Friday, May 21, 2010

Does Leather flake?

Hmmmm... We thought only PVC / fake leather would peel and literarily flake off but this is supposed to be leather sold by a very reputable company in Malaysia. This company is not a company that sells super cheap low quality products or a company that is here today and gone tomorrow. So, we are surprised at the quality of their leather sofa and even more surprised (and annoyed) to find out the solution they have offered to us.

Why are we annoyed?
A little background first:
We have some relatives who have bought leather sofas from this company and did not hear anything bad about the quality. We've sat on the sofa and liked the comfort as well.
So, we got our first leather sofa (a 2-seater and a 3-seater) from this company.

After less than a year of using a sofa, the 3-seater started showing cracks and flaking.
At this point, we were just surprised and contacted the company to get it fixed. We found out that the company bought this leather from China and there were also other customers who had this problem. What we heard was that they could not identify the BAD pieces of leather just by looking at it and therefore, it is only when customers use it, then the problem will arise. We were assured that our sofa would be fixed with a new shipment of leather. All went smoothly and soon it was fixed.

Then... about 6 months after that, we saw more flaking.
On the 3-seater on the area that was fixed just 6 months earlier AND
on the 2-seater.

We were just shocked at this stage as we did not realise real leather could flake so much!
(the sofas our relatives had were a couple of years old and it only had creases in them which is the normal aging of the leather)
We approached the company again and they offered to re-upholster both sofas with the same leather at no charge except for transportation costs.
We asked them to re-upholster in a different leather - the normal "smooth" leather instead of the "rough" leather that seems to be having repeated problems.
They told us that it would cost us RMxxxx as it was a more expensive leather.

After much thought, we felt that it was not our responsibility to bear the additional cost as all we wanted was a leather sofa that has a reasonable quality. If the company did not have a decent quality leather of the same cost to offer to us, they should therefore bear the cost of the more expensive leather.

This time we had to write to the Managing Director as his managers did not have the authority to approve this.

The reply we got, via his manager was that they would subsidise half the cost only which would bring the final amount to RMxxx. Then, the manager said that if we were not happy, we should go take our case to the Consumer Tribunal. That really ticked us off as the company seems to think that we were making an unfair request. We told the manager it was not acceptable and to talk to the MD again.

Needless to say, they did not get back to us. We had to call them back and the response was the same.

As a matter of principal, we do not believe that we have to pay more as we are not asking for a SUPERIOR QUALITY leather. All we want is a GOOD QUALITY leather which unfortunately we did not get. Our view is that the rough leather is BAD QUALITY leather because the repaired part flaked again.

So, we asked the company if they are confident that their current stock of rough leather is not BAD QUALITY. If so, then we agree for them to re-upholster in the rough leather. But if the leather flakes again (for the 3rd time), would they then agree to fix it with the smooth leather without charging us extra for it?

Again, talking through the manager and not direct to the MD, the reply was that if the leather flakes for the 3rd time then they will repair again using the rough leather and if that flakes again (4th time) then repair again and so on... (Using the same rough leather would not have any charges but I guess the manager failed to understand that if the sofa has to be repaired so many times, there is clearly something wrong with the leather quality)


I only wonder if these are the words from the MD's mouth or if the manager is just using the boss's name when offering this solution to repeated fix the sofa with BAD QUALITY leather.

They must know that this rough leather is BAD QUALITY since their showrooms no longer sell any sofas using this leather.

I actually had a funny thought... perhaps they have so much leftover supply of this BAD QUALITY leather that they are trying to get rid of it this way!

The subsidised amount they are asking us to pay is not thousands of ringgit so I am really shocked at this lack of customer service from a reputable company. They want to save a few hundred ringgit and in return make a customer very very dissatisfied.

This does not seem like the actions of an MD so I am wondering how much of what the manager says is coming from the MD himself and whether what we tell the manager is passed on to the MD in full or whether parts of the conversation gets lost or relayed incorrectly.

So, Mr MD, this is what we are experiencing and what your manager has told us.

What is your decision?

1. Agree to re-upholster our 2 sofas with the smooth leather at no extra charge.

2. Test one more time and fix our sofa for the 2nd time with the rough leather and if it flakes again, to then fix for the 3rd time with the smooth leather at no extra charge

3. Still tell us that you will charge RMxxx to re-upholster using the smooth leather.


  1. Hi, I had the same problem of leather sofa flacking. Attitude of the company is very similar to your problem. Thought we could built up a case against them if it happen to be of the same company.

    1. I am currently confronted by a similar issue. While the two boots are about 23 years old the inexpensive mexican boot did not crack and flake as did the FRYE boot. The have very little wear
      and were stored in the same closet. Hopefully FRYE will correct their use of bad leather or bonded leather.,