This post updated on July 17, 2007; November 11, 2007; and November 12, 2007. See the updated sections at the bottom.
In June, my wife and I had a new deck built onto our house. The old one was only 10’x8′ and was rather well worn. The new one is 12’x20′ and we have really been enjoying it. It was built by Randy Graham and Storage Buildings of Thomasville–they did a fantastic job! I can highly recommend them if you are in the Triad area of North Carolina and are looking for someone to build a deck, porch, or storage building.
They finished building the deck on Saturday, June 26th. My wife and I had been looking at patio furniture for the previous couple months, hoping to find a set that we both liked and that would work well on our new deck. We settled on the Portachi 5-Piece Dining Set by Hampton Bay from Home Depot (see picture below).
Overall, I am well pleased with the quality of the product. When I unpacked the parts, they were very well packaged and wrapped. When I assembled the table, I noticed that the table rim was missing two welded on insert nuts–this meant that one of the legs wouldn’t connect to the table top. It’s not noticeable, and the table functions, but I know that it’s missing something and not as sturdy as it should be. For $400, I would like it to be right.
I called JRA Furniture Industries the following Friday . It took several calls before I actually got to talk to a Customer Service Representative, but I finally made it through. The connection would end after it kept me on hold for 10 minutes so I had to use some of the tricks at GetHuman.com. The operator connected me to a very nice lady named Elizabeth. I explained my problem and she said they could replace the part. I just needed to fax a copy of my receipt, a description of my problem, and my shipping information to her at 562-229-1728.
I started trying to send this fax on Friday–their fax number would pick up and then hang up. The fax finally connected and completed on Sunday, June 3rd. I ended up with nearly $11 in extra phone charges due to their fax machine dropping the calls though.
For the past two weeks, I’ve been trying to get through to them to check on the status of my request. Every time I call 1-800-211-8881, I get an automated message saying that there are between 15 and 25 people on hold and the longest one had been waiting 9+ minutes. At the 10 minute point, the call is disconnected. I can’t seem to get through to an operator either.
Today, I decided to see if they had an email address I could use. Their web site (www.JRAFurniture.com) had an address of firstname.lastname@example.org for Customer Service. I wrote out a detailed description of my history with the issue, attached the copy of my original fax as a PDF file, and sent the email. A few minutes later, I received a bounce notification that stated, “I was unable to deliver to custserv @jrafurniture.com because the user is over their quota.”
At this point, I was really concerned. I did some research online and it appears that JRA Furniture Industries, the company that makes this furniture, has filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy protection. Yes, I said Chapter 7–a total liquidation of assets. Apparently this is due to a class action law suit brought against them based on poor quality (i.e shatter-prone) glass table tops in some furniture they make for Martha Stewart (News article at Consumer Affairs.).
I was going to contact Hampton Bay, but apparently they are just a brand for The Home Depot and don’t have any direct contact information. I’ve sent an email to The Home Depot and so far I’ve only received an automated reply that didn’t offer me much hope either.
The furniture seems to be good quality and we are happy with it. My reason for posting this is to warn potential customers that if they purchase patio furniture made by JRA Furniture Industries, the warranty MAY be worthless. I’m still trying to determine if mine is or not, but it appears that we’re out of luck. Their furniture is sold under different names including Hampton Bay and Martha Stewart. If you are considering purchasing patio furniture at either The Home Depot, Kmart, Sam’s Club, or Sears, you may want to see if it was made by JRA Furniture Industries. You can see the various collections they make on the Retail Locator page of their web site. In case their site goes down, here is a link to that same page at the Internet Archive. I’m not telling you to boycott furniture made by JRA Furniture Industries. I am just relating the facts of my own experience and research in an effort to save others similar unexpected trouble.
If I get an update from The Home Depot that negates anything I have stated in this article, I will post an update here.
Update – July 17th, 2007: I got a form reply back from The Home Depot. Here is the text of that email:
We are responding to your email regarding your Hampton Bay patio set.
Unfortunately, JRA Furniture had gone out of business about 3 weeks ago. There patio sets are being discontinued and what the stores have in stock they are selling and will not have anymore. There is a company that supplied parts for JRA called TSY Services. We are guiding customers there for replacement parts. You can contact TSY Services at 1-800-858-9969.
If you need any other information please contact Hampton Bay at 1-877-527-0313 Monday through Friday 8:00am-4:00pm CST. Your reference number is #######.
I called the 1-800-858-9969 phone number and received a message saying, “Jump into fun, exciting, live talk now! Call 1-800-343-7700!” I wasn’t really interested in “fun talk”, I just want my replacement table top, so I called the Hampton Bay number. None of the options on Hampton Bay’s automated voice response system fit my needs, so I just chose different options and after several calls I was finally able to talk to a real person.
Keenen was able to look up my reference number and provide a correct number for TSY Services–1-800-585-9969. Someone had transposed some numbers. 🙂
I called TSY Services and they answered the phone promptly. I spoke with a really nice lady named Bridget. I explained my problem and she said that the parts were on order but they wouldn’t have them until early September. That’s OK, as long as I know it’s coming. I had to send her all the information from before, including a copy of my receipt, and a picture showing the missing insert nuts. I’m know feeling much better about this whole thing, but has certainly been an ordeal.
Update – November 11th, 2007: My wife and I were running some errands on the afternoon of Saturday, October 20th. When we returned home, there was a HUGE flat box on the front porch. It was too big to be our table top. When I opened it, sure enough, it was the wrong one. Our table is square and dark colored. The one they shipped us was rectangular, beige in color, with vines and leaves under the glass–it included the glass as well. I was doing some traveling, so it was November 1st before I had an opportunity to call TSY and let them know about the mix-up. I talked to a customer service agent named Erica who was really nice. I explained that I needed to know what to do with the one they sent me, and what I need to know to get the correct table top that I need. She said that she didn’t know how to handle this situation and that I would need to talk to her supervisor, but her supervisor was out of the office, so she transferred me to her voice mail. I explained my situation to the supervisor and left my cell phone number for her to call me back. It has now been 10 days and I still haven’t heard anything. I guess I’ll have to call again. I’ll keep you posted about how it goes.
Update – November 12th, 2007: I called TSY again this morning and got to talk to a supervisor. I explained my issue again that I received a part that was for a table other than the one I ordered. I talked with a very helpful lady named Sana this time. I did need to email her pictures of the label that showed that they were supposed to send table top rim for a Portachi Dining Set along with a picture showing that I actually received a table top rim for a Folian dining set. Once again, I’m feeling good about things. I hope it all works out this time.