new one to arrive, but if I was shelling out a bunch of cash for something that is going to sit in my living room for years to come, I would want it to be completely right. At least until the cats inevitably tear it up.
posted by something something at 7:07 AM on January 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


1) Get a whole new couch. (This is a very large sectional, and they said it might take a few weeks between ordering a new one and delivering it. I like having my couch right now and would like to continue having my couch.)

Is there any reason they have to take the old couch before they bring you the new one? Ask for a new one. The "wear and tear" you inflict on it will be nothing compared to the hole that was in it when you got it.
posted by Etrigan at 7:08 AM on January 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


What I'd aim for is let them try to repair the couch AND ask for a couple hundred back.

Yup, this is what I'm planning to do, barring someone citing a scientific study where couches spontaneously disintegrated three weeks post car crash. Or something.

My real question is how much I should ask for back. A couple hundred = $200?


Is there any reason they have to take the old couch before they bring you the new one?

I don't see one, but that's what was implied by the delivery guys. I didn't think to ask, but obviously I can ask on the phone today.


Thanks for the answers so far!
posted by phunniemee at 7:11 AM on January 22, 2013


In re. 3, b: ask what they usually do with damaged furniture still in their possession -- do they sell it? Even if they don't sell it directly to consumers they probably don't throw it out. So likely they already have a pricing scheme for new but damaged sofas; ask how much they usually discount for holes when they occur.
posted by kmennie at 7:12 AM on January 22, 2013


What Etrigan said: keep the couch until they give you a new one.
posted by devnull at 7:12 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I've had furniture replaced by a company in the past, they didn't take the old one until the new one was delivered, since freight is expensive, and they don't want to pay for 2 separate deliveries. Likely if you ask to have it replaced, they won't pick up the damaged one until they deliver the new one.
posted by markblasco at 7:12 AM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


How much did you spend on said sofa.

Start with 20% of the purchase price, and scale back to 15%.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:17 AM on January 22, 2013


phunniemee: My real question is how much I should ask for back.

I'd ask for 15% of the cost of the couch but be willing to accept 10%, since that's probably what they'd have to mark down a damaged piece of furniture to sell it in a store or whatever. If they aren't willing to do that, I'd probably ask for replacement.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:18 AM on January 22, 2013


Is there any reason they have to take the old couch before they bring you the new one?

I don't see one, but that's what was implied by the delivery guys. I didn't think to ask, but obviously I can ask on the phone today.


If you had called to work this out & wanted a new couch while the delivery guys were there, then they might have taken the couch then. At this point nobody's at your house and the company isn't going to pay to have a truck and labor come out twice, once to pick up and another time to deliver.

If my experience with damaged appliances is anything to go by, they really don't want to replace the couch, they want to knock a bit off the price to close out your transaction.
posted by headnsouth at 7:18 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would not buy a couch with a hole in it for less than a 30% discount. I would offer them to keep it for a retroactive 30% off (and in this case I mean a third, 300 bucks) otherwise they can deliver a new one and remove the old one and see if someone else wants to buy it off them at whatever their usual damaged goods rate is.
posted by Iteki at 7:27 AM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


This isn't precisely the same thing, but I once ordered a couch and they delivered the wrong color. The company let me keep the wrong couch while I waited weeks and weeks for the right one to be made. Based on that I'm guessing they'll let you keep the old one until the new one is ready, if you go that route.

I agree that a 20% discount and asking to get it repaired are reasonable requests.
posted by apricot at 7:34 AM on January 22, 2013


If an insurance is covering it, then the damaged couch will likely belong to the insurer after they've paid up. So neither the store nor you would be in a position to ask for a discount. At least, that's the case with write-off cars.
posted by anadem at 7:43 AM on January 22, 2013


Are you 100% sure that you are entitled to any compensation at all? Sometimes once you sign for something and unbox it, that's it, you're out of luck.

If that's not an issue, then I personally would want what I paid for - an undamaged brand new couch.
posted by elizardbits at 8:20 AM on January 22, 2013


I would work with the store and do whatever is easiest for them. (Since they are being nice and you want to be nice too.) It may be that it is easier for them to give you a whole new couch than it would to give you cash. That might be easier for them to explain to the insurance company than some nebulous "well, we need a check for $150 because it was damaged, but the person who bought it didn't care and just wanted a discount."
posted by gjc at 8:41 AM on January 22, 2013


I would make keeping the couch conditional on the quality of the repair!
posted by jbenben at 8:52 AM on January 22, 2013


I would also flip the thing over and wiggle it around, testing the wood, looking for any breaks or loose bolts that could get worse in the future.

You might be better off in the long run with a whole new couch.
posted by jbenben at 8:54 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Remember, the $ amounts involved are absolutely trivial for the furniture and insurance companies. Trivial. Therefore, ask for 50+ % off the price you paid. They will negotiate.

The furniture company is not going to lose any money because a no fault accident and insurance are involved. They will do just fine, financially. Keep that in mind when you are negotiating and don't feel bad at any point.
posted by Kruger5 at 11:38 AM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


"This is a very large sectional ... "

Can the store replace just the damaged section, instead of the entire thing?
posted by mon-ma-tron at 12:51 PM on January 22, 2013


If they replace just that section, you have to be careful about matching the colors. Different dye lots could make a subtle, but noticeable, difference.

If it were me, I'd ask for a new couch. That's what you paid for.
posted by CathyG at 1:06 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Info-free update: I called, but the owner isn't in the store on Tuesdays. The woman who sold me the couch said they'd be happy to kick off some money and do the repair, but that I'd need to speak with the owner about the particulars. Standing by until tomorrow.

Thanks for all the advice. I think I'm gonna be bold and go with what Iteki suggests and take the approaches suggested by gjc and Ruthless Bunny. I'll let you know how it goes.
posted by phunniemee at 1:50 PM on January 22, 2013


Sorry - I am the typical PITA, and I am tellin ya - if you ask for anything LESS than you paid for, you will GET less than you paid for.

Companies pay for insurance. They need to make you whole.

Don't settle for anything less.
posted by brownrd at 2:57 PM on January 22, 2013


We bought a couch from CB2 and a button popped off within 2 weeks. I called and they sent out a replacement cushion (full couch size) so now we have a new cushion and the old cushion is in plastic and under the bed waiting for a button repair and inevitable party red wine stain swap out.

Also, a patch will affect the resale value if you ever decide to sell it - people who don't have their couch against a wall probably won't want it.
posted by srboisvert at 6:16 AM on January 23, 2013


I will be getting a new couch (er, half of one) this Saturday.

I went in armed with so many tools (and a cheat sheet to read, as I am sucky on the phone) and the guy didn't want to play ball, so boom: new couch. I will be vigilant about making sure the color matches.

Thanks for the help!
posted by phunniemee at 11:53 AM on January 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


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