Furniture Buyers Beware: Bonded Leather Isn’t Actually Leather

What's Hot

23 Upgrades Under $50 to Make Your House Look AwesomeAround The House

Trump Worth $10 Billion Less Than If He’d Simply Invested in Index FundsBusiness

Do This or Your iPhone Bill May SkyrocketSave

11 Places in the World Where You Can Afford to Retire in StyleMore

19 Moves That Will Help You Retire Early and in StyleFamily

What You Need to Know for 2017 Obamacare EnrollmentFamily

8 Things Rich People Buy That Make Them Look DumbAround The House

50 Ways to Make a Fast $50 (or Lots More)Grow

32 of the Highest-Paid American SpeakersMake

The 35 Two-Year Colleges That Produce the Highest EarnersCollege

5 DIY Ways to Make Your Car Smell GreatCars

Amazon Prime No Longer Pledges Free 2-Day Shipping on All ItemsMore

More Caffeine Means Less Dementia for WomenFamily

7 Household Hacks That Save You CashAround The House

5 Reasons a Roth IRA Should Be Part of Your Retirement PlanGrow

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

Beware These 10 Retail Sales Tricks That Get You to Spend MoreMore

Bonded leather furniture may look and even smell like real leather at a fraction of the price — but it may have very little real leather in it.

You probably know the difference between particleboard and wood, but what about bonded leather and leather? wrote about a recent run-in with bonded leather furniture, which Furniture Today says started appearing in 2007.

The writer spotted what seemed like a great deal on a desk chair made of the stuff, and he assumed bonded “referred to the fact that parts of the chair were leather and parts were vinyl, or maybe that pieces were put together.”

He did things in the wrong order — he bought the chair before doing his homework. While he managed to save $100 on the model, when he got home and looked up the material, he was disappointed to learn that the Leather Research Laboratory described it as “vinyl, or a polyurethane laminate or a composite, but it’s not leather.”

He called the manufacturer’s customer service line and was assured it was real leather, with the durability of real leather — just made from scraps. But the product didn’t include an explanation of the leather-to-plastic ratio, which can vary widely. The Federal Trade Commission expects manufacturers to do that so consumers know what they’re getting:

 A material in an industry product that contains ground, pulverized, shredded, reconstituted, or bonded leather and thus is not wholly the hide of an animal should not be represented, directly or by implication, as being leather. This provision does not preclude an accurate representation as to the ground, pulverized, shredded, reconstituted, or bonded leather content of the material. However, if the material appears to be leather, it should be accompanied by … a disclosure of the percentage of leather fibers and the percentage of non-leather substances contained in the material.

Furniture Today said in 2011 that up to half of the leather furniture market may be bonded leather. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it — as long as it’s properly represented and priced accordingly.

Do you have any experience with bonded leather furniture? Did you know what it was when you bought it? Has it held up well? Let us know on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: Sam’s Club Reveals Details of Black Friday, 5 Other Holiday Sales

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,730 more deals!