5 On Your Side

Not So Suite: Store Never Delivers Man's Living Room Set

Posted November 29, 2006

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— North Carolina is known for its furniture. But a Raleigh man said he's learned from experience that buying quality furniture and getting it delivered are two different issues.

Mike Bryan said he ordered a sofa, chair and ottoman from Carolina Leather and was told by the salesman to expect delivery within four to six weeks.

"I thought it sounded great. Get exactly what you want -- right color of leather, everything matches and all that. But then it got delayed and delayed and delayed," Bryan said.

He said he repeatedly called Carolina Leather for months, but no one could tell him why the furniture was delayed or when he would get it. Multiple messages left for the company's vice president were never returned, he said.

"I just didn't get any response at all," he said. "(I was) just leaving messages, messages, messages, and then I tried calling back, going one step down the ladder and calling that person again, and he just didn't return my calls either."

After three months, Bryan canceled his order and asked for a refund. When no one responded, he called 5 on Your Side.

Soon after 5 On Your Side contacted Carolina Leather, the company sent Bryan a $2,500 refund. He said he's relieved about that, but remains disappointed he doesn't have the furniture he really wanted.

"It was like one of those things you kind of do where you say, 'Gosh, this is going to be perfect.' You picked out exactly what you wanted. The right color, right style. Everything matches, and you think you're going to sort of have all those pieces put together. But then it sort of doesn't materialize," he said.

Carolina Leather Vice President Mark Helms later sent a fax to 5 On Your Side, saying most of the company's furniture takes three to four weeks to arrive. But Bryan's furniture was from the "import division," which takes longer, and Bryan was told that up front, Helms said in the fax.

Forty-five complaints have been lodged against Carolina Leather and its associated companies in the last three years with the Better Business Bureau.

Meanwhile, Bryan took his refund and invested in other furniture.

"This furniture was really sort of a last-minute deal, just to get something in here," he said.

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