2 September

Address Removed

Correspondence Team

3rd Floor

Ikea Distribution Center

Kingston Park




Dear Ikea.

My name is David Birch, and at the beginning of July I ordered two products from your website. I'm afraid I don't have the order number available, however your customer service team are capable of pulling up the information on the order from my address. For reference, my order consisted of the following:

1x Expedit bookcase: article number:80071319

2x Ivar Side unit: article number:87489409

8x Ivar Shelf: article number:70095033

Considering my order consisted of two bookcases, I was somewhat surprised to find that the delivery cost for these items was as much as £35, however, your furniture is quite good value on the whole, so I wasn't too concerned to pay this much. Your online ordering service was easy to use, although frustrating in only offering about half of your products. However your delivery team and customer services have provided me with what is undoubtedly the worst shopping experience I've ever had the misfortune to be a part of, and this is why I am writing to you. Given the cost of your delivery I would expect very good service, and the other companies I ordered furniture from at the same time (John Lewis, Staples, CSL, Dreams, the Salvation Army.) all managed to deliver furniture in a timely fashion for less than half the cost.

Let me write out the events that occurred after I placed the order.

Your website states that Saturday deliveries are available, and that customers can phone your customer service to arrange special deliveries. My household consists of four working professionals, so weekday deliveries are difficult for us. In order to accept a weekday delivery, one of us needs to take time off work to accept it. I phoned your customer services to discuss this, (you only seem to be able to do this once you have actually ordered products) and was informed that Saturday deliveries were not available in my area, and even though the delivery schedule ran until 8pm on any day, it would be impossible to ensure a delivery after 5pm, the most accurate estimate of delivery times they can give is "morning" or "afternoon" - I was also told that the earliest delivery slot was in two weeks time.  (over twice as long as your slowest competitor.)

Delivery attempt 1: Wednesday 16 July.

I received a text message in the morning to inform me that I had a morning delivery scheduled, and that I would be contacted an hour before my delivery to warn me of its arrival. At 12:00 I phoned Ikea to query where my order was, and was told it would arrive at 2:00. At 2:00 I phoned again and was told 3:00. At 3:15 I phoned again and was told 5:00. At 5:00 I phoned and was given 6:00 as a delivery time. At 6:15 I phoned and was told it would arrive "soon" and at 7;00 when I phoned I was informed that the delivery team had given up and would be delivering my furniture on the following day.

Delivery attempt 2: Thursday 17 July

Much the same thing occurred as the first delivery attempt, however I phoned Ikea fewer times. In the afternoon I was told that your customer assistants had attempted to contact the drivers directly, and that their phone was switched off. In the evening I was told that the furniture had been damaged in transit, (this worried me,) and that a new delivery would be made the following week.

Delivery attempt 3: Wednesday 23 July.

Again I received a text message in the morning to inform me of a morning delivery. At 12:30 the delivery team arrived and I greeted them at the door, and the driver went to the back of the lorry to unload my furniture. The two man team then proceeded to spend 20 minutes standing around looking at each other in a confused fashion, and occasionally arguing. Eventually they admitted that they didn't think they actually had my delivery on the lorry, and invited me inside it to inspect their contents to see if I could see it. The lorry had very little inside it, and it took me about two minutes to check over everything and confirm that my goods were not on the lorry. The driver then attempted to get me to sign his delivery sheet, and left shortly after I refused.

I phoned Ikea customer services, and as I sat through your automated hold messages I wondered if this would be a good time to add the number to BT friends and family, when I spoke to your assistant, I explained that this was now the third failed delivery and that each time Ikea arranged to deliver furniture we had to arrange for a housemate to take the day off work to collect it. The assistant refused to acknowledge that this was a problem, or that there had been any attempts other than the one that had just failed. I asked to speak to a manager, and she told me that there weren't any in the building, but that she'd take my details and the manager would get back to me as soon as one arrived, nobody phoned me for the rest of the day. 

The next day I phoned up again and managed to speak to a manager. I explained again the situation and he informed me that Ikea would arrange for a new delivery, and try to find out if my furniture was in stock (this worried me.) - No apology was made for the three wasted days. A new delivery was scheduled for "Friday of next week."

Delivery attempt 4. Friday 1 August.

No text message in the morning. One of my housemates had taken a day off work to cover this delivery as I had already taken a few days off. They informed me they hadn't heard anything at midday and I phoned Ikea to check on the status of my order. The assistant told me that they had never scheduled a delivery for that day, and that the delivery was for the following week. No apology was made for the wasted time.

Delivery attempt 5. Friday 8 August.

