Beware of IKEA Home Delivery

by Barrett

If your furniture home delivery can’t make it through the front door, does that mean you automatically receive a credit?  Not if you’re shopping in the Tech Twilight Zone!

If your furniture home delivery can’t make it through the door, does that mean you automatically receive a credit? Not if you’re shopping in the Tech Twilight Zone!

What happens when the sofa bed you just bought doesn’t fit through the front door?  Pray you didn’t buy it from IKEA.

Let me explain…

My wife and I recently went shopping at IKEA as part of a refresh project for our guest room.

I really love IKEA.
Spending time there is always a fun ‘experience.’
Kind of like going to the circus…
We even brought our three-year-old son along.
(Well, that’s another story.)

That’s the Signpost up Ahead. Your Next Stop… IKEA
We ate some Swedish meatballs, purchased an ‘Ektorp’ sofa bed we really liked and finally walked over to the home delivery counter.

We spoke to a friendly IKEA representative, and he scheduled our new pride and joy to arrive two days later.

It was the perfect shopping experience.
(Plus my wife bought me some IKEA-branded dark chocolate for the ride home.)

All good!

Little Couch Lost
The only problem was we had forgotten to measure the width of our front door.
So when the delivery men showed up, they were sadly unable to get the sofa bed inside our house.
(I’m not really into outside living…)

Off they went, and our sofa bed drove away into the sunset.
And that’s the end of the story, right?

Uhhhh…

The Fifth Dimension Begins
A couple weeks later, my credit card bill arrived.
I took a peek and saw the IKEA charge.
But there was no matching credit listed!
So I pick up the phone.

This Could be Heaven, or This Could be Hell
And at that moment is when I realized IKEA is the opposite of
the Eagles’ ‘Hotel California.’

-You can check out any time you like.
But you can never return!

After answering a series of automated phone questions to determine which IKEA store I had shopped in, a human finally came on the line.

He was quickly able to confirm my story with one minor variant…
His records showed that the sofa bed had been successfully delivered.

I politely disagreed with his version of reality and repeated I was not…
nor had I ever been in possession of their Ektorp.

He politely concluded that there was nothing he could do, and that I would have to return to the store itself and take my ‘story’ to the store manager.

What?!

A bit ruffled, I said, “Well, why don’t we talk to the store manager right now?
Please connect me.”

“I’m sorry, sir. The store doesn’t take phone calls.”

WHAT?!!

I explained the store was a 45-minute drive from my house, and as much as enjoyed visiting, I really wasn’t at all excited to commit myself to another
90 minutes, plus a date with the Swedish court of customer justice.

Was there nothing he could do?

There was not.

And to add insult to injury, his records showed that I had paid by cash…not by credit card. So there was no way for him to issue a credit.
(Huh?!!!)

Click.

A Shopping Dimension as Timeless as Infinity
Okay, so maybe this story is simply about bad customer service.

But shouldn’t technology be able to correctly handle this kind of thing in a nanosecond?

This shouldn’t be hard for IKEA.
More importantly, this shouldn’t be this hard for me…

I decided to email my tale of woe to an IKEA complaint address to see if I could generate a different response.

I could not.
The resolve in their email reply was unwavering:

  • “In regards to your documentation for a refund, it is the store’s discretion whether they will issue that refund/store credit. Once they assess your documentation they will be able to provide you with the options available.”

Entering a Not So Wondrous Land of Imagination
I just couldn’t believe in this age of customer convenience and with IKEA’s shining brand that IKEA was unable to correctly handle their own mistake.
Not without inconveniencing the customer to do the heavy lifting by embarking on a 65-mile quest for a refund.

I suspected the problem lay somewhere between the third-party delivery company and IKEA. I then began conjuring the possibility of an extended epic journey beyond the IKEA store into the forest of evil home-delivery lords.

It wasn’t a pretty picture.

So what’s an innocent IKEA shopper to do?

It’s a Good Life
Then my wife had a brilliant idea:

“Why don’t you just call up your credit card company and dispute the charge?”

“Uhhh… because IKEA told me I had to go to the principal’s office?”

Wait…No!
Must…fight….Swedish…mind control!

A few minutes later, I called up my credit card company and explained my story of woe.

The response…
“No problem!”
(what?)

Within five minutes, I was issued a credit on my bill.
The credit card company would work though the details with IKEA, and if there were any problems with my story, I’d get a call back.

Otherwise, I should consider my problem resolved.

Click.

I sat there… stunned.
That was so easy!

I thanked my wife for her consumer tip and then decided to email IKEA my update.

If the Shoe Fits…
Within minutes, IKEA emailed back:

  • “Please call us at the number provided to report this properly. Via e-mail we cannot document this without having you verbally on the phone giving us permission to access your information.”

IKEA wanted to talk with me…NOW?

I already had my credit. And I was feeling rather done.
So I moved on with the rest of my day… sans phone call.

The Middle Ground Between Light and Shadow
A few weeks later, I received a letter from IKEA.

  • “Thank you for your recent purchase…
    We want to also thank you for allowing us to assist you with your shopping experience…
    We have issued a refund for you…
    Enclosed please find your refund receipt…
    We appreciate your business at IKEA and hope that you will visit us again in the near future.”

I scoured the text in search of the pivotal five-letter word.
No, it was not there.
There was no ‘sorry.’

No hint of an apology.

Well, at least I got money back.
(Oh, yeah. I had already taken care of that…)

At least there was consensus on the whole matter.
A certain balance had been restored to the universe of commerce.

But seriously…

I think IKEA has a weak link when it comes to tracking their home deliveries.
And this is not the first time it’s happened to me.
(Though it’s the first time we couldn’t resolve the problem without bringing in a third party.)

And I acknowledge that the fault may rest more with the delivery company IKEA outsources the work to.

But the bottom line is my transaction went through IKEA.
They should be connecting the dots.

Traveling through Another Shopping Dimension
With all the amazing tech commerce tools available today at the cusp of science fiction, if feels like you’re in the Twilight Zone when a nineteenth century phone call still has the power to both destroy and revive your shopping sanity.

And if you’re wondering if we ever solved the problem presented by our width-challenged front door…
Have no fear.

Crate & Barrel sells a great ‘Rory’ daybed that is delivered ‘unassembled.’
And that’s what we ended up buying.

But get this…
The home delivery guys built the daybed for me as part of the standard delivery fee!
(sweet!)
Not that I couldn’t do it myself.
(grunt)

Cue Rod Serling’s Closing Monologue
So stash this cautionary tale in your smartphone under B for ‘Buyer Beware.’
…The next time you find yourself at home in the Tech Twilight Zone.

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