La-Z-Boy Genuine Leather Fading

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Dec 21, 2018
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#1
We were going to purchase 6 recliners and 1 sofa upholstered in leather. They were replacing living room furniture that had been in place for 18 years. We researched all manufacturers and in their literature for advertising or warranty almost all had comments or precautions or exclusions from the warranty relating to fading. About a week before we purchased we visited the Knoxville TN La-Z-Boy store, determined what we wanted, and the next day sent photos of our living room to show 18 foot tall windows that extended almost the entire length of the room. What made the choice of La-Z-Boy was the advertising was very clear in stating the colors would remain "vibrant" (La-Z-Boy's word) for the life of the leather. Unlike other companies the warranty was one year and made no mention or exclusions for fading of the leather. Additionally in the place for the new furniture we had (and still have) leather pieces that were there 18 years with no fading.

We bought the furniture on 1/10/2018 and within six months the medium brown color had faded to cream color in places.

I will not go into how La-Z-Boy ignores request for warranty assistance or how it stonewalls customers, but after much effort on 11/10/2018 they sent me an email saying the reason the leather pieces we have both in the house and our coach which are 12, 18 and 30 years old haven't faded is because a different finishing or dying process is used. If they know there is a finishing process that eliminates or resists fading I would presume they would use that process because of their own advertising claims and warranty.

They have refused to offer any assistance to repair or resolve the problem. Their stated reason is because in their leather care literature that I found on line on their website after the purchase it mentions fading and how to prevent it. That reason for not honoring a warranty claim is silly because it would require a purchaser to read the owner's manual or leather care manual before buying their product. The warranty never references the leather care literature and the literature never says the warranty is void if the sun hits the furniture.

My needs are simple........I want La-Z-Boy to provide us with furniture that meets their advertizing claims, or repairs the furniture we have. I want them to honor their warranty since it does not exclude fading. As a bonus I would like them to change their ads and stop claiming the leather colors will remain vibrant for the life of the leather, and to change their warranty to state specifically that fading is not covered. Or as an alternative they can actually make a product that performs as advertised.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#2
Want does the warranty say that came with the furniture? I tried to look online and only saw that the warranty covers the following for leather:
One Year (Applies to manufacturing or material defects only) .

It is true that dye processes have changed since the 1980, because of concerns about chemicals and the environment.

Furniture restorers have told me that direct sunlight will fade most leather in several months.
 
Apr 10, 2017
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#3
Are those 18' windows tinted? There are some large uncovered windows in my 2-story living room and having those windows tinted helped significantly with the leather furniture fading. While it doesn't prevent it entirely it does slow it down quite a bit. This could be something to consider for the future as you would likely have the same problem with subsequent leather furniture.
 
Likes: jsn55
Dec 21, 2018
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#4
I don't doubt dyes can fade. However the La-Z-Boy literature on their web site regarding their leather makes a very big point about the leather colors remaining vibrant for the life of the leather, the leather warranty does not exclude fading, and by their own admission there are processes that will resist fading. Probably the best example of leathers that do not fade are in our cars. The cars sit out in the sun for years with no loss of color.

The warranty on one La-Z-Boy site that I printed out has a one year limit on both fabrics and leather. But on the fabric listing it specifically says it does not cover fading. On the listing for leather it does not list the exception to fading.

If they knew their leather would literally lose all its color in 6 months when we provided them with photos showing the extensive glass in the living room one week before we made the purchase they should have said as clearly as they now say after the sale that their leather would fade.
 
Dec 21, 2018
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#5
Are those 18' windows tinted? There are some large uncovered windows in my 2-story living room and having those windows tinted helped significantly with the leather furniture fading. While it doesn't prevent it entirely it does slow it down quite a bit. This could be something to consider for the future as you would likely have the same problem with subsequent leather furniture.
It has a quality that limits certain types of light but I can't tell you for sure what it is. However, we had 4 leather pieces in the same place as the new furniture for 18 years, two we gave away but can get them back if required, 2 we still have and they show no fading. La-Z-Boy claims they and the RV leather was processed using a different method and I cannot understand why they did not use that method such as is used in cars and other places where leather has a lot of sunlight exposure.

