NBC Responds units across the country investigated complaints this year having to do with a relatively new material some furniture manufacturers are using: bonded leather.
Della and Joseph Scata contacted NBC 7 Responds after they said their two-year-old recliner from Jerome’s Furniture was peeling apart. The Scatas told NBC 7 Responds they expected the chair to last at least ten years and they felt they were owed a refund.
Genuine leather is made from entire hides from an animal whereas bonded leather is composed of pieces of skins that are combined together with other materials to make a leather-like material. In a majority of cases, bonded leather furniture is cheaper than genuine leather products.
Bonded leather furniture has been under the microscope of consumer affairs organizations because the type of leather has both pros and cons associated with it, the organizations say.
The Leather Industries of America trade group has accused some retailers of misleading consumers by not disclosing what makes up bonded leather. The trade group also says most bonded leather comes from China and is subject to few U.S. rules.
It recommends that if you’re looking at buying a piece of bonded leather furniture, figure out what the percentage of leather vs non-leather substances used to make it.
According to federal guidelines, bonded leather products must disclose the percentage and often do with a label stamped or attached to the product. There is no minimum amount of leather required but some industry experts say bonded leather should have somewhere between 15-20% genuine leather scraps.
For Della and Joseph, after NBC 7 Responds contacted Jerome’s Furniture about the problem with their recliner, the store issued them a full refund plus a store-credit donation to a non-profit of their choice.