Tennille Williams is a long-time customer of The RoomPlace furniture store. When the single mother of two needed a new living room set, she had no qualms about heading to her “go-to” store.
“I took the kids shopping, so they were in the store reclining, you know, just relaxing and like, ‘Yes, mom, this is it,’” Williams recalled. “I fell in love with it.”
Williams paid about $3,700 for a bonded leather three-piece sofa, love seat and chair, including a five-year warranty in 2012.
“I’m expecting to have this for the next 10-plus years,” Williams said. “It was an investment so I’m OK with the price.”
Fast-forward three years, when Williams said she noticed something unusual while cleaning.
"I thought it was something stuck on the couch, so as I tried to clean it off, I realized it was kind of peeling," Williams said.
The Chicago mom said the peeling quickly spread, but because she bought a warranty, Williams said she wasn’t worried.
"It was only a 5-year warranty plan but I needed something, and that gave me peace of mind. [Or] so I thought,” Williams said.
She called Guardian Protection Products, the warranty provider for The RoomPlace and sent in pictures of the peeling furniture. She was stunned when her claim was denied two days later.
The provider said it wouldn’t cover the purchase because it looked like the damage was more than 30 days old.
“And you have to report any damages or accidents within 30 days or the claim is void," Williams said she was told.
Though she was still well within the five-year warranty, Williams said she had no idea the onus was on her to report it within a month.
"I was so frustrated and I said OK,” Williams said. “I agreed to that loss. OK, I didn't read. I didn't do my homework."
Soon after, when she noticed cracks on the loveseat, Williams said she wasted no time calling the warranty company.
"And once again I was told, well, since you couldn't tell if it was an accident then we are not going to cover it,” Williams said.
This time, William said Guardian Protection denied her claim because she didn’t use the word “accident” to describe the cracks, which is the language used in the warranty.
"How can I say if I don't know what happened?” Williams said. “It had to be an accident because I wouldn't intentionally puncture or crack."
That’s when she turned to NBC 5 Responds for help.
"I was so excited because someone was finally listening to me," Williams said.
After our call, Tennille Williams says she got store credit for a new set of furniture, which she has already picked out.
In a statement, The RoomPlace told NBC 5 Responds:
“As a 103 year old family-owned company, we pride ourselves on excellent customer service while providing quality furniture and unbeatable value on all of our products. We appreciate NBC bringing this to our attention and have worked with the third party provider of service, advocating on behalf of our customer, for a quick, favorable and complete resolution to this matter. The RoomPlace is proud of our A+ Better Business Bureau rating and stands committed to exceptional customer service for all of our loyal customers.”
The warranty company, Guardian Protection, declined to comment for this report.