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No free fix for the stuffing on a 4-year-old chair

Q: Our La-Z-Boy leather rocker/recliner, which we purchased in 2003 from La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries in Amherst, continues to have a recurring problem involving the stuffing in the left arm of the chair.

We've already had it fixed free of charge once, while it was under the one-year manufacturer's warranty. But the problem is now happening again a second time, and the company won't do anything about it. I've called and written to the company to no avail.

It will cost us $110 to have a service technician come out and fix the same problem that keeps happening. We'll have to end up getting it fixed because it will ruin the leather. We paid $699, plus tax, for the chair. I know things aren't made like they used to be, but to not even get 10 years out of a product is ridiculous.

-- Joan L. Parks, Middleport.

A: This is a classic case of the manufacturer not wavering on its standard, one-year warranty policy.

"It's a 4-year-old chair, so I don't know," said Kathy Liebmann, La-Z-Boy's director of investor relations and corporate communications. "I'll have to speak with customer service."

That was a few days ago, and the story didn't change much from there.

When we didn't hear back right away, we contacted La-Z-Boy again, and Liebmann called us back to say that fixing your recurring problem for free would not happen.

"Now, the unit is over four years old. I'm sorry, it's a no-go," Liebmann said. "Customer service told me it was outside the warranty."

We knew that, but thought we'd try on your behalf since the same problem kept recurring despite an earlier repair for the same issue.

Liebmann insisted that La-Z-Boy has a "very generous" warranty policy that covers labor costs and fabric and leather-related repairs. The company's lifetime warranty to the original owner solely addresses mechanism problems.

A review of La-Z-Boy's records on your chair showed that you filed a complaint with La-Z-Boy in November 2005 regarding the padding in the left arm of the chair. "We denied her claim because she wasn't within the one-year warranty period. And now, she's complaining again," Liebmann said.

She questioned how the chair is being used, noting that the problem seems a bit unusual. "You wonder how they're using it," Liebmann said.

You, however, insisted your children and dog don't sit on the arm of the chair.

Nevertheless, La-Z-Boy is within its rights in terms of its warranty coverage, so it looks like you'll have to foot the repair bill to have the chair fixed.

Have a consumer problem? Send a letter summarizing your problem to News Power, The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y., 14240. Attention: Karen Robinson. Please include a phone number. Or e-mail: newspower@buffnews.com

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