Consumer expert Amy Davis gets full refund for customer with flaky furniture

HOUSTON – Flaking, peeling, poor quality furniture is what is left in many consumers' homes after they spent thousands of dollars on what they thought would last them years. One man in Cypress asked Amy for help to get his hard-earned money back. The issue may sound familiar because the furniture was sold all over the United States, pitched as more durable than leather. But after customers brought it home, the furniture started falling apart piece by piece. 

"There's just loose pieces that just flake right off," Rocky Femia of Cypress showed consumer expert Amy Davis. 

Femia loved his loveseat and recliner when he purchased them from Ashley Home Store in 2012. 

"It looked beautiful actually when I first bought it," he said. It was about a year and a half later that he began to notice peeling and flaking. The problem became so bad that Femia stopped using the love seat and recliner he paid more than $1,800 for. 

"I haven't sat on that particular couch in probably 2 years," he told Davis.  

The problem is the covering, called Durablend. It is made mostly of polyurethane, some poly/cotton and just 17% leather.  Customers across the country have complained about the same peeling and flaking on their Durablend furniture, made by Ashley Furniture Industries in Wisconsin. But when Femia filed a claim with Ashley Home Store, an employee told him the manufacturer declined his claim because the furniture was made more than five years ago. 

"I told them I wasn't happy that they didn't inform me once they found out there was an issue with DuraBlend," said Femia. "Otherwise I would have come forward a long time before that."

"Ashley Furniture knew there was a problem, so why not tell your customers about it?" Davis asked Jeff Magner, vice president for Ashley HomeStore Houston.  

"It wasn't full-fledged. It wasn't across the board. We've sold a lot of very successful DuraBlend purchases to folks that lasted just exactly like they were supposed to last," he answered. 

Magner said when his locally owned stores started seeing issues with Durablend in 2014, they stopped selling it. As customers like Femia come forward, they look first to the manufacturer to make it right. 

"I bought the furniture from Ashley Furniture. I didn't buy it from the manufacturer," Femia said.
After we contacted them, Magner said they are giving Femia store credit for the full amount of his recliner and loveseat. 

"And we'll do the same thing to take care of each customer that might still have a problem on a case by case basis," he explained. 
Again, local Ashley HomeStores no longer sell Durablend, but Ashley Furniture Industries in Wisconsin still makes it. They sell it through other furniture stores too. If you have a problem with the product, contact the store where you bought it to file a claim and ask for a replacement or a refund.