This review is placed here because Crate and Barrel would not allow my honest review to be on their site because it "mentioned customer service issues" which is ironic, to say the least.
Purchased a pair of Sonata chairs and within 12 months of purchase, we started to notice a texture change in the chair. Over time, the leather finish flaked, cracked, and peeled and roping started to loosen from both chairs. See photos of new vs. gently used chair. I contacted the company and eventually, after an exhaustive and ridiculous process, the chairs were returned and replaced. I have no assurance that this is a long-term resolution to the problem that MANY customers have documented and that is simply this: THESE CHAIRS ARE DEFECTIVE and Crate and Barrel continues to sell these chairs. The company offers no answer as to what is different in the many chairs that have been well documented to have similar problems and the ones that don't. I will outline what we were up against in this return:
1) It took countless phone calls, 1 extensive chat session, 41 emails, and two months before the return was finally authorized.
2) There is no visible difference between the initial appearance of our original or replacement chairs. Crate & Barrel cannot offer any reason as to why these chairs are defective.
3) I was requested by Crate and Barrel and submitted a large series of high quality digital images of the defective chairs. Upon review, I was told a "furniture medic" must be able to inspect the chairs in person to complete their review. However, a a Crate and Barrel manager who handled returns told me by phone, "if you are not home, you could just put the chair near a window so we could look through it to see the chairs and that will be fine." How is that any different than me supplying photos of chairs that were easily confirmed to have been ordered?
4) Crate and Barrel outsources the return process to a company called Southland (this may be a subsidiary of Crate and Barrel). Southland made multiple errors in the process by which the chairs were to be inspected. They also attempted to further outsource the inspection process to another third party who called me on the wrong pre-scheduled inspection day to say they were "on their way" to do an inspection. As this day did not work, I told them we would have to re-schedule when I could be home. Crate and Barrel and myself were UNABLE to get the third party to return multiple telephone messages to reschedule. It was truly the most bizarre part of this ordeal. Finally, Southland re-scheduled a chair medic who was both professional and thorough during the inspection. They stated unequivocally that the chairs were defective.
5) In the end, know that any signs of chairs being placed near windows will be an automatic trigger for Crate and Barrel to blame the flaking and peeling on sun exposure. Our house has no windows near the chairs with sunlight exposure so our chair medic confirmed that this could not have influenced the defective issues in our chairs. Just be prepared for that.
6) When we finally did receive our replacement chairs, I asked why it was required that we return the defective chairs as a matter of interest. I was told first that the company planned to try and "fix them," if possible, at their warehouse. Really? Fix DEFECTIVE chairs?? I asked again why I would be inconvenienced with having to repackage the original chairs and was then told the vendor required the chairs be returned. Who knows the real reason? Not even Crate and Barrel.
One purpose in writing this review is because of the arduous process for replacement of defective chairs and to alert buyers that Crate and Barrel continues to sell chairs that they know have a history of being defective. Of note, I was told by the chair medic that the chairs were still under warranty and that was why they were replaced. I do not know how long (is at least over 12 months from purchase) the warranty is good. Again, BUYER BEWARE!!
Product or Service Mentioned: Crate And Barrel Chair.
Reason of review: Damaged or defective.
Location: Mauston, Wisconsin