Since we started selling refurbished Aeron Classic chairs on BTOD.com, we have been getting questions about how our refurbished chairs compare to used chairs from other sellers. The most frequent company we are asked about is Madison Seating. They have been in the used furniture game for a long time now and are one of the leading sellers of used Aeron chairs.
Instead of speculating about what they may or may not be doing with their chairs, we decided to buy one so that we could do an accurate and honest comparison between a refurbished Aeron chair from BTOD.com and a used Aeron from Madison Seating. This comparison will highlight all of the differences between an Aeron chair from Madison Seating and BTOD.com.
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BTOD vs. Madison Seating Aeron Comparison List
- Return Policy
- Cancellation Fees
- Inspection Process
- Aftermarket Parts
- Final Thoughts
Madison Seating vs BTOD Aeron Comparison Video
The first major difference between the two Aeron chairs is going to be the price. If you go with the Aeron Classic from BTOD.com, then it will feature fully adjustable arms and height adjustable lumbar support. The price will be $799.99, which includes free shipping.
The chair we chose to purchase from Madison Seating has the same adjustment package as the chair we sell on BTOD.com. The chair from Madison Seating is currently $619.11, which included free shipping. If you go with Madison Seating, you will save about $180 over the chair from BTOD.com.
The next major difference is how both companies choose to label the condition of the chairs they are selling. The chair we sell on BTOD.com is refurbished. We call it refurbished because it is a used chair that goes through an inspection, receives some aftermarket parts, is cleaned, and given a warranty provided by BTOD.com.
The chair we purchased on MadisonSeating.com was labeled as “Open Box.” I think that this label is being disingenuous. Open box typically implies that the box has been opened and that maybe the item has been lightly used, but the implication of the term “open box” is that it is a like-new product.
The chair we received from Madison Seating arrived in a Madison Seating box, not the original box from Herman Miller. The date of manufacture on the chair is from 2004 and it features aftermarket arm pads. This chair is not what we would consider to be an open box. This chair is what we would call refurbished.
3. Return Policy
The return policies that both companies offer are going to be our next area of focus. When you buy a refurbished Aeron Classic from BTOD.com, you get a risk free, thirty-day trial. If you do not like the chair for any reason within the first thirty days, let us know. We will have the chair picked up for you.
We will cover the return shipping charges and we will give you a full refund. We just ask that you return the chair in its original packaging, so hold on to the box until you decide whether you want to keep the chair.
Madison Seating also advertises a money back guarantee. They offer thirty days to try the chair. If you decide you do not like it, you can send it back to them for a refund. You will be responsible for the return shipping charges. With our discount, it costs us about $70 to ship this chair. For a normal consumer, it will probably be around $75 to $125 to ship it to Madison Seating.
Once it is received, Madison Seating will issue a refund. Madison Seating will deduct the original outbound shipping charges from your refund amount. They will also deduct a 30-percent restocking fee from your refund. Madison Seating requires that the chair is returned in the original packaging, so don’t toss the box until you know whether you are keeping the chair or not.
If you order a refurbished Aeron Classic from BTOD.com and you decide to cancel your order, we will refund your order in full. We do not charge a cancellation fee. This is whether you cancel the order before the chair ships or after the chair has already shipped. You will be given a full refund if you need to cancel your order.
If you order a chair from Madison Seating, you will be paying some type of fee if you decide to cancel your order at any point. If you decide to cancel your order before the chair has shipped, a 5-percent fee will be deducted from your refund.
If you decide to cancel after the order has shipped, then it will default to the standard return policy as described above. This includes outbound and return shipping charges, along with a 30-percent restocking fee.
When we look at the warranties offered by both companies, we see big differences. Madison Seating offers a ten-year warranty on their Open Box Aeron Classic. When you file a claim, you will be required to send the chair back to Madison Seating for the warranty work to be done. As noted above, the cost to do this will be around $75 to $125.
After the warranty work is completed, you will be required to pay a $75 shipping fee to get your chair back to you. There are several items on the chair that are excluded from the warranty. These parts include the seat frame, back frame, mesh, casters, arm pads, and lumbar pad. This leaves coverage on the gas cylinder, mechanism, and armrest frame/mechanism.
