The Furniture Ombudsman’s pool of retail members grew by 13.5% in 2015, according to the latest figures. The Furniture Ombudsman managed a total of 3968 disputes in 2015.
Some of the product categories disputes were filed under include upholstery (56%), cabinetry and beds (21%), and kitchens (products and installations) (16%).
The scheme’s other division, Dispute Resolution Ombudsman, managed disputes for non-furniture related goods and services including clothing, electricals and jewellery.
Furniture items were in the home of consumers for on average of 329 days before a dispute was filed. This figure was calculated using data from 2014 and 2015.
97.8% of cases were resolved or closed as a result of the conciliation process. In 2.2% of the cases the Ombudsman team had to make a decision.
Out of the 2.2%:
- 43% of cases were found in favour of the consumer and an award was made
- 30% were found in favour of the trader
- 27% were split decisions. In these cases some of the consumer’s claims were upheld and some were not
Even the most complex cases took on average 77 days to complete.
The Furniture Ombudsman’s pool of members extends to over 8000 stores across the UK.
Kevin Grix, CEO and chief ombudsman of The Furniture Ombudsman, says: “Our Annual Review presents a good opportunity to thank and praise our members, who voluntarily join our scheme and trust us with their most priced asset – their customers. Although we saw an increase in furniture complaints in 2015, the number of retailers that joined our scheme went up as well. We also rolled out more accredited training in 2015 than the previous year, so we are confident that we are supporting our members to raise standards and better serve consumers.”