A preliminary settlement has been reached in a class-action lawsuit filed against Kane’s Furniture that accused the store of failing to honor lifetime warranties for defective “bonded leather” furniture that peeled, flaked and deteriorated.
Notices to about 15,000 customers who purchased the furniture were put in the mail starting Friday providing details and asking them to submit claims by April 11 for full or partial refunds or store credits, according to court records.
Kane’s admits no wrongdoing in the settlement. It has blamed the Mississippi manufacturer that sold the furniture to Kane’s for defects and the inconvenience caused to customers. Kane’s actually filed a suit against that manufacturer in a case that was later settled.
A Kane’s spokeswoman said they are happy to settle the suit and would have never purchased the product if they had known it was inferior or defective.
Anyone who complained to Kane’s about problems with the furniture within a year of purchase is eligible for a 100 percent refund of the purchase price or a store credit, documents show. Anyone who complained after a year — but no later than two years — is eligible for a 50 percent refund or a credit valued at 100 percent of the purchase price.
Additionally, Kane’s has agreed to pay up to $2.5 million to those customers who did not complain within two years and others who never complained, ranging from 5 percent to 100 percent of the purchase price, depending on when the furniture was purchased, the claims notice says. That will be paid out in the form of a 60 percent store credit and a 40 percent cash payout.
Any payment made to Kane’s for furniture repair counts toward the refund or credit, the settlement says. Customers who have already received an exchange, credit or refund are not eligible for additional payments or credits.
The settlement involves furniture sold from July 27, 2010, through Dec. 5, 2016. At issue was furniture manufactured by Southern Motion Inc. using bonded leather, a synthetic, processed leather like substance that contains less than 17 percent actual leather.
When a product does not live up to its promise or it causes injury due to a bad design or manufacturing defect, the manufacturer is responsible. Manufacturers have a duty to design their products and test them to industry standards. If they know of any hidden or potential dangers, they must warn consumers. They must also stand behind their product, so if they know of a design flaw, they must make sure consumers are aware. In most defective products cases, large numbers of consumers experience similar issues due to the same design flaw.