In our living room sunlight is limited by roof eaves of a length that keep sunlight completely out during summers so if we really want to be critical of the leather it really had exposure to sunlight early spring, and late fall when the sun was lower in the sky.
 

Neil Maley

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#6
18 years ago there were not as many laws and regulations about dye processes and what can and can't be done so you can't compare these to what you bought 18 years ago. Methods used in the dye process for interior home use are most likely not the same for what is done in a car that you aren't sitting in for 10 hours a day.

Do you have a link to the warranty you can post here so we can read it?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#7
Car seat leather is treated with a protective coat of chemicals -- the grain that one sees is usually embossed, as one cannot see the texture or grains of the leather through the coating. Car seat leather is certainly treated differently with the protective coating. Car seat leather has a vinyl like coating

The laws on what chemicals can be used have changed, even recently with restrictions on certain types of benzidine-based dyes in 2014. Regulations and business practices have changed a lot. I do not know if there is something wrong with the leather used in the furniture, just pointing out that rules have changed.

The website may say the colors stay vivid but also on their care section it says under leather care basics:

Avoid direct exposure to sunlight. Although leather is resistant to fading, prolonged direct exposure to the sun will cause any material to fade.

What did you buy and what type of leather? If you bought Aniline leather that is the nicest but has no protective coating. Could you post the details of what was purchased and the warranty.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Dec 21, 2018
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#8
This is a link to the warranty:

https://www.la-z-boy.com/content/CustomerCare/WarrantyInformation

I hope it is understood that I took pains to insure what we were buying was going to retain its colors without fading within a few months. I sent the store photos showing the windows. I read their literature and the claims made about retaining the colors. I read the warranty and there was no exclusion of fading. I had leather pieces for 18 years in the same place that did not fade and La-Z-Boy knows there are processes that will not fade. We picked genuine leather (aniline) after substantial discussion with the sales consultant. Never prior to the purchase was fading or furniture location mentioned by La-Z-Boy as a potential problem. Since we had a room full of leather goods that did not fade for 18 years we did not expect the color to fade so quickly when the length of time the sun actually comes through the windows since we bought the furniture was perhaps 2 or 3 months and then only for a short period of time during the early morning.

Perhaps what drives me to push this issue is the La-Z-Boy way of dealing with this. They first ignore several emails. When I make it clear I need to see if this problem can be dealt with I made it clear I would work with them to the extent possible. They asked for and received photos and then nothing. No communications at all. So I pressed for information on their efforts to help. Their response was to see the leather care instructions. The entire point is I usually do not read owner's manuals before I buy a product, and after the fact it is too late because I'm stuck with furniture that does not retain its vibrant colors.

They finally said they will not honor the warranty because the leather care instructions say light will cause fading. Every other web site for leather furniture says clearly either on the information about the leather or in the warranty that fading is not covered so La-Z-Boy was chosen because they did not say that their leather fades also. If we knew the La-Z-Boy leather faded so fast or even as fast as other leathers then they would possibly have been considered prior to the purchase, but so would all their honest competitors. Now knowing how lousy their customer service is I wouldn't ever buy anything from them. I should have seen the hundreds, if not thousands of La-Z-Boy complaints about their poor or non-existent customer service prior to the purchase. With my experience I can honestly say I have never dealt with such a bad company that will not even help a customer explore options to deal with a problem after the sale.

