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Sofa so good! A company that’s learned when to bend its own rules

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
Jun 22, 2015

Credit where it’s due.

We were pretty critical of the London furniture retailer, Loaf in a previous blog.

Now, we must admit, they’ve finally used their…loaf!

The way they treated journalist Lee Clayton who bought a £1,845 sofa from them was absolutely according to the book. 

They did nothing wrong.

Except they did everything wrong in terms of building a good relationship with a customer who goes away smiling.

Lee, from West London, let several weeks go by before complaining that the luxury sofa was not for him – it left him with a seriously bad back and he just couldn’t get on with it. It just took him a while to realise.

In a nutshell, for Lee, the sofa was a total waste of money.

But his complaint wasn’t within the 14-day time limit to return the sofa and get his money back, said Loaf.

Come on, said Lee. Be reasonable. It’s an expensive item, when I came to try it for any length of time, it made me ill. I’ve even had to see my doctor.

Nope, said Loaf. You can’t have your money back.

Result – deadlock and one very unhappy customer. 

A customer that these days has many, many options to spread his displeasure to other potential customers.

Lee brought his complaint to A Spokesman Said.

We thought it was a classic case of applying the rulebook too rigidly, and we said so.

And it’s taken a while – around a month, actually – but, finally, the company has seen the light and agreed.  

They’ve realised that customers understand that things go wrong. But those same customers judge a company on how it responds.  

They know there have to be rules, but they also expect there to be discretion and fairness.  

It’s a simple but powerful lesson for any business.

Loaf have now refunded Lee’s money and take their sofa back.

And Lee is delighted.

"I'm seriously impressed,” he said. 

“I had pretty much given up on getting my problem sorted. 

“A Spokesman Said is a terrific way to bring business and customers together to find solutions.”

Pleasure to help, Lee.

If you have a complaint against a business, and you want action, let’s hear about it.


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