Couple call for settee weight warning EXCLUSIVE

EDGE OF DESPAIR: Michael Woolf on the sofa at his home in Shadwell, Leeds. PIC: Simon Hulme
EDGE OF DESPAIR: Michael Woolf on the sofa at his home in Shadwell, Leeds. PIC: Simon Hulme
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A disgruntled consumer says her £2,000 sofa suite should come with a ‘weight warning’ after her husband was told he was too fat to sit on the edge of his seat.

Barbara Woolf, from Shadwell, said her husband Michael, 77, was being told where to place his derriere.

The seating advice was said to have been made to the pair during a visit at their home by a member of staff for furniture store Barker and Stonehouse at Birstall.

Cushions on one of the couches they had purchased in September from the Canterbury range were falling completely flat, and the couple reported the problem.

Mark Wilkinson, Barker and Stonehouse’s national services manager, said later the firm would source and fit a firmer interior as a ‘gesture of goodwill’ for its customers, asking for £50 to cover its wholesale costs.

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The stuffing was initially replaced but when it started to lose all support again, they were told the issue was not the foam filling, but Mr Woolf’s weight.

Barbara, 69, a retired estate agent, said: “The fella was coming out with all this stuff. He wanted to know how many hours Michael sat on the suite.

“The outcome was that Michael should sit right back in the seat and in the middle, not at the edge.

“The man looked at where I sat and said that was fine, as I weighed less.

“Michael’s 15 or 16 stone – not 20. ”

She said a warning was needed to stop heavier customers from buying the settees if the cushions’ inners were only suitable for lighter people.

Michael, who is 5ft 10ins tall and plays badminton twice a week, wants the cushions re-filled with something more durable – and for free.

He argues the two sofas are ‘not fit for purpose’, or of ‘satisfactory quality’ under the Sale of Goods Act.

Services manager Mr Wilkinson said: “The consumer chooses to use a low coffee table as their dining table so they are taking their meals while watching TV, perched on the edge of the sofa, while eating.”.

“With the best will in the world, the outer edges of any foam material is the least resistant.

“So by sitting right on the edge of the sofa rather than on the sofa cushion as designed, it’s having that effect earlier than we would anticipate. It’s a lounge sofa rather than a dining seat.”

Michael said: “What a load of twaddle. I am not prepared to pay another £50. I have never heard so much rubbish about the way I sit.

“I have sat on settees over the years and never had to do it in a certain way.

“If I had only paid £700 for the two, fine, but when I have already spent £2,000 and I am being told I can’t sit on the edge – what a load of cobblers.”

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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