This lawsuit claims that Ashley Furniture falsely, deceptively, and misleadingly promoted, marketed, and advertised furniture with DuraBlend to consumers as a high-quality, durable leather product. In fact, furniture with DuraBlend is of low quality, failed to hold up to normal wear and tear, and began to peel or disintegrate within a short period of time.
DuraBlend is Ashley Furniture’s bonded leather upholstery product. ConsumerAffairs.com defines bonded leather as “left-over pieces of hid blended together to form a seamless piece of leather material.” This differs from genuine leather which is made from entire pieces of animal hide and is more expensive. Although bonded leather is less expensive and softer to the touch than genuine leather, genuine leather is much more durable.
Ashley Furniture marketed their DuraBlend products as a high-quality, durable, and strong material. They labelled the product as “blended leather,” “durable,” and used the word “LEATHER” alone in its own right. Plaintiffs and other consumers believe that Ashley misrepresented their product due to the fact that it was of low quality and not durable.
One plaintiff in this case, Sladjana Perisic, purchased a sofa, loveseat, and recliner with DuraBlen upholstery for $1,700 from “Ashley Furniture HomeStore” in Pinellas Park, Florida in August 2013. She purchased the furniture based on the descriptions and advertisements that DuraBlend upholstery was made of a “synthetic leather” designed to make the upholstery durable. Ashley Furniture sold the furniture to Perisic without disclosing to her the percentage of leather scraps or fibers, if any, or the percentage of non-leather substances contained in it. When she purchased the furniture, she did not see, nor was she presented with, any hang tags or disclosures regarding the DuraBlend upholstery. In early 2016, Perisic noticed that the upholstery on her furniture was bubbling and peeling, causing pieces and particles of the top “leather”-like layer of all of the sofa cushions and arm rests and the recliner arm rests to come off. This exposed the underlying material, which was coarse in texture and off-white in color. In April 2016, Perisic made a claim with Guardsman, the company with which she purchased a furniture protection plan. Guardsman informed her that the damage to the furniture is not covered under the terms of the protection plan because it was deemed a manufacturing defect.
Based on the facts of the case, the plaintiffs in this lawsuit allege that Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. violated Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, committed fraudulent misrepresentation, and was unjustly enriched at the expense of consumers.