M&S wardrobe causes a stink – but it won't give me a refund

I purchased a three-door Hastings wardrobe from Marks & Spencer for my adult son’s room. He and his wife are staying with us for several months and their baby is due shortly. The wardrobe arrived on Monday and the smell was toxic. We all felt sick and had red eyes. I even smelt it coming up the driveway. I called M&S to arrange collection which it said could not be done for three weeks. I explained the urgency due to the baby and am still awaiting a call.

I said I would have to move it outside but was told there would be no refund. But we will now have to do so as the smell has pervaded the house. We had to wash all the baby’s new clothes.

I have a very anxious heavily pregnant daughter-in-law in the house but when I expressed my dissatisfaction to M&S it advised me to go to the Furniture Ombudsman. I’d be grateful if you could assist me trying get them to collect and return as a matter of urgency. To add insult to injury M&S has since refused to publish the negative review I wrote.
HR, Helen’s Bay, Bangor, North Wales

This is not the first time we have had a complaint about an M&S wardrobe causing a bit of a stink. We can understand your concerns and frustration at the retailer’s slowness to respond, but it performed a speedy U-turn once we got involved.

It says: “We pride ourselves on the quality of our furniture and never want our customers to be disappointed. We’ve apologised to HR and collected the wardrobe. In addition to refunding it we have also offered a gesture of goodwill.

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“On rare occasions furniture can retain an odour for a short period following the manufacturing process, but we’d like to assure customers it is safe and will go if left in a well-ventilated room.”

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication subject to our terms and conditions at gu.com/letters-terms



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