The Furniture Ombudsman

The Furniture Ombudsman (TFO) is an independent organization, which specializes in providing Alternative Dispute Resolution services for consumers and retailers in the furniture, home improvement and floor coverings industries. Based in United Kingdom, this successful young organization helps everyone to find the fair ground in the industry.

Furniture industries’ one of the most interesting professional organization, The Furniture Ombudsman (TFO) provides training and education services to its members which helps to raise standards, improve service and inspire consumer confidence. To help preserve the organization’s independent status, a Standards Board regulates its work as an Ombudsman. TFO also holds membership of the Trading Standards Institute, and are recognized by the European Commission. Through the Code of Practice, Full Members of The Furniture Ombudsman make an additional commitment to their consumers. By this way, TFO can ensure that everyone gets a fair deal in the event of a dispute. Governed by a set of bye-laws, the Standards Board regularly review a cross section of adjudications, to ensure they are both fair and reasonable. It also oversees TFO’s rules, practices and procedures.

When an application is received detailing a complaint against one of the registered Full Members, the claim is investigated through TFO’s conciliation process. Initially TFO may be able to make a decision on the validity of a claim, recommend or uphold an offer, which has already been made prior to its involvement or negotiate a settlement. Where agreement cannot be reached or, in TFO’s opinion, there is insufficient evidence to allow for an initial decision, TFO may then formally adjudicate. All of TFO’s decisions and adjudications are binding on the member.

The statistics of August 2012, show that in respect of all the cases investigated by The Furniture Ombudsman, 80% were closed at the conciliation stage and 20% progressed to adjudication. This is comparable to the year ending August 2011, in which 78% of cases were closed at the conciliation stage and 22% progressed to adjudication. In respect of the total number of calls received from consumers’ 52% of these had been referred to TFO by the retailer. Between September 2011 and August 2012, a total of 82% of all cases investigated were related to home furnishings, whilst 18% were in relation to home improvement installations. In the previous year, a total of 70% of TFO’s cases were related to home furnishings and 30% were relative to home improvement installations. If you have a dispute about a product under any of the following categories, TFO experts may be able to help you; Beds, Cabinet Furniture, Carpets, floor coverings and laminate flooring, Dining and occasional furniture, Fitted bathrooms, Fitted bedrooms and bedroom furniture, Fitted kitchens and Upholstery.