IKEA shoppers fed up with company’s customer service



The iconic IKEA logo. Photo: Flickr Commons.

Chelsea Jacobson awaited the arrival of her bed and dresser one Saturday in September. She’d purchased the items in the IKEA Brooklyn store twelve days before, and couldn’t wait to finally be done with sleeping on the floor of her apartment. She needed to be well rested as she headed to her writing job in Hell’s Kitchen.

Although she’d been given a delivery window for the furniture to arrive, her bed and dresser never came.

She contacted the shipping company, XPO Logistics, to get an update on the status of her items, but XPO notified her that IKEA had never supplied the order. Jacobson contacted IKEA numerous times and eventually found out it could take an additional 4-6 weeks for her items to arrive, as they had been misplaced.

Jacobson joins the ranks of customers who have fallen victim to IKEA’s troubled customer service. After attempts to contact the company via email and phone proved unsuccessful, she turned to Twitter to voice her complaints and warn others, only to find thousands of similar tweets concerning IKEA. From no-show deliveries to damaged packages and failed assembly, IKEA is leaving a trail of frustrated customers who are simply unable to get the company to respond to their complaints. And there doesn’t seem to be anything IKEA is doing to improve its service.

Jacobson talked with various case managers at IKEA, each offering a different solution to her issue, none of which actually resulted in the delivery of her items or compensation. Eventually she got her own vehicle and picked up the items herself.

Cat Jackson, who works as a project manager at a digital product studio in Chelsea, felt frustrated by IKEA’s delivery process, especially since her job focuses on workflow and communication. On September 15, two weeks after her originally scheduled delivery date, she received half of her items after spending hours on the phone with XPO and IKEA representatives pleading her case for delivery.

The couch she received was so dirty and the bed frame was so damaged that she jam-packed the items into her Kia Soul the next day and returned them to the store. Three weeks after her scheduled delivery date, not one of her items had been successfully delivered. “It was difficult if not impossible to reach IKEA customer service during this entire experience,” said Jackson. “The reality is no one would have taken any reasonable measures to provide me with satisfactory service if I hadn’t raised a fuss.” Yet she is still waiting for her other items.

IKEA delivered a dirty couch to customer Cat Jackson. Photo: Cat Jackson.

Despite what seems to be mass customer dissatisfaction, IKEA has an A-plus ranking by the Better Business Bureau, the private non-profit organization that tracks best practices for companies. According to BBB’s website, a company’s ranking factors in a range of criteria such as compliance, length of time in business, and marketplace transparency, but not customer reviews, which are posted separately on the site. For IKEA, the average customer review is one star, the lowest rating possible. There are also 1,111 complaints in the last 12 months.

While thousands of complaints may seem alarming, according to IKEA’s website, in 2017 IKEA had 2.3 billion website visits, and 935 million store visits. The company generated 38.3 billion Euros in sales, 14 percent of which came from the United States, the company’s second largest consumer behind Germany. And IKEA was ranked 40th on Forbes Most Valuable Brands list in 2018.

Some IKEA customers put the blame on XPO Logistics, but other furniture companies that contract with XPO don’t have the same shipping and delivery issues. West Elm, with locations on West 18th and West 66th streets, used XPO Logistics for its white glove delivery service, in which customers pay $129 for delivery, assembly, and clean up for orders below $1,000, and $229 for items above $1,000.

Constance Williams, a West Elm customer service representative, said her company doesn’t have delivery issues like IKEA because it’s more transparent with delivery protocol, such as emailing individuals at every step of the process, from item arrival at the warehouse to being out for delivery.

Jaakko Timonen, founder of the consumer advocacy company No No No, started his business to give consumers a voice when attempting to resolve issues with large companies. “No No No acts as a public middleman, giving the consumer empowerment while also operating with integrity towards the company,” said Timonen, in a phone call. His company has had success getting issues resolved with IKEA in Finland and in New York City, and will soon be publishing an open letter to IKEA stating what they can do to win back customers it has neglected, he added.

XPO did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Attempts to speak to IKEA’s customer service were unsuccessful, but the following automated message was provided: “We are experiencing higher than normal contact volumes, and are unable to take your call at this time… Thank you for calling IKEA.”