Husband and I bought our first house nine years ago.  Having previously house shared we did not have even a toaster to our name. We spent our money wisely buying the best we could afford: sofa, dinning room table, fridge/ freezer, washing machine & tumble dryer.  Small things were picked up each month during the 8 months it took to build the house. The rest of the furniture was brought from Ikea, cheap and cheerful to tide us over until we had more money.

Nine years and two children later, we decided to treat ourselves to some proper grown up furniture.  We decided we wanted something sturdy that would fit in with the family and we finally agreed on solid oak. That way if it got bumped and bashed it would not get ruined but just add to the overall character.  Although we wanted solid furniture we also wanted something a bit contemporary looking.  It has taken a long time to find exactly what we wanted but we stumbled across Oak Furniture Land online and fell in love with the Nero Range. We then visited the show room in Cheltenham, Gloustershire and loved it even more.

Originally we set our hearts on the nest of 3 cubes but after visiting the Oak Furniture Land showroom we decided we would also like the console table and the TV and DVD table.

The furniture looked beautiful. We placed our order and waited patiently for the 8 weeks it took.

On Friday our furniture was delivered.  I must admit, up until recently I could not fault the Oak Furniture Land customer service, it was excellent.  They emailed us to tell us when to expect the furniture and gave us a time slot of between 9-12 am.  They phoned 20 minutes before they arrived to let you know how long they would be.  The delivery men were fantastic too. Despite having to walk up a lot of very steep steps with boxes weighing 60kgs they were very cheerful.  They delivered to the room of your choice and even stood in position with this very heavy box while I took a photo for my blog.

My Husband rushed home from work to help undo the boxes.  I was planning to do a thorough review of the products with the hope of it leading to a job as a furniture tester with either Oak Furniture Land or other companies, for that reason I took lots of photos of us unpacking the boxes. I must admit it was all very well packed and not damaged through transit.

The first piece we opened was the nest of tables.  Once opened I was gutted.  There was a scratch the size of my mobile phone on the top! It also did not look like solid Oak…it wasn’t what we looked at in the shop.  The edges were all finished off badly too.  Now I am not being funny, but despite buying all these products in the sale, we still spent almost £900, we are not talking peanuts!! We took a few photos but did not unpack the smaller cubes as it needed to go back.  We wrapped it back up carefully and moved on the the next piece.

A pretty big crack!

Next was the  the TV and DVD Table.  Now this was absolutely beautiful, exactly what we wanted.  You can see it is solid chunky wood.  Nothing added and nothing taken away.  Its gorgeous and we love it!

Beautiful Solid Oak

Happy we moved on the the final box: the console table.  It was at this point that we realised we had a problem.  Out of our three items, two had some veneer on them. I say some because it appears to be placed sporadically!   Now I am not being funny but we did not want veneer, if we had we could have gone to any of the large department or furniture stores but instead we went to so called Oak specialists.

You can see the vaneer here
Poor finish and not just solid wood

We appreciate that no two pieces of solid wood furniture will be the same. However, you can see there is a layer of veneer over the top of the solid oak on both the nest of tables and the console table.  They have not been finished off very well either so you could actually put your fingernail underneath it and pull it up (we didn’t but could)! There is nowhere you could put your fingernail on the TV and DVD Stand, it is solid.

No joins, veneer just solid wood

We are two intelligent people who can see the difference in quality between the TV and DVD table and the other two items of furniture, they are clearly sub standard. We didn’t panic though as you get a 48 hour period to complain.  We phoned up Oak Furniture Land immediately and were told to upload some photos which we did straight away.  Being late on a Friday afternoon we did not worry when we heard nothing more but we phoned up over the weekend.  We were told that someone would ring us on Monday.

Then Sunday evening we were sent an email.  It had clearly been written at the end of the day and said:

” Hi #, This is not veneered but because it is a hollow box design it can sometimes give that impression. With regards to the nest of tables, i wonder if an allowance of £20 would be acceptable. Kind Regards # “

Not veneered……£20 off ……we looked at each other shocked. On an item costing £368.84 and a crack the size of my mobile, of course we are not going to be happy with £20 off! Add in the issue that it’s veneered and we are even unhappier.  We quickly wrote back and told them we wouldn’t want them if they gave it to us for free. Either they replace them with what they should be like (remember we have seen them in the showroom) or take all three items back and give us an immediate refund.

Today Husband spoke to them again and they offered to replace the two items but had a feeling we would be having the same conversation again in a few weeks time…. WHAT!!!    I am appalled and shocked that the Oak Furniture Land staff (a) are not confident and (b) do not appear to care, that the furniture they are selling is not what they have displayed in their showroom or what they advertise on their website. To demonstrate I took this quote directly from their website.

“All our furniture is 100% solid hardwood, we do not use chipboard or veneers on any of our furniture”.

This is clearly not the case.  If I was working for Oak Furniture Land I would be ashamed and want to get to the factory to find out what on earth is going on. This is appalling.  The thing that really  surprises me is that they do not appear to care, they say it will probably happen again.  Clearly something is not right here! They would not place these items in their showrooms I guarantee you!

We were not after any discounts or after anything for free, we just wanted what we saw in the showroom and what we paid for…too much to ask? Sadly the answer is yes it was! I  am sorry to say that I could not possibly recommend anyone spend their money on furniture from this store.

So at the moment, that is us. The furniture is being collected this week and we are getting a complete refund.  However, we are left feeling 100% unsatisfied and are still owners of our original cheap and cheerful furniture!! I must point out at this point that that I have written this post not to be vindictive but instead to offload and help me deal with my feelings of disappointment, confusion , shock and anger. I would also like others to know what they are buying, despite claims on the Oak Furniture Land website that they do not use veneer…sometimes they do!

Who knows when our furniture will get replaced now, it has taken a long time to find what we want and agree on it.  We are feeling very disillusioned at the moment. I think it might be a while until we are ready to part will our hard saved money again.

Karen x

To update you, the situation has been resolved to a satisfactory conclusion. We now have furniture we are very happy with and the other stuff went back to the factory with a full report.  Oak Furniture land have also acknowledged a need for training within the Customer Services department and are putting this right.