Rooms To Go and its North Carolina subsidiaries are being sued over a protection plan the company offers for its furniture.
The lawsuit, which is seeking class action status, claims that the spray fabric protector that customers pay extra for is either not applied or poorly applied. Kenny Triplett of Cumberland County is the lead plaintiff in the multimillion-dollar lawsuit.
As of Monday, Rooms To Go had not responded to the suit.
According to the lawsuit, Triplett bought a new recliner in November 2015 from the Rooms To Go Dunn location, the new 1.45 million-square-foot, $40 million outlet and distribution center.
When Triplett bought his recliner, he also purchased what Rooms To Go calls a “ForceField Protection Plan” that is supposed to repel stains.
ForceField contracts are for a three-year limited warranty and promise that furniture will be “professionally treated before delivery to resist all food and beverage spills that occur in most households.” If the furniture is stained, the company offers to clean it, re-treat with the protectant, reupholster stained areas or provide replacement furniture, the lawsuit said.
“In 2016, Mr. Triplett tested his recliner by dripping water on the furniture,” according to the lawsuit. “The water did not bead up, but rather was readily absorbed... Subsequent testing on Mr. Triplett’s recliner showed no evidence that a fabric protectant had been applied.”
National plaintiffs firm Cohen Milstein, which opened an office in Raleigh earlier this year, is representing the North Carolina customers involved in the suit. The class action would apply to “all residents of North Carolina who purchased ForceField Fabric or Leather Protection Plans from Defendants from December 1, 2012, to December 1, 2016.” The lawsuit seeks “damages that exceed $5 million, exclusive of interest and costs.”
“Because of defendant’s deceptive conduct and failure to honor their contractual obligations, plaintiff and putative class members spent millions on ForceField Protection Plans that had little value,” the lawsuit reads.
Rooms To Go sales employees are pushed to sell ForceField Protection Plans, the suit alleges, going so far as to refuse to sell furniture to customers who don’t want to purchase the protection plans which usually cost about 10 percent of the total furniture price. The suit claims that sales staff “misrepresents or omits” information about the protection plans and has added the plans to customer bills without notifying them.
The suit also alleges that ForceField costs about $15 per bottle, often cheaper than the 10 percent of total furniture cost Rooms To Go charges for the protection.
The lawsuit cites complaints about the protection plans from customers in other states, including Florida, where the company has its corporate offices.
Rooms To Go did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett