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Furniture buyers frustrated by long delays

COVID pandemic slows furniture supply lines
Look out Ikea, Slim Furniture is here
Posted at 9:01 PM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-06 10:09:18-05

CINCINNATI — Are you thinking of buying some new furniture for your home?

The COVID pandemic has caused a nationwide kitchen appliance shortage, as we've reported before, but it turns out the furniture shortage may be even worse.

Melissa Taylor showed us via Zoom her couch that was damaged by a water leak last July in her Anderson Township, Ohio, home.

"We woke up one morning to a flood in our family room, and the water fell from the ceiling onto our couch," she said.

So Taylor and her husband rushed out to a local furniture store, Morris Home in Springdale, Ohio, and ordered a new one.

But her six- to eight-week wait has turned into a six-month wait.

"I don't have the couch yet," she said. "It has been the biggest nightmare."

When she finally reached someone at the store, she got some bad news.

"They haven't started production on my couch, so here I am just waiting," Taylor said.

Many brands, many retailers.... even IKEA

It's happening to furniture buyers nationwide, and not just at one store.

Back in August, Cindy Roetker of Norwood told us she'd been waiting four months for a vanity from IKEA. Her bathroom was torn up, awaiting the new piece.

"I'm at my wit's end and I'm starting to panic because I need a bathroom vanity," she said. (Shortly after we aired our report, we are happy to say IKEA rushed her a new vanity).

Sean O'Brien is chief marketing officer of Modloft, a contemporary-furniture brand.

He blames a combination of soaring demand during the pandemic, as homeowners redid their homes, combined with months-long delays getting fabric from places like India, China, and Vietnam.

"60 percent of our items are on back order currently," he said. "There are all sorts of places along the line where things can get backed up, and we have to be very good with communicating with the customer what is happening and when."

How to speed up delivery

So what can you do if you need that furniture tomorrow?

If you are shopping at a major furniture store:

  • Ask what product the store has in their local warehouse.
  • Consider the floor model if allowed.
  • Be flexible as to style and color, and go with a unit that is readily available.
  • If ordering online from a store like Wayfair, look closely at expected delivery dates.

The New York Times says the most important thing is to be patient.

If you don't know what to expect, you could end up like Melissa Taylor.

"I never imagined I would still be waiting on my couch in January," she said.

A Morris Home vice president apologized for Taylor's delay, and told us they will give her the option of a full refund, with no restocking fee. Or he says she can wait about three more weeks, and they will expedite her couch to her.

The bottom line: If you need to place a special order for a piece of furniture, just know it could take a few months, so you don't get overly frustrated and you don't waste your money.

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Don't Waste Your Money

8:47 PM, Oct 17, 2018

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