Hundreds of consumers burnt by ‘toxic’ sofas they had bought from the high street are finally set to receive burn compensation for their injuries. However, hundreds more could still miss out.
The incident happened when well over a thousand people bought sofas from furniture shops such as Argos, Homebase and Walmsleys. The sofas had been imported from China where they had been manufactured by firms Linkwise and Eurosofa. Unbeknown to the stores or the customers, the sofas had been treated with a fungicidal chemical to stop mould growing on the leather during storage. The chemical in question is dimethyl fumarate, which since these complaints were raised, has been banned by the European Union. When the sofas were in use the chemical and the gas it creates burned the skin of those sat on them, even through clothes.
Many customers who had bought sofas soon went to doctors complaining of severe skin burns and conditions. They also reported breathing difficulties and eye complaints. This was made worse as doctors could not discover what was causing the problems for nearly 9 months causing great psychological trauma as victims thought they were suffering from skin cancer and other serious conditions.
The victims will now be awarded between £1,175 and £9,000 each as compensation for their suffering. The £20 million figure decided at Court this week includes legal costs and the compensation for 1,650 toxic sofa victims. As nearly 100,000 sofas were sold there could be more people out there who are eligible to make a claim.
However, victims who bought their sofa from the now defunct Land of Leather will not receive compensation at the present time. This is because the former company breached conditions, making their insurance invalid. Land of Leather customers are in the process of appealing this decision.