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The Structure Warranty on My Sofa?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 4 Feb 2024 | comments*Discuss
Structure Warranty Furniture Warranty


I bought a corner sofa from a major sofa retailer in Glasgow and paid over £2,000 expecting to get quality. Within 3 months the middle section of it was sitting on the floor.

I had a technician from the company out who took pictures & said they would be in touch to uplift & repair after the holidays - that was 8 weeks ago & still no word so I've been chasing it up & they keep saying they will be in touch by end of business and never call.

They have advertised on their website a 5 year structural guarantee on all sofas excluding everyday wear & tear.

Can you please tell me my rights and how to proceed? Can I ask for a replacement or my money back?

Am I right in thinking this would come under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (goods should be of satisfactory quality and fit to do the job intended for them)?

(P. Roarty, 5 September 2008)


It’s certainly a shame that his has happened, and even more that the retailer appears to be stalling on putting it right.

You’re perfectly correct in thinking that this is covered under the Sale of Goods Act 1979. That states, as you said that items must be of a satisfactory quality, fit for the purpose for which they’re intended and safe. Although it’s very good and lengthy, the whole issue of the structure warranty doesn’t really apply here.

From what you say, the sofa has failed on all three counts of the act. If the structure of the middle section has collapsed, it’s not fit for its intended purpose, it’s certainly not of satisfactory quality, and nor is it safe.

You have a “reasonable period” in which to check that the goods you’ve bought are up to scratch. No specific time limit is given, but if the problems occurred within three months and you complained in that time, that’s perfectly reasonable. If more than six months had elapsed, then you’d be relying on the structure warranty.

So what are your rights? Under the Sale of Goods Act, you can reject the item as unsatisfactory, and demand a replacement, to have the item repaired or your money back – this comes from the retailer, not the manufacturer, although you don’t state whether the structure warranty or any furniture warranty comes from manufacturer or retailer. Within the first six months, if the problem isn’t due to wear or tear, the retailer has to replace the item. You can also demand compensation. In most instances this would mean simple replacement or repair, but with the delay in customer service, there might be a case for more.

Obviously, the simplest resolution would be if the retailer took care of the problem, but they appear to be dragging their feet. Instead of dealing with customer service, talk directly to the manager and point out that they’re violating the Sale of Goods Act. If he tries to invoke any structure warranty or furniture warranty, saying you’ll need to talk to the manufacturer, be certain to point out that this is not the case, and that responsibility lies with the retailer. If that doesn’t work and the retailer belongs to any association, contact them with the problem – they can help bring about a resolution. Threatening with Trading Standards or small claims court stands as a last resort for you if they still don’t take action.

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Our Response:
Your consumer rights are not as strong after 18 months as during the firstmonths. You might be able to claim something based on your rights if the product has proved not fit for purpose...this depends how much you paid for it, how long you'd expect it to last and whether you have kept it in accordance the manufacturer's recommendations etc. As for the guarantee - the DFS terms and conditions do state that it only applies to mainland UK.
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