No text message in the morning. A different housemate was waiting for the delivery. I phoned at midday to ask about the delivery and the assistant told me that the delivery team had attempted to phone me but that my phone was switched off, however this wouldn't affect them and they would deliver anyway within an hour. I phoned again at 2:00 and the assistant said she would phone the delivery team to find out where they were, only their phone was also switched off and they couldn't be contacted. I phoned a third time at 6:00 to find out where my delivery was and was informed it had already been delivered. I asked to speak to a manager and was told that one would get back to me, and was again not contacted for the rest of the day.

The next day I phoned Ikea again, and refused to hang up until I was put in contact with a manager. Eventually the sales assistant put me through, and I explained the above in summary. She told me that Ikea would investigate what had happened on the last attempt, and arrange for a new delivery. I explained again that each time ikea arranged a delivery that someone in my house had to take a day off work to collect, and that there had now been five failed attempts. She apologised for the the inconvenience and offered to personally arrange a new delivery and get back to me with the date. I pointed out that the previous two occasions I had been told a manager would contact me Ikea had not done so. She promised me she would get back to me as soon as she had talked to the delivery company.

I was a little surprised that I was actually called back this time. I was told that a delivery had been arranged for the 20th August. I asked if there was anything I could do to seek compensation for the amount of my time that Ikea had wasted and I was given this address to write to.

I also asked the manager if she could do anything there to compensate me for the terrible service I'd had, or if there was anything she could do to ensure my furniture was actually delivered on the next attempt (I think it is understandable at this point that I was a little frustrated with my previous treatment.) The manager agreed that the delivery service had been terrible, and informed me that Ikea would be refunding the delivery charge. She also told me that she'd look into arranging a priority delivery with the delivery company in order to ensure the furniture arrived earlier than the next booked date. Given that my bank records show me that no refund of your delivery charge was ever made, it doesn't surprise me that the next delivery was in fact scheduled for the 20th August (two months after I placed the initial order.) - at this point I believe Ikea customer services have lied to me over the phone on five occasions.

Delivery attempt 6. Wednesday 20th August.

Again, one of my housemates took the day off work to deal with the order. This attempt strikes me as the most surreal of the six attempts, I suppose in part because I actually received furniture as a result, but also because of the manner in which the delivery team actually behaved when arriving at my house.

I received a text message in the morning informing me of a morning delivery. I was surprised at midday to receive a phonecall from the delivery team informing me that they were on my driveway and that there was nobody in my house. I asked why they hadn't contacted me an hour earlier to warn me and they told me they'd phoned my house and had an answer from my housemate. (I was surprised by this as all previous communication with the delivery team had been through my mobile phone, and I had never given them my house number.) - I asked the man if they had knocked and he said yes, I asked if he'd phoned the house and he said there was no answer and that he was leaving.

I requested the driver give me a moment to sort this out and he said he would leave in two minutes as he was already late for his next delivery. I hung up and phoned my house phone, which was answered immediately. My housemate informed me that when the delivery man had knocked, he had opened the door and greeted him, at which point the man had wandered off down the driveway to make a phonecall. I instructed my housemate to quickly catch the delivery team as they were threatening to drive away, and he managed to convince them to unload my furniture. The delivery team unceremoniously dumped my order in the hallway, and then drove off very quickly.

On returning home I perhaps figured out a reason for the odd behaviour. Looking over the delivery, the expedit bookcase had a significant dent in the top piece. I'm not so concerned about this, as the bookcase is taller than me and I can't see it. The Ivar bookcase was a little worse off however. Two of the eight shelves were delivered without the metal bolts required to actually affix it to the bookcase, and one of the vertical supports is broken in two places. Your website says that the correct thing to do with damaged goods or missing parts is to visit the store with the defective goods and they'll be replaced. I point out that the reason I used the website in the first place is that I don't have a car. I have fixed the Ivar bookcase with a trip to a local hardware store and some carpentry, I figured it'd cost less and be easier than dealing with Ikea customer services again.

It is now two months since I placed the original order. Your delivery team have constantly wasted my time, your customer services have lied to me, and at the end of it all, it has taken you two months and six attempts to deliver me two damaged products. My friends have recommended that I take this to a small claims court to see what legal recourse I have, since it's obvious that your customer service team won't do anything to compensate me for the trouble. Personally I'm actually quite interested to see if you feel any obligation to try and deal with my complaint yourselves. There is some incentive, I have an extensive peer group that consists almost entirely of recent university graduates, who frequently move house at this stage in their lives, and need to buy furniture. Already since I placed my order three different people have asked me if I recommend your services. I am writing this as an open letter that I will put on my website, so I can show it to anyone else who is interested. If you manage to make me a satisfied customer, I'll take it down again. I look forward to a reply by the 16th September.

You can mail me at the above address, or email me at dtb26@cantab.net

Yours sincerely.