Honora sent a message to Peter Agne President and CEO, IKEA – email address that said:
I am writing to you to express my dissatisfaction with your products and customer services.
On Tuesday this week (10 May) I went to Ikea in Warrington to purchase a Brimnes double bed with headboard for storage for my daughter which, as part of a re-vamp of her bedroom, was meant to be a surprise for her birthday on Thursday 12 May.
We purchased the bed and headboard along with a number of other items (the bill came to almost £400) and my son took time off studying for his law exams on Thursday to assemble it for her whilst she was at school and I was at work.
The first thing my son discovered (step 1 of assembling the headboard) was that there was a vital part of it missing and he rang your customer services to try and sort the problem out. The best they could offer was delivery by courier and that would take about 3-4 days. He tried to sort out a lift to Warrington (a round trip of over 50 miles) but was unable to and so he rang me at work to break the bad news. By the time this had all taken place it was midday and he had lost 3 hours of his allocated time to assemble the bed.
I then rang customer services to try and find a solution. The best they could offer was the 3-4 day courier service or for me to return to the store to collect the part and reimburse my travelling expenses. As we had a family party for my daughter that night, the soonest time I could make the journey was Friday evening after work; a time usually sacrosanct to me since it is my only free evening in the week when I can relax.
I reluctantly agreed to that hoping to salvage some of the surprise element by at least presenting my daughter with a new bed when she got home from school. Sadly, because of the delayed start, what she was greeted with was a chaotic scene more akin to a building site than a bedroom. During the assembly it also transpired that one of the drawers was faulty and that too had to be replaced.
I duly made the trip to Warrington after work on Friday, taking my daughter with me and, after what seemed like hours of sorting parts out, we finally arrived at the stage where I asked for my travel expenses. I have to say I found this slightly embarrassing and would have expected that the money would have been proffered to me without my having to beg for it. The supervisor who grudgingly granted me the money offered the princely sum of £7 for my journey despite the fact that, in addition to the fuel consumption (bearing in mind I have a 4 wheel drive vehicle), I had to travel through the Mersey Tunnel at a cost of £1.70 each way. The lady concerned made a great deal of the fact that it was a goodwill gesture on her behalf and by no means company policy. I pointed out that I had demonstrated a large amount of good will myself by returning to the store to remedy Ikea’s mistake and saving the company the cost of a courier. (I seem to remember I was charged a minimum fee of £9 for the last item I had delivered by Ikea.)
She became more and more hostile as I tried to present my case, ending our conversation by saying she would be ringing the person who had made me the promise of reimbursing my expenses; presumably in order to give him a dressing down.
We then went to the off-site warehouse to pick up the parts and eventually left for the long journey home at 10.30 p.m., arriving there just before midnight.
So to recap; in return for
1. Choosing to shop at your store in the first place
2. Remedying your mistake for you
3. Giving up my one free evening – at the end of a long week at work
4. Making a 50 mile round trip to Warrington
5. Spending in excess of £20 to make the journey
6. Having my daughter’s birthday surprise completely ruined
7. Saving you company the cost and trouble of employing a courier to deliver the item
…your employee deemed it an appropriate gesture to offer me 14p per mile travel expenses (total value £7).
If you agree with her decision then I feel your sense of fair play is slightly off-kilter and I would no longer wish to do business with you.
May I also add that I have spent several thousand pounds at this store over recent years and would normally look to returning there in the future. However, given this travesty - and the expanding range of similar products now on offer at BQ - I will be considering other options from now on.
I look forward to your response.