I finally took a few digital pics of the remnants of my office chair at work, you know the one that broke and sent me flying backwards a few weeks ago.
Let me give you the rest of the scoop. I called Office Depot about the chair after it happened and the manager I spoke to transferred me to their furniture executive. He checked the item number in their stock and told me there was nothing they could do because 1) they no longer carry it and 2) since I purchased it over a year ago and had no extended warranty. I said "who buys an extended warranty on a $119 chair?" (I mean really, WHO?) And besides I reminded him that warranty or no, even a fourteen month old office chair sold at a reputable office supply store should be reliable enough that it won't just break apart in fourteen months.
He went on to explain that it was over a year since I purchased it and even the manufacturer warranty had expired. Actually it had been nearly fourteen months and because I believe this was a serious manufacturing defect, not just the fabric tearing or a wheel falling off, I was adamant that something should be done. I asked him if Office Depot backs their purchases and he said yes, within the warranty period. After a dozen "I'm sorry but it's out of our hands" I finally asked him for the manufacturer's information. I did notice the manufacturer info he gave me and what was on the bottom of the chair were two different things. I told the Office Depot furniture exec that and he said "oh the name on the bottom of the chair is probably one of our distribution subsidiaries".
I contacted the manufacturer he gave me, not only was the phone number in VIRGINIA and NOT in California where the company was supposed to be, but the number wasn't even for the manufacturer it was for a company that had nothing to do with making furniture. I looked up the manufacturer's number online and when I called them they were nothing but nice and the young lady I talked to asked me for the info on the bottom of the chair. When I told her that their company name and info was not there, she said "we are not the manufacturer, I'm sorry". She was really nice and I appreciated her time.
In checking out the info on the company on the bottom of the chair, it was Swinton Avenue Trading in Boca Raton, FL. No phone number listed and a PO Box address. I could find NOTHING on the internet. When I checked the Florida occupational license database online and it shows the company with a similar name in South Florida did exist but not anymore.
So...WHO is the manufacturer? Well your guess is as good as mine. The furniture guy at OD INSISTS that he gave me the correct information, the manufacturer insists they are not the manufacturer.
When I called Office Depot yesterday and explained all this to the furniture exec, he kept telling me I should have purchased the extended warranty and there was nothing he could do. By that time, I'd had enough talk, now I wanted action and the only way I was going to get it is if I took matters a bit further. I politely thanked him and hung up and decided who I would contact.
I wrote the CEO of Office Depot, his name is Steve Odland and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org (at least it's what I managed to uncover in my research) and I wrote him what I thought was a well-thought out superbly written email (including pictures of my chair) about the entire situation up to yesterday's final phone call with the local Office Depot store.
Look, all I want is a store credit for $119.99 which is what I paid for the chair so I can put it towards a new and better chair. That's it. I told Mr. Odland that if I had been the manager at Office Depot and a customer approached me in this very situation with these exact details, I would have insisted he/she bring the chair in and I would have issued a credit for that amount. I mentioned that Office Depot would hardly lose a profit because of that credit, but in fact they would have kept a longtime customer, which I believe is extremely important to the life of a business. Not only do repeat customers continue to shop there, but they tell other people they should shop there too. Word of mouth can make or break a company.
This is not the first time a company has tried to screw me over and it isn't the first time I've contacted the CEO and complained (surprisingly they usually respond and rather apologetically I might add). I am sure I will hear from Mr. Odland and if I don't in a few days I will send another email, and then another, and if I have to write him a letter and mail it I will do that too. Sure he has a ton of other more important things going on like board meetings and major decisions regarding the company BUT...I've got to think that it's because he has better things to do than deal with something as "petty" as this, that may motivate him to ask someone to intervene on my behalf. When a customer takes the time to write the CEO and complain, it's serious. It means that somewhere along the line, someone isn't doing their job. And most CEO's do not like that, it costs the company money.
And so we'll see what happens! In the meantime here are some pics!
This is the part of the chair yours truly USED to sit in till it broke. It was a rather comfy chair with a nice back cushion, that's why I bought it. I needed a good back support!
This is the shaft that connects to the metal plate on the bottom of the chair. The base of the top piece you see here that is all lit up is the piece welded to the chair. It is just jagged metal edges when you see it closeup.
This photo is of the plate on the bottom of the chair which the pole is supposed to be welded to. As you can see it is not. It is essentially sheared right off.
So, what do ya think?