sofa-original-reference

A mentally costly experience of buying a lounger

Beware: Owner wouldn’t think twice before fleecing money from you. If you’re a sharp person and not easily fooled, try your luck.

The above was my original review on Google Plus. The owner called me up on seeing the review and asked me to remove it since in his opinion, nothing had gone wrong. As such, I am doing a follow-up on the review here.

Instead of summarising my judgement on Karnataka Furnishing, let me proceed by elaborating my experience. It is slightly detailed – bear with me.

Our house, back in Kolkata, is well laid out and as such, we aimed for neat furniture when we moved to Bangalore. We (me and my wife) spent months searching through furniture malls such as LifeStyle, Home Centre, Home Town, etc. We did not find anything to our taste and the ones we liked were exorbitantly priced.

Simply put, I wished to have a lounger sofa set (the L-shaped ones) and hoped to find one for around 50k rupees and that too before our marriage anniversary. The budget was decided based on the mall prices quoted for the items that we liked.

One of my friends advised me to get it custom made and as such I came across Karnataka Furnishing via JustDial and I decided to pay them a visit. I was greeted warmly by the owner. He was extremely well versed person and sounded like he knew what he was talking about. He assured me that he can provide me a sofa at a cheaper rate with same or better quality. I returned after asking the owner to visit my premises to take measurements.

As planned, he arrived, we chatted for a while, he took the measurements and left.

On our next visit (this time with my wife,) we shuffled through a number of pictures of loungers in his laptop and we identified one as what we both liked.

sofa-original-reference

Evidently, from the picture, we expected that such a sofa would cost over a lakh rupees (judging from the pricing we saw in the malls.) However, we were quoted 26k. It was definitely a steal deal. I had a feeling that we would definitely not get the quality as in the original picture, but we had expressed our “taste” in the quality, I assumed 26k would have a decent quality.

Next, we started choosing the fabric. We chose one and took rather a long time doing so. Then came the texture of the leather and we chose one again. Both these choices were, in the shop owner’s opinion, “mid-range” priced and he showed as some super high quality ones as well for us to compare.

Then he started calculating. The calculated price came to around mid thirty thousand (pardon me for not remembering exact figures). To that, I grumbled a bit and we ended up choosing another fabric which lowered the price to around 31k. We paid half in advance and left with an assurance of it being delivered before our anniversary (which was more than a couple of weeks from then.)

Meanwhile, almost a week before delivery, he called up to confirm a few dimensions and asking for the number of back cushions required. This was a very odd question since the picture was of a five seater lounger and it was obvious that six cushions will be needed. Upon explaining the same, he mentioned that he was working with four-seater calculations. This was a bummer! I retorted on the fact that we had discussed a final of five-seater and four-seater would not cut it. It would also make the lounger look squarish and unappealing. Finally, he agreed to work on a five-seater one with increased price. It was so near our anniversary date that I had to give in. The final price again squared up to mid thirties.

On the day of our anniversary, we still did not have the sofa. After following up for three consecutive days and listening to his personal problems of workers being unavailable, we were left with no sofa on the D-Day. Guests arrived and we enjoyed – but without a sofa and people sitting on floor.

A couple of days later, he called up saying that he needs more money since the price has gone up. I wondered, from his statements he spoke of high-volume business and yet he is asking for more advance. However, I gave it to him assuming that this would make him deliver.

A week passed. No sofa! After a number of back and forth calls, the sofa arrived and I paid the remaining sum.

It was hideous.

sofa-disdainful-replica

Hideous not because our choice of fabric or anything, but because the entire measurements were off the mark. The thing appeared as a “block” instead of the sleek picture we agreed upon. It clearly looked as if it was not made by experienced craftsmen. I can understand if it was incorrect dimensions, but it was incorrect ASPECT RATIO!

  • The lounger was higher by over a foot.
  • The hand rest in the picture was embedded in the base, but this one simply had a square side.
  • The hand-rest was hard. Really hard.
  • The cushions were huge and flat (as if it is a foam slab) instead of being soft and cushy.
  • The sofa itself was hard to sit on.
  • Stitching marks on leather

On these lines, we called him again and pointed out 17 things that were outright and on the face mistakes. It clearly looked like lack of attention to detail.

Pointing out was the easiest part. The hard part was getting him to accept that. He went on expelling how this is a “masterpiece” and that whatever he has done is for the betterment. We spent hours talking through his smooth verses trying to get it across to him that this is just a badly designed lounger and no where near the picture we saw (except that it was five seater and L-shaped and with an extra extension!) It was exhausting. Finally, my wife put my foot down to do these changes or take it back.

With a lot of reluctance (which his body-language could not hide,) he took the sofa back with a warning that these changes will reduce the quality of the sofa and he is not responsible of whatever happens.

Weeks passed and I kept on following up. He informed me that further delay is happening since he is having to “redo” the entire thing and that it is adding up to his costs and that more money is needed. I was frustrated and agreed to pay him five thousand more but was scared that my wife would be utter pissed. I paid that money and decided to mention that to her only if the final version of the lounger was acceptable.

Finally, the sofa arrived… again. This time, it was relatively well done. A couple of points were missed, but we knew it was better we compromised than go in another loop. The owner arrived and congratulated us and that this time the sofa is a real masterpiece.

sofa-acceptable-replica


Overall, I received “almost” what we wanted (considering I knew that I cannot get 100% of the reference design). Compare the three pictures and you shall notice what I am talking about.

Was that much of mental agony worth it? I had altercations at home, regular frustrations, dozens of calls, total lack of peace. The reason for having the sofa on our anniversary was highly symbolic and that was replaced by disappointment and discomfort.

We started off with 26k as quote and ended up paying above 10k more. Considering our budget of 50k, this was okay. But the way I was made to reach that figure in increments (and logical reasonings that are hard to deny) was simply unacceptable.

Why start with 26k when you know the taste of the customer?
Why plan for four seater? Why promise (and repeatedly promise) what you cannot deliver?

And finally… why talk to customers in such a nice a way that they have no option of getting out of the situation even when they know that they are being wronged?

What I saved in money, I paid for in more than a dozen other ways. Feel free to call me stupid.