In August 2011 I made good on a promise to our teenage daughter to repaint and spruce up a room for she and her friends to “hang out” in the basement of our old house. When it was all done I agreed to trip to Ikea to get a futon, some chairs, a TV stand, etc. After the usual hours of assembly with Ikea things it all looked great, at least for a few months. One day she and her older brother mentioned to me that there was something wrong with the futon. On examination I discovered that the frame supporting the seat cushion had broken squarely in the middle (see photo) making it completely unusable as a couch.
So I proceeded to look for receipts, take pictures and prepare myself for the long drive to Ikea in Bolingbrook where we had purchased it. Here’s the rest of the sad tale in chronological order:
August 17, 2012 (Friday) – drove to Ikea Bolingbrook with photos and my detailed transaction receipt from American Express (I was still looking for the itemized receipt) and waited for an hour in customer service. The genuinely nice Ikea person agreed that they should do something but said I should call customer service and ask them to start a “SAMS case” but that she couldn’t do it without my itemized receipt. She told me that they couldn’t look up the purchase even with the transaction number and other data. I went home and called customer service where I sat listening to music for an hour until finally giving up.
August 18, 2012 (Saturday) – refreshed from a good night’s sleep, I called customer service, waited 45 minutes and finally reached a representative. I explained my problem and she promptly told me that she had to transfer me to someone else to set up the SAMS case. After another 30 minutes on hold, I gave up.
August 19, 2012 (Sunday) – Having given up on calling I searched the Ikea web site until I found an actual e-mail address for customer service. It took 15 minutes and I’m web savvy so I suspected that that they really didn’t want to hear from customers. I was correct. I wrote the attached e-mail and put it out my mind for a few days.
August 29, 2012 (Wednesday) – Having gotten no response to my e-mail (not even a confirmation that it had been received) I forwarded the slightly irritated 2nd request to initiate a SAMS case.
September 6, 2012 (Thursday) – Having gotten not so much as a confirmation that they had received either of my e-mails, I forwarded my “fed up” 3rd request to initiate a SAMS case where I set a deadline for a reply and the consequences if I didn’t get a response. The deadline was September 10.
September 10, 2012 (Monday) – finally a response from a real person! Well maybe. I got the next e-mail in the chain on Monday afternoon September the 10th at 2:42 PM from someone identified as Richard. Interestingly it had been marked sent by Ikea on September 2. Probably stuck in someone’s outbox. He agreed that they should make good on it but then directed me to go back to the store and start over. It’s not clear that he had read that I had already been to the store. I wrote back to tell him this and confirm that all I wanted was the part to repair our useless futon. I got an immediate (robot?) response saying that they had already replied and that I should take “it” back to the store.
September 13, 2012 (Thursday) – I disassembled the futon and used my lunch break to take it back to the Bolingbrook store late this morning. I was seen immediately but the representative said that she would have the department manager look at it. The department manager agreed that it was a manufacturing defect but said that they didn’t have the part. So I asked the her what they could do. She said that she would get the store manager who eventually showed up. She said, in essence, we can’t give you the part because we don’t make this one anymore. Then she said that “we don’t warranty these things. You have to return it with a receipt within 90 days”. Let’s just say it was a testy conversation but her concluding statement was (paraphrased) “Regardless of the circumstances, we can’t do anything for you because I have rules I have to follow.” Ah, clarity.
This is a $300+ futon so while the money is important, the thing that irritates me most is that they seem to want customers to lose interest in getting fair treatment by a system designed to keep customers waiting. After all of the effort I put in at the suggestion of Ikea employees to get this put right, the manager tells me that they never had an obligation to do anything for me unless I showed up in customer service within 90 days with the original receipt.
As to what I want, I originally said all I wanted was the part so I could repair our futon. Since that’s not possible, I suppose I’d take a an equivalent couch. But after all I’ve been through I think that the only thing I will get is the satisfaction of not doing business with Ikea again and advising others to avoid them (or at least being extra vigilant if they do).
Hopefully someone else might benefit from this miserable experience.
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