Warranty woes: Customers say claims were unfairly denied by protection plan company

ByChad Pradelli and Cheryl Mettendorf WPVI logo
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
Warranty woes: Customers say claims were unfairly denied
An Action News investigation has uncovered hundreds of complaints about a furniture warranty company.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- An Action News investigation has uncovered hundreds of complaints about a furniture warranty company.

The warranties through Montage Furniture Services are sold across the country by retailers big and small.

Sonia Burris was one of the customers who purchased a warranty after she saw a $600 table and chair set at Boss Furniture on 24th Street and Allegheny Avenue in 2018.

"I paid $249 for the insurance," she said.

She said the salesman urged her to get a 5-year warranty.

"I would want it if anything happened to it. I could get repaired or replaced," Burris said.

She said a table leg cracked, and the tabletop veneer began to peel and chip.

Her warranty paperwork states the company will repair or replace at the company's discretion a host of damages including: "lifting or incident specific chipping of veneers or laminates exposing substrate."

So she said she called Montage in April. In July, she said a Montage technician came out.

"And he told me that it was not repairable," Burris said.

She said after four months of back and forth, Montage told her it wouldn't replace the table but would fix the broken leg as a courtesy. But once Action News began asking questions, the company changed course and agreed to refund her for the set and warranty as a courtesy even though it was not required by the contract.

"I knew I couldn't have been the only person that they've done this to," she said.

The Action News Investigative Team uncovered 583 complaints against Montage with the Better Business Bureau over the last three years. Most are for non-coverage.

That said, the BBB gives them a "B" rating. It's unclear which complaints are legitimate and which aren't.

We also conducted an open records request and uncovered The Federal Trade Commission has received nearly 1,500 complaints against Montage over five years ending in late October.

"I'm like, 'what do you mean you're just denying my claim?'" said Jason Gibson. "And she said, 'well so we can deny anything we deem necessary.'"

Gibson is another customer who said he was improperly denied coverage. He claims it was for a specific incident of pet damage from his cat which the warranty said is covered.

"They wanted to try to refund me for the policy," he said. "My couches are damaged. I want my couches fixed."

Montage told Action News it did offer to replace Jason's couch but he'd have to pick it up 12 hours away. In the end, the company refunded Gibson $900 despite the company determining the pet damage didn't appear to be one incident but rather several incidents.

A lawyer for Montage released a statement that reads in part:

The BBB complaints comprise roughly one-quarter of one percent (or 1 in 400) of the claims we've processed the last three years. A large number of these claims are attributable to post-COVID delays in getting parts and products shipped from overseas. Nevertheless, we strive to get it right on every claim. As the BBB reports, when we are made aware of a dissatisfied customer we respond 100% of the time.

Montage also told Action News it has received no communication from the Federal Trade Commission with regard to the roughly 1,500 complaints.