La-Z-Boy puts Brooke Shields in a delicate situation

The company wants you to buy other items besides recliners, but continues to frustrate customers

Look, I like Brooke Shields, I really do and I’m sure she’s a nice lady, but the company she’s been working with since 2010 hasn’t fared too well with many of our readers.

La-Z-Boy Furniture is one of the biggest furniture retailers in the United States, with over 70 stores spread across the country, and since the 1920s, the company has done a wonderful job of cementing its brand in the minds of consumers in various parts of the world.

The company’s products pretty much have everything to do with relaxing, taking a load off and sliding into a moment of comfort after a hectic day, while also giving consumers the choice of several products like sofas, loveseats, pull-out couches and of course recliners, which the company has pretty much built its name on.

In addition to its retail stores, La-Z-Boy also owns Kincaid Furniture, La-Z-Boy Kids, La-Z-Boy Residential, Bauhaus USA Furniture and other brands, and in recent years it seems the company has made a conscious effort for its stores to appear higher-end, while also trying to move away from the perception that it only sells furniture that’s all comfort and no style.

And certainly Brooke Shields signing on and releasing her own line under the company didn’t hurt La-Z-Boy, as the actress has mainly been adored -- or at least tolerate -- ever since she told us that nothing comes between her and her Calvins.

It was around the winter of 2010 that Shields signed on with the company, which was seemingly an attempt to draw younger mothers to the La-Z-Boy brand -- you know, just everyday homemakers who were raising families and decorating homes, just like Brooke. 

In the latest string of TV commercials, the “Endless Love” actress also drives home the point that La-Z-Boy is much more than just recliners, which will be a hard image for the company to shake considering its name is synonymous with the words lethargic, sluggish and idle.

Non-recliners

Face it, La-Z-Boy has made much of its living on recliners, so we were interested what consumers had to say about its other pieces of furniture.

Brian of West Chester, Ohio, says he tried out one of the company’s sectional sofas, but encountered a bunch of problems from the onset.

“Warning to anyone looking at La-Z-Boy sectionals,” he wrote in a post to ConsumerAffairs. “In July of 2011, we bought a very, very expensive sectional couch from La-Z-Boy Furniture Gallery, 12189 Montgomery Road, Loveland, Ohio 45140. We had many less expensive options, but wanted to go with the best. When it was finally delivered in late August, the couch was the material of the accent pillows and the pillows the material of the couch.”

“The sectional was returned and we waited another eight weeks," he added. 

"Finally, in October of 2011, we took delivery (all correct materials this time) and the sectional was assembled by the delivery guys. Well, apparently the delivery guys were not very diligent and the sections were inadequately connected and immediately (that evening) came apart.”

Brian then went on to explain that after numerous repairs, the sectional continued to fall apart, so eventually he  spoke to the head of the service department and was told there was nothing that could be done.

Apparently, so much time elapsed from the day of purchase, the sofa was no longer under warranty.

Brian was stuck with a $4,000 sofa that wasn’t very usable, but despite the several mishaps, he was able to keep his cool and keep himself together better than the sectional was able to do.

Not so loveable

Another item that La-Z-Boy wants to be known for is loveseats, which is a piece of furniture that’s supposed to be extremely cozy, since people sit in very close quarters and don’t have the ability to stretch or lounge on it like they can on a sofa.

Michael of Annandale, Va. said the cushions on his loveseat weren’t all that lovely and when he called for a repair person, the guy that came out, wasn’t all that lovely either.

“On July 4, we bought a recliner, sofa, and loveseat—all power recliners,” Michael wrote. “After about a month, the cushions on the loveseat and sofa felt like they collapsed. I called service and they sent a repairman out—the worst person ever. He was rude, disrespectful and treated my wife in a condescending manner.”

After calling to complain about the repairperson and not getting any real help, Michael had to raise the stakes a little bit.

“I wrote a two-page letter to the CEO of La-Z-Boy about what happened. There’s no response from him or anybody else,” he wrote.

Otto be better

And when it comes to other pieces of furniture, like ottomans, the company hasn’t wowed too many of our readers in that department either.

“In February of 2007 my ottoman’s form started to shift in the top,” wrote Lua of Michigan.

“I called La-Z-Boy; they said it was just wear and tear and that I needed to shift my ottoman at least once a week in order for it to keep its shape. I have been shifting my ottoman every week and to no avail; it looks worse,” she wrote.

Based on reader’s comments, it appears that La-Z-Boy may have to retrain some of its repair people, as well as tweak some of its items so repair people aren’t needed in the first place.

If it’s going to drag poor Brooke Shields into its advertising fray, the least thing they can do is not make her look bad.

We reached out to La-Z-Boy for a response, and we're waiting for the company’s response.

Story provided by ConsumerAffairs.
Consumer Affairs

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