Preliminary lawsuit settlement over defective bonded leather furniture

United States
Published:  17 February, 2017

A preliminary settlement has been reached in a class-action lawsuit filed against Florida based Kane's Furniture that accused the retailer of failing to honour lifetime warranties for defective "bonded leather" furniture that peeled, flaked and deteriorated.

Notices to about 15,000 customers who purchased the furniture were put in the mail starting February 10 providing details and asking them to submit claims by April 11 for full or partial refunds or store credits, according to court records and plaintiff's attorney Dan Clark.

Kane's admits no wrongdoing in the settlement. It has blamed the Mississippi manufacturer that sold the furniture to Kane's for defects and the inconvenience caused to customers. In fact, Kane’s had filed a lawsuit against that manufacturer in a case that was later settled. A final hearing on the settlement agreement is scheduled for May 1.

According to a court document and a notice to consumers, the agreement covers sales between July 27, 2010 and December 5, 2016, with Kane’s offering compensation ranging from full cash refunds or in-store credit for product and repairs to a 5% recovery of the original price for early purchasers, who do not complete and return a proof of claim form.

Kane’s also agreed to add a disclaimer, "Terms and conditions apply," to any adverts that state, “Free Lifetime Guarantee,” “Limited Lifetime Warranty” or Guaranteed for Life,” according to the settlement notice. The retailer also “will include leather and leather products in its disclaimer stating that its lifetime guarantee does not apply to fabric,” the form said.

Kane’s no longer sells bonded leather upholstery. The 18-store Florida chain also is not the only retailer facing issues and customer compliants over bonded leather. According to a report by an NBC affiliate in San Diego, a Jerome’s Furniture customer complained about a peeling bonded leather sectional he had purchased from the retailer three and a half years ago. Jerome’s ended up providing a full refund, the report said.