Make your best purchasing decision by asking your retail sales associate about available payment options.
Delivery Do’s and Don’t’s
- DO re-measure doorways and stairwells before placing your order to be sure the piece will fit into the room.
- DON’T expect the delivery crew to remove your old furnishings.
- DO consider donating your old furniture to a furniture bank, Habitat for Humanity or another charitable organization.
- DON’T leave pets loose in the house on delivery day.
- DO clear a path into the room, removing fragile items from hallways.
- DON’T make the mistake of removing your old furniture before you’ve confirmed when your new furniture will be delivered!
Ready to Make a Purchase?
Finalizing the deal is as easy as A-B-C-D-E-F-G.
- by Deanna L. Thompson
Once you’ve found the perfect furniture for your home, it’s time to focus on details—from payment plans to warranties to delivery. Work your way down this short “to-do” list to bring your purchase home.
A- Ask about Payment Options
Most stores accept cash, checks or credit cards, but many also offer in-store financing options, often with 90-days-same-as-cash plans. If you want more time to pay, ask if the store offers a longer-term, no-down-payment, no-interest, no-payments plan. But if you accept a “no-no-no” plan, be sure to read and follow the requirements in the fine print. These popular plans often include stiff penalties if you default. Miss your final payment deadline, and you could owe “hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a large purchase,” says Scott Wantman, manager of Jordan’s Furniture in Reading, Mass..
B- Be Aware that Special Orders Carry Special Requirements
If you order a custom item rather than buying an in-stock piece, most stores require a down payment, ranging from 25 percent to the full purchase price. Any balance is due before delivery.
Some stores will allow you to finance your special order, including the down payment. Whether you finance or pay cash, keep in mind: Your down payment on a special-order item is typically not refundable.
C- Collect Information on Manufacturer And Retailer Warranties
Look for warranty information on “fact tags” attached to the furniture, on store signage, in sales documents and on the store’s website. Or ask your sales associate.
Most stores will offer their own warranty in addition to the manufacturer’s warranty. For example, Michigan interior designer Zeina Halwani notes that the store where she works (Gorman’s Furniture) offers one year protection on all purchases. “Anything that happens during that time, we will take care of,” she says. “After that, the manufacturer’s warranty applies.”
The manufacturer’s warranty is usually a combination of individual warranties, notes Rick Howard, owner of a Florida store specializing in contemporary furnishings (Sklar Furnishings). For example, a sofa manufacturer might offer a lifetime warranty on the frame, five years on the cushion foam and the substructure, and one year on the fabric.
D- Determine How Service Is Handled
Ask what happens if you have a problem. Does the store offer warranty work through its own service department? Does it out-source service to another company? Or do you have to contact the manufacturer if you have a problem? For example, if the store does not handle its own service, you may end up having to ship an item to a distant manufacturer, which may be expensive, notes Tacoma, Wash., furniture sales consultant Doug Moss of Harkness Furniture.
Be sure to ask the store about its return policy. And take note: Special orders are usually not returnable.
If your retailer is a Certified HomeFurnishings.com Retailer, you can be assured that the store has written consumer rights and guarantee policies and a dispute resolution vehicle.
E- Educate Yourself on Delivery Options
Most stores will deliver your new furniture for a fee. Many charge a set price, no matter how many pieces they’re delivering.
Can you pick it up yourself instead? Usually. But keep in mind that delivery typically includes professional assembly, if necessary, and an inspection to ascertain that the parts are working properly. Also, if the crew damages a piece during delivery, the store is responsible for fixing it.
“If customers pick it up themselves and something happens, they are responsible,” notes Halwani.
F- Finalize Your Furniture Delivery Time
If you purchased an in-stock item, you’ll be sitting pretty on your new sofa or chair —with delivery usually provided within one day to two weeks.
If you special-ordered your furniture, sit back and relax for anywhere from several weeks to many months. A sofa or chair made in the U.S. might take up to eight weeks to arrive, while bedrooms or dining rooms ordered from overseas can take up to four months, says Marc Oleskowitz, a furniture sales associate at Wolf Furniture in Lancaster, Pa. Special orders from Italy can take up to 16 months, Halwani notes.
Yes, custom orders do require patience, but they also provide a special opportunity for “creative expression of your own personal style, like the clothes you wear or the car you drive,” says Larry Klaben, president of Morris Furniture Company, an Ohio furniture company with 13 stores.
When your furniture is ready for delivery, most stores will schedule it for arrival at your home during a three- or four-hour window on a particular day. Can’t sit at home and wait? Many stores will call customers shortly before delivery so they can zoom home in time.
G- Get Ready to Enjoy Your New Home Furnishings
Crossed off all the questions on your “to-do” list? All that’s left is to sit back and wait for your new furniture to arrive.