The Brick: beware of blanket coverage warranty and bonded leather couch

First published on October 6, 2013

Several years ago I purchased my first couch: a bonded leather couch / sofa. It was from The Brick. The salesperson made such a convincing pitch that even though I swear off warranties, I also purchased the “Blanket 5 Year Furniture Plan” warranty — also called “blanket coverage”. It also came with something called “master surface coverage”. Today, I will no longer buy anything from The Brick, I’ve learned to be wary about “bonded leather”, and I believe that the warranty was completely mis-represented.

The salesperson had told me that if anything happened to the couch for any reason, including cracking and peeling, The Brick would repair the couch and usually they would just replace the couch. He then emphasized the point by saying that if someone sat down with scissors or a knife in their pocket and punctured the couch, it would be covered.

I didn’t expect anything to happen to the couch, nor did I use it for anything other than casual sitting and napping. Less than 2.5 years in, small cracks started to appear in the middle cushion. I figured that this was a good time to get The Brick to repair the cracks, so I called their customer service. They sent someone out to look at the couch. When he arrived, he first grumbled that they probably didn’t have the right colour to repair it with. Then he proceeded to suggest that I either had a pet who scraped up the couch or I had scratchy pants (neither of which is true). He left assuring me that he would report his findings to The Brick and they would call me back.

A month later nobody had called me back, so I called The Brick to ask about the status of my warranty claim. They said it was unclear why I hadn’t been called, but that they would investigate the notes on my file and call me back. A couple weeks later, they hadn’t called me back again, so I once again called them — this time they said that there was a note on the file to acknowledge the cracks but that my claim was denied and that there was no reason given. The customer service rep on the other line said she couldn’t find any explanation for it. She then assured me someone would call back. I foolishly let it slide when no one had called back, thinking that I could just live with the cracks.

By the time the couch was 4 years old, the cracks had really worsened. Small pieces were peeling off seemingly every day, and cracks were appearing at random places all the time (the arm rests, the back, the other cushions, etc.). The middle cushion was hideous:

Peeling bonded leather couch from The Brick

I figured I would try calling The Brick again. This time they argued that actually the warranty I purchased didn’t cover the material of my couch. The warranty covers leather but not bonded leather. Of course, I was very shocked and appalled at this — I argued my case given what the original salesperson had told me, and I insisted that I speak to a manager. I was offered a $100 gift card, proof via e-mail that my warranty didn’t cover my couch, and that the manager of the store would call me back. They never called me back. I declined the gift card (which was equal to the price of the warranty I purchased) because I didn’t intend to shop at The Brick anymore, nor did I wish to encourage anyone else to do so.

I have since learned that bonded leather is closer to plastic than leather, and the word “leather” is quite misleading. In this article from Ellen Roseman, a representative from The Brick suggests that their bonded leather couches aren’t even expected to last 5 years:

“I’m not aware of anyone in the industry that covers bonded leather. We said we’d cover it for new purchases, but I’m a little concerned about that because I’m not sure if it lasts for five years or not.”

Complaints against The Brick are very common, and a Google search will return many stories of bonded leather couches falling apart and The Brick not honouring their warranty. Some people have had better success with The Brick’s customer service, while others have successfully sued The Brick to get a refund on their couch or to get a new couch. For some reason I don’t feel like fighting this one any further — it’s been a frustrating learning experience.


2 Responses to “The Brick: beware of blanket coverage warranty and bonded leather couch”

  1. Tim says:

    I’ve also sworn off extended warranties, not so much because of the longevity of a product, but because the claim centres always find a way out of it. I read the fine print on a warranty on a mattress that said it only covers the failures of springs when there is a depression of more than three inches with no weight on the mattress. Multiple springs would actually have to be missing in order for there to be a depression of that magnitude. Staining would also nullify the warranty.

    At Visions, they try to tell you that if you don’t use the warranty, you’ll get it back as credit. However, the credit only applies to the regular price, not the sale price.

    The only warranties that are somewhat worth it are the manufacturer’s warranty…I’d rather pay more for a product with a better manufacturer warranty than purchase one through a store. Use a decent credit card, and get an extra year of warranty.

  2. Abigail says:

    Hello, it was funny how I came across this story, but it sounds just like mine except the bonded leather part. The repair guy showed up tried to sew it with a different colour yarn, and when I suggested replacing it I was told no, and the store told me the person who was supposed to call me back had left the company and that is why I may have not received a follow-up, but oops sorry your warranty has expired. Thank you for reminding me that my next couch will not be bought from the Brick.

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