Chris Elliott’s Problem Solved: This ‘Walnut’ Bed is Made of Particleboard. Can I Get My Money Back?

Walnut Bed and accessories - Depositphotos_3642863_s-2019
Walnut Bed and accessories

*When Sherrie Segall orders a “walnut” platform storage bed from Groupon, she assumes it’s made of wood. It’s actually made of particleboard. Can she get her money back?

Q:  I purchased a “walnut” brown wood platform storage bed with drawers from Groupon recently. It was not made of wood, but 1/16th inch particleboard. I asked to return the furniture since it was not what I thought I had ordered. 

The platform storage bed was nonrefundable “unless defective.” I believe the bed was falsely advertised as a walnut wood bed frame, and that I should be able to return it under Groupon’s policy. I have escalated my request to Groupon’s support team specialists, to no avail.

Can you help me get my $326 back and allow me to either throw this garbage out or provide shipping costs back to the vendor? It’s taking up half my dining room. — Sherrie Segall, Chicago

A: If I’d seen that ad on Groupon, I probably would have also assumed it was made of solid wood. Except, of course, for the price. No one sells a solid wood bed frame and shelves for $326. Remember, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Further complicating your problem: Your furniture appeared to be defective, based on the photos you sent over. One of the corners looked frayed. That may have happened during shipment, and Groupon should have had a way to address a damaged bed frame.

But what were you doing shopping for furniture on Groupon? I mean, I understand that Groupon sometimes has good deals, but you really want to see furniture in person before you buy it. And if you don’t, you have to make absolutely sure you know what you’re ordering.

So if you see wood furniture advertised at a fraction of the going rate, you might have contacted Groupon or the manufacturer to ask a few questions. You could have saved yourself lots of trouble.

I could have also saved myself a lot of trouble by not writing about your case. Groupon has the distinction of being one of the most image-conscious companies I cover. If I were to suggest that its executives are trying to hide from its customers or that manufacturers are dumping unwanted products on Groupon, I would certainly receive an email from one of its lawyers. I would never do such a thing, of course.

Speaking of its executives: My nonprofit consumer advocacy organization publishes the names, numbers and email addresses of <a href=”https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/groupon-customer-service-contacts/”>Groupon’s executives</a> on our site, Elliott.org. A brief, polite email to one of them might have fixed this problem for you.

I wish I could say your case resolved itself quickly. But my team spent months trying to help you. Groupon sent one return label, but you needed labels for five boxes. Finally, we helped you get everything sent back to the manufacturer, and Groupon issued a full refund.

Christopher Elliott is the chief advocacy officer for Elliott Advocacy. Email him at [email protected] or get help with any consumer problem by contacting him at http://www.elliott.org/help

© 2021 Christopher Elliott.

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