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We have never had to buy a sofa until this year, as we have previously had different ones passed to us from various relatives who were replacing their own suite. We have been desperate for a new one for ages, but were put off because our cat had a bad rear leg, and when he jumped up onto the sofa, he would sometimes fall back off and end up catching the leather with his claws. The settee was just scratched to death, and the cushions were so poorly padded.
In January we sadly had to have the cat put down, so we immediately decided it would be a good time to get ourselves a new sofa. Because we have young children, I decided that I would cut down on some shop time by looking up what sofa styles we liked online, so that we could go and look at a narrowed selection of actual models in store.
Prices between the different stores were kind of similar between csl and dfs, and more expensive at places like Harveys, so we decided as my favourite sofa was at csl we would start there. It was a good decision, as we found that all the models we had seen on the website were available to try in store.
We went to the Rotherham Parkgate branch on a Saturday morning in January. As we walked in, we were barely in the door before one of the salesmen left the gaggle to introduce himself to us, and then see if we wanted assistance. We declined at that point, and he offered to get us a hot drink, which we also declined.
Personally, when I am shopping I do prefer to have a bit of space to do a bit of browsing. It was very clear that the salesperson was assigned a target as you walked in the door, and although he kept a kind of respectable distance, we did feel a bit like we were being followed round the store.
The store was based over a couple of levels. The sofa I liked was one of the first on display. We tried it out and liked it, but my husband insisted we try walking round the store and try out other models on display and see what we thought. We were followed around upstairs too by the same guy, which is a bit funny, as they don't seem to have a lot of trust that someone might pinch their client.
When we went back downstairs we went back to our sofa of choice, and sat on it again and started looking through the fabric swatches in a book to make a choice. Once we had picked, we then started to negotiate our purchase with our salesperson.
We found this bit a little difficult as he was armed with some sort of tablet computer which was a bit slow to load up, and the kids were starting to get a bit hyper. He suggested we went round the back to the office where the children could sit and watch a DVD while we went through the paperwork. The kids were absolutely delighted with this option and we were equally happy to be able to sort our order.
One very appealing feature of buying from csl is that we were offered 0% finance over 4 years. Basically, we would pay over 41 months, but by the time the sofa was going to be delivered to us, we would be looking at 4 years. We had to go over background information for a credit check, and we were persuaded fairly easily to add on csl insurance for 5 years, and a leather sofa care kit which were added to the overall bill. As parents of young kids, and with another cat at home, we were easily persuaded we might need both things.
We were also taken through using the online service, and how to care for our leather sofa once it arrived to keep it in optimum condition. This would be by using the leather care kit once per 6 months, and once a week plumping the cushions into shape and wiping over with a damp cloth.
Order time was probably the most disappointing aspect of the service. We were told that it would be about 12 weeks. We placed our order on the 8th of January, and our sofa was actually delivered to our house on the 27th of April. We could have opted for the same sofa in the white leather it was displayed in, and that would have been with us within 72 hours, but for most people that colour would not be practical.
The website to be honest was very poor. We were told we would be able to log on and arrange delivery and see what time delivery would take place. In actual fact, we could not even manage to log on and had to ring the call centre to do this. The lady there was helpful and reset the details for us, but it was pretty pointless, as the day before delivery it said that it would come tomorrow, and then from the morning of delivery it said your sofa has been delivered. There was no indication of a time, so it was pretty difficult to organise my day.
Luckily, as a back up, you could text them for about 50p to get them to tell you whether it would be morning or afternoon. This narrowed it down a little.
The delivery itself was really good. We had moved our old sofa out but left me with one chair to sit on until our afternoon delivery. The guys came and they firstly assessed the best way to get my large corner suite into the property. Once that was decided, they worked out the best order. They brought in one piece at a time. Each piece was wrapped with plastic and polystyrene pieces, and then also had a padded fabric bag around it.
The men were quick to put the feet on the sofa, get the parts all clipped together, and then remove all of the rubbish from my house. While one guy took away the rubbish, the other let me check the sofa to make sure it was ok, before I signed the paperwork. They even offered to carry my old arm chair out for me.
The sofa itself is made from a lovely soft leather and is just like the one we sat on in the shop. My parents do own much better quality leather sofas in terms of overall build, but they have had them specially made in this country and paid more for them, so I feel the value per cost is ok here.
I haven't yet had call to ring the insurance, although my cat has scratched it. I am just waiting to see if it scratchs it elsewhere before I do. I am a little wary though, as my neighbour told me that there sofa was also covered by this policy, and something got spilled on her sofa and she was fobbed off about them coming to visit. As this is only anecdotal and not my personal experience, I do wonder if we would have the same experience. I guess there are terms and conditions under any policy, and I think you would probably find as with most policies you have to be persistent to get what you want.
Overall we are very pleased with the product. However, the length of time to actually get it was a little offputting. It didn't seem that long at first, but actually it was. I imagine they are waiting till there are enough orders to fill a container and ship them from somewhere like China, so you could order and find your wait a lot shorter. As we were made aware of time scale though, we can't really whinge too much.
Well done you on the hands up, I was starting to get a little confused! Your experience was a lot better than ours with DFS, who sold us an Italian leather suite......which turned up three months late - from Taiwan! R. xxx