Jun 5 2009
Yesterday I was shopping in the IKEA in Boucherville. I started by returning a $12.99 IKEA 365 sauce pan, of which the handle had broken off the second time my wife used it. It had been sitting some time on my things to do shelve, but since I hadn’t been to IKEA in a while I hadn’t returned it for a replacement.
After a short wait (as you know that isn’t always the case) I showed my sauce pan to the service representative. “Do you have a receipt,” she asked. I explained that I had bought for more than 10,000 dollars at IKEA last year (I installed some kitchens and a bathroom for people) and that it probably was on one of those long receipts, but very hard to find if you don’t know the exact product code. On a previous occasion I experienced that even IKEA staff has sometimes a hard time finding things on long receipts.
She told me, and not very nicely I must say, that without a receipt she couldn’t do anything for me. I explained again that I didn’t want my money back, I just wanted another sauce pan. In my experience IKEA’s service and return policy was very good. Not now, not with this girl. I explained again that I had too many receipts to find this product. She would probably not like it when I brought them all and she would have to weed through them finding a needle in a haystack. No dice, she refused to be lenient.
Okay, off I went inside, with the sauce pan in my bag, and bought for almost $3000 worth of kitchen cabinets, the start of a new kitchen project. After that I had to wait an hour for the pickers to get all the items (110 packages) from the warehouse. So I went inside again to grab a lunch in the restaurant and to shop a bit for myself. I happen to pass the kitchen wares in the Marketplace and decided to buy a new sauce pan. I also bought some other things.
After I paid and walked towards the pickup counter I passed the return counter again and there was still the same girl working and only one other person waiting. So I pushed the button on the number-tickets machine and waited for my turn.
When it was my turn I greeted the girl and said: “It’s me again!”. I showed her the sauce pan again and she asked if I had found the receipt. I said: “No, I just bought another one,” and showed her the receipt of the new pan. She was a bit perplexed and said she was going to ask her manager. It took more then 5 minutes before she came back, much to the annoyance of the people that were waiting behind me, who saw a completely deserted Service Counter.
She wasn’t alone, but had her manager in toe. The manager spoke in continental French to me: “Sir, you have to leave. I accuse you of fraudulent behaviour. I informed security and you can never come back here again.”
“Wow,” I said, “you are a bit exaggerating here.” But she went on for a while but not all of her words reached me since I was just too perplexed. I was so upset I thought for a moment to tell her to call the police if she really thought I was a fraud. I would have liked to see the faces of the police officers that would have to waste their time with somebody who just wanted to return a defective sauce pan.
But I had more to do that day, like trying to fit those 110 packages into my car and transport them back to Montreal. So I just took my sauce pan and the receipt from her and walked away. Inside however, I was very, very angry. Angry that I wasn’t helped to my satisfaction and even angrier because somebody had dared to call me a fraud. Believe me, if I wanted to defraud IKEA I wouldn’t do it with a $12.99 sauce pan.
At home (yes, the 100 packages did fit in my car, albeit with difficulty) I was still angry and upset, so I decided to write this letter. I also published it on my weblog.
I always have had good experiences with IKEA, and with IKEA’s return policy. I buy a lot and return some of it, since there is always something that isn’t exactly like I wanted or something that doesn’t exactly fit in.
If I can’t return things anymore, or if I can’t even be in your stores anymore, you lose a very loyal and frequent customer. Over the past 5 years I think I bought for tens of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise.
So my question is, was this manager out of line, or is this really then new face of IKEA? I surely hope it’s not the latter, since then I need to find a new supplier for the kitchens I install for my clients.
I expect an apology.