The refurbished Aeron Classic from BTOD.com comes with a five-year warranty. This warranty includes everything on the chair; no parts are excluded. After you file a claim, parts will be shipped to you for no charge. If it is determined that your chair needs to be brought back for repairs, BTOD.com will cover the shipping both ways.
The shipping is going to be similar on both chairs. Each chair arrives via FedEx/UPS ground in a medium-sized box that weighs around fifty pounds. This means that the box will be brought to your door or office suite. The only difference in shipping is going to be the time. An Aeron chair ordered from BTOD.com will arrive in seven to ten business days. An Open Box Aeron from Madison Seating will arrive in ten to fourteen business days.
The inspection process is very important when buying a used Aeron chair. Some of these chairs are around twenty years old. You do not want to get one that has a faulty part that makes the chair unusable shortly after your purchase.
All refurbished Aeron Classic chairs from BTOD.com go through a thorough inspection and tune-up process. The chair is torn down and looked over. If there are any problems, like stress fractures or functions not working properly, the chair will not be used and it will be broken down for its usable parts. Once the chair is checked over, tested, and deemed to be in good condition, it is cleaned and made available for sale.
It is difficult to say what the inspection process is from Madison Seating because they do not mention the process on their website. We did notice a couple red flags that may lead us to believe that a full, thorough inspection may not be happening. A loose bolt on the mechanism and some separation in the backrest frame are a couple of those concerns.
The bases on the two chairs have a slight difference because the base on the Aeron Classic from Madison Seating appears to be spray painted. We have heard from experts in the used furniture world, as well as past Madison Seating employees, that they do spray paint chair parts.
The reason that this base seems painted is because there are noticeable nicks and gouges out of the base but they are covered with paint. I am not sure about the quality of the paint used, so I am unable to comment on how it will hold up.
The base on the Aeron Classic from BTOD.com is the original from the Herman Miller Factory. It may show some signs of wear and tear.
9. Aftermarket Parts or Original
One major part of the refurbishing process is replacing components that are prone to breaking down. Replacing these types of components increases the longevity of your chair. Some companies choose to replace more parts than others and different companies use different levels of aftermarket product qualities.
The Aeron Classic chair from BTOD.com features aftermarket parts that are built to OEM specifications. These parts include the wheels, cylinder, lumbar pad, seat pad, and the arm pads.
The Aeron Classic from Madison seating features aftermarket arm pads. These are not built to OEM specifications. There are no other aftermarket parts on the chair we received.
The arm pads are very different on both chairs. When Herman Miller came out with the Aeron Remastered edition, they made a change to the construction of their arm pads. On the previous Aeron, the Classic, the arm pads featured a plastic mold that mounted to the armrest chair frame. On the plastic mold is a layer of foam and then a thick polyurethane shell. The shell is then glued and stapled in place.
The Remastered Aeron went away from this shell design and instead fused the plastic mold and foam into one solid piece. This eliminated the need for staples and removed a major failure point. The new design is more seamless and should have a longer life than the previous.
The arm pads on the Aeron Classic from BTOD.com mimic the design of the new Aeron Remastered chair. It features a one piece mold that fuses the plastic and foam together.
The design on the Madison Seating Aeron is similar to the original Aeron design. The original polyurethane shell is removed, and a layer of low-end vinyl upholstery is used to make the new arm pads. The vinyl is stapled in place with a large number of staples. These staples, along with the seam in the vinyl, present two major points of potential failure.
Finding the right used Aeron to buy is not always the easiest choice. There are a handful of sellers out there with varying prices, policies, and reputations. Some companies may offer the best prices but may not have the best track record of taking care of their customers.
Other companies may be reliable with getting you a product but don’t have the best policies should something arise down the road. Others may have customer friendly policies and a good tracking record of taking care of customers but the price point is higher.
It is important for you to decide what matters most when buying your used Aeron Classic. If you are looking for the best price out there, then Madison Seating is going to be the choice for you over BTOD.com. If you are willing to pay a higher price for more customer-friendly policies and a better aftermarket package, then BTOD.com is probably a good fit.
Additional Office Chair Resources
- Herman Miller Aeron Remastered (Review / Ratings / Pricing)
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- 6 Best Herman Miller Aeron Chair Alternatives For 2022
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- Steelcase Leap V2: New Vs. Remanufactured (Used)