Howard helps when warranty doesn’t

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NEW YORK -- Maxine Breeden, of the Bronx, loved the new furniture she purchased early this year from Ashley Furniture in New Rochelle. She was glad to have a “worry free” warranty for which she paid an extra $700.

About three weeks after the furniture was delivered, she noticed the upper shelf was buckling. Then she saw a door was misaligned. But weeks of calls to the local store and Ashley Furniture's corporate headquarters led only to frustration.

"I took off from work. I sat around. No one came,” she said.

More repair dates, more cancellations, more excuses.

This was one of them she relayed to us:

"I'm sorry Ms. Breeden but we're not gonna be able to call me out. It's raining."

"Excuse me? I go to work in the rain. I need his unit repaired."

"Well, I'm sorry we can't come out in the rain."

Click. Hung up.

At one point they even sent her a new door but told her to put it on herself. Finally, Breeden had enough. She sued.

"Went to court with the door underneath my arm," she said.

Breeden won a judgment of more than $3,000 for the unit and all the time she wasted dealing with the problem. But she said no one ever responded to her letters seeking payment. So, she emailed us.

When we got involved and paid a visit, our photographer John discovered the problem. A piece of the wall unit shelf bracing was apparently put in improperly. So, a screw wouldn’t fit. Instead of being screwed on, it was held together by a string.

Then we called Ashley’s corporate headquarters and the franchisee of the New Rochelle store, who also owns a bunch of others in the area. For a while we heard nothing back. Then the corporate spokesman apologized and we also heard from the assistant to the franchisee who got things moving quickly.

Breeden received a check for the judgment and was offered another deal.

Instead of taking back the defective wall unit, Ashley’s would let Breeden have it for $500 and make sure it got repaired. She likes the wall unit so much she accepted, but she’s still waiting for the repair.

We’ll see what happens but we’re glad Ashley decided to do right by its customer.

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