A broken bed
November 22, 2011 5:24 PM   Subscribe

Should I sue a furniture company for failure to execute a warranty on a broken bed?

I purchased a bed from a large mattress / furniture company in New York.

Less than a year later, the bed frame broke apart. (Not even from a fun activity: I just moved it across the room and it broke apart like you'd see a house collapse in a cartoon.)

So I filed a report with the company. It took three weeks for them to send out an inspector, and another two weeks for the inspector to "file the report". Result: company determined the bed was broken, was covered by warranty, and I would be entitled to a new bed.

However, this was over two months ago. I still have not received a new bed frame. Every time I call they say the bed frame is not in stock. This has been going on well over a month now.

They will not give me a cash refund. They said they can give me a store credit for the bed, but there is no frame they sell that is even close to the price I paid for this one. (In fact, even if I got a store credit I wouldn't be able to get the same frame for the same price, as I received a discount on it.)

So: should I file a small claims lawsuit in New York City against this company for failure to execute the warranty in a reasonable way and amount of time? Will I have a chance to win the claim, or will it be thrown out because I refused the store credit? Will the company even bother to send a lawyer to defend it, or might they settle once they receive the lawsuit filing?

(Once I filed the lawsuit I would go buy a new bed from Ikea or something and just hope to win the cash back in court.)
posted by meadowlark lime to Law & Government (5 answers total)
Oh, forgot to add the insult to injury: they told me they would not fulfill the warranty unless they could pick up the broken bed when they delivered the new one. So for three months I have had this pile of lumber cluttering up my small NYC apartment in the bedroom while I sleep on the futon. Maybe this will help me win in court?
posted by meadowlark lime at 5:29 PM on November 22, 2011

Yes, you should file in small claims. This is precisely what small claims is good for.
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:47 PM on November 22, 2011

Have you spoken to the most senior person at the company? If it's a larger chain, have you spoken to people at the regional or national offices? Seems like this should be solvable without a lawsuit, seeing as they promised you the bed. You could probably win a lawsuit (IANAL) in small claims court, especially since they've promised the replacement to you, but it would most likely be easier to negotiate with them.

Have they indicated when the bed will be back in stock? Is there a similar item you would take instead?
posted by iamscott at 5:47 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you have any friends who are lawyers, I'd ask one to write a letter for you to the CEO of the company, stating your intent to sue unless you have received x by date y.

But in the meantime, since I'm both a pessimist and someone who loathes having this kind of ongoing fury in my life, I'd chuck the old frame and buy a new Ikea one and let the whole bad bed angst go.

(Also, any chance the cost of the bed is covered by your homeowner's insurance?)
posted by argonauta at 5:49 PM on November 22, 2011

Should you decide to file, I'd also check the terms of your warranty to make sure that it doesn't include a mandatory arbitration clause before you start the process. If it does, you can't take them to court but instead will have to go in front of an arbitrator, almost certainly one of their choosing.
posted by HonoriaGlossop at 5:58 PM on November 22, 2011

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