This has far less to do with environmental laws, sunlight or different manufacturing processes than a total failure of customer support after a sale.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#9
Apparently they don’t think this is a material defect:
“One Year (Applies to manufacturing or material defects only)”

Have you gone back to the store to complain? If you went to the extent of showing pictures of the windows to a salesperson and being told it would be ok to purchase. Was the salesperson just wanting to make a sale, vs. really looking at your concern?

https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/la-z-boy/

I would write to LaZBoy and specifically state you brought pictures of the living room windows and asked the salesperson if it would be wise to purchase with the windows and were told yes. Between that and the warranty, you might find a sympathetic execituve at La Z Boy.

https://forum.elliott.org/threads/resolving-consumer-complaints-and-developing-a-paper-trail.8903/

Read this post on how to write and go up the executive chain be chain at La Z Boy.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#10
Neil I suspect that the company is claiming that fading is not a material defect or manufacting error.
Aniline leather has no protective coating (like wax). Softest but least protected leather — I know my dog owning friends did not buy that type of couch.

I have to wonder if the sales person emphasized what the lack of coating means— softer, nice looking but less sturdy.

And the OP should follow Neil’s advice
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#11
I agree. But to have it change to a cream color in some spots in six months really leads me to believe something isn’t right with it.

I’m not a LaZBoy salesman and even I wouldn’t recommend leather in a room full of windows.

I think he really should complain about the salesperson. It can’t hurt to write to the Executives and send pictures. (But send them after an initial email so the email doesn’t go into spam).
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#12
Neil here are some comments from a restoration firm:

"Unfortunately, sun and leather don’t usually mix well. Too much sunlight will do one of two things (and possibly both) to leather furniture and other upholstery– fading and drying.

Fading is commonly seen in semi-aniline and aniline leathers, but is a little rarer in fully-finished leathers that have a protective top coat. It’s one of the most common problems we see, and if you put leather furniture next to a window that gets some serious sunlight, you can start to see fading in as little as 4 to 6 months."

The only true way to prevent the fading of leather from sunlight is to keep it out of the sun."


Slightly off topic, but in winter time I wear patent leather shoes. Patent leather has an acrylic (ie almost plastic) coating so it stains less, especially in winter rain.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#13
Jon, normally I can see both sides of an issue fairly clearly. In this case, I think you are clearly in the right. This website is beginning to misbehave, so I will come back when it feels better and doesn't wipe out entire sentences.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,198
14,780
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#14
Neil here are some comments from a restoration firm:

"Unfortunately, sun and leather don’t usually mix well. Too much sunlight will do one of two things (and possibly both) to leather furniture and other upholstery– fading and drying.

Fading is commonly seen in semi-aniline and aniline leathers, but is a little rarer in fully-finished leathers that have a protective top coat. It’s one of the most common problems we see, and if you put leather furniture next to a window that gets some serious sunlight, you can start to see fading in as little as 4 to 6 months."

The only true way to prevent the fading of leather from sunlight is to keep it out of the sun."


Slightly off topic, but in winter time I wear patent leather shoes. Patent leather has an acrylic (ie almost plastic) coating so it stains less, especially in winter rain.
This really is a tough situation. I still think the OP should pursue this with LaZBoy corporate especially if the salesperson pushed the sale after seeing pictures of the windows.
 
Aug 9, 2017
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#15
I wonder if the windows have Low-E glass? This type of glass blocks most ultraviolet (UV) radiation and thus helps protect fabrics, leather, carpeting and finishes from the fading effects of sunlight. The product has been around since sometime in the 1970's but I suspect it would have been very expensive in windows of the size noted. I can tell you it works well on a 100% glass sun room that I have. I have a dark brown recliner with an attached pillow and the underside of the pillow (not exposed to light) is virtually the same shade/coloration of the sun exposed seat
 
Aug 9, 2017
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#16
I also note from the La-Z-Boy website, specifically the FAQ section the following:

"Q: How do I care for my leather furniture?
A:
La-Z-Boy offers several different types of leather upholstery for its furniture. If cared for properly, this natural material will maintain its beauty and usefulness for many years. Direct exposure to strong light can cause any leather to fade, so always protect leather from direct sunlight or other intense light sources. Daily or weekly dusting and vacuuming with a brush attachment is recommended for normal maintenance of leather. For detailed information regarding our leather line and its care and maintenance, please visit the Fabric and Leather Care section under 'Customer Care' on this website."