A BBC Watchdog investigation has this week highlighted a large group action involving 3,500 people who are suing certain UK sofa retailers after suffering extreme skin reactions.
Defective leather sofas, manufactured in China by Linkwise, and sold in the UK by Argos, Land of Leather and Walmsleys among others, are said to have caused thousands of consumers to suffer allergic reactions, including eczema, blisters, burns and rashes, leaving some in need of hospital treatment.
Stephensons Solicitors LLP is acting on behalf of a number of those involved in the group action.
Kate Sweeney, partner and head of the firm’s Personal Injury team, said: “The cause of the skin reaction suffered by our clients and many thousands more is now known to be Di-methyl Fumarate, also known as DMF, which is a chemical known to cause skin irritation. It’s a fungicide contained in paper sachets which are then placed inside the sofas to prevent mould while they are in storage or transit.
“Argos and Land of Leather have now admitted liability, and this will hopefully make it possible to progress our clients’ claims for compensation to settlement stage.
“The fear is this could be the tip of the iceberg. There could still be many people who have suffered burns or blisters, but have not made the connection. We would like to hear from people who believe they have been affected.”
People suffering with skin complaints who believe their sofa is to blame are urged to seek medical advice. Kate added: “Only specific batches of sofas are affected and not every person who buys one of these suites will experience an allergic reaction. However, worried customers should contact the retailer they originally bought the sofa from if they have any concerns.”
Stephensons’ specialist personal injury lawyers are able to deal with a wide variety of cases including accidents on the road, accidents at work, accidents involving children, fatal accidents and inquests, serious injury claims and work related illnesses among others. Legal aid funding may be available in certain circumstances as well as conditional fee arrangements, also known as no win, no fee.