FIRA and TFO to host joint learning session

The furniture inspection and repair experts within FIRA International, and the Furniture Ombudsman, have announced plans for another free joint learning session.

The event will include the process of furniture inspection and repair when customers report a possible product defect, with the Furniture Ombudsman covering the latest consumer legal updates.

Following on from the first event which took place in June, this second event is going ‘on the road’ and being hosted by Westbridge Furniture Designs at their Flintshire facilities.

Taking place on Wednesday 16th October, from 09.30-15.00 the event will include a mix of ‘classroom’ style sessions and practical hands-on workshops where delegates will have the opportunity learn how the experts inspect furniture and identify possible faults, alongside the opportunity to try a range of repair techniques first-hand. There is also the chance to tour the Westbridge manufacturing factory, which produces in excess of 10,000 pieces of upholstery per week.

The workshop sessions will specifically focus on upholstery, mattress and cabinet repairs. Inspections will include looking for mattress dipping, whilst repairs will focus on re-tufting mattresses, re-stitching upholstery, colour repairs on leather and scratch repairs to cabinets. There will also be the opportunity for delegates to get ‘hands-on’ and test their own repair capabilities.

There will also be a focus on utilising photo-triage as part of retailer / manufacturer customer aftercare programmes. Using this method can remove some needs for a technician to visit the customer, relying instead of photo evidence to determine possible product defects. Or if a visit is required ensures the issue can be resolved as the technician will be carrying the exact part(s) needed to remedy.

The day will also cover how the correct reporting analytics can help the early identification of possible issues which may lead to an improvement in production. Swift action can help prevent reoccurring service issues and in turn increase overall customer satisfaction.

The consumer law section delivered by Judith Turner, Legal Council and Head of ADR at the Furniture Ombudsman will focus on consumer remedies in furniture and home improvement cases, highlighting the desirability of remedial works in the first instance, against the backdrop of the underpinning need to get it right first time from a legal and customer service perspective.

Using case studies from the Ombudsman the session then moves on to look at the importance of quality, independent reporting in the weighting of evidence to resolve consumer issues. Judith will also be hosting a customer service training session as part of the agenda.

The session is open to all from across the furniture industry. Anyone wishing to confirm their place at the free session should email Emma Delea,, or visit


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