Alberta Furniture Co. Ltd.

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Furniture Not Delivered, Deposit of 3.5 K Not Returned, Rude Sale Service
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CALGARY -- We bought a bedroom suite from Alberta Furniture Co. Ltd, 7300 Railway Street S.E., Calgary, worth $7K, and made a deposit of $3.5 K, with a promised delivery of within 2 to 3 weeks from the purchase date in late December, 2007.

Thirteen weeks have gone by, we still have not received the items. Multiple phone calls have been made by us, most of which were not returned. When occasional contacts were made, we were given promises of delivery within a few days. After not seeing the furniture, I went to the store. After checking the computer, the salesperson from whom we purchased the suite, told me that the furniture had been shipped from Toronto and that she would give me a call later in the day with the bill of lading. I did not get any phone call from her. When my wife called the store later in the week, she was told by another person that the items had not been shipped. Frustrated by this runaround, I left a message with the manager and that phone call was not returned. Finally, we went to the store and talked with the manager, who denied receiving the message. He could not find any record of shipment in the computer. Our request for a refund of the deposit was declined until he had an opportunity of checking the status of the shipment three days later. The exchange with the manager at one point was also unpleasant, as he asked me to keep my voice down or else he would ask me to leave the store and that would be the end of the discussion. When I said I might file a complaint in the internet for the unacceptable after-sale service, he tried to intimidate me by giving me his business card to show me who he was. The card shows he is the Vice President, Sales and Marketing, General Counsel of Alberta Furniture Co. Ltd. It is my understanding that he is also in a senior management position with Eisenbergs's furniture, owned by the same family, across from the Alberta Furniture Co. Ltd. He said that he is a lawyer, that his family owns the business for generations, and that he would file a defamation suit against me if I file complaints.

I went to the Alberta Furniture Co. Ltd, Calgary store to buy a bedroom furniture to add a little pleasure to our life and did not have any inkling that we would go through this hassle and unpleasant customer service, unbecoming of reputable customer-oriented businesses in the western world. Throughout all this runaround, both I and my were polite and patient. This however was taken as a sign of weakness and no useful actions were taken to address our phone calls after calls. When we got frustrated with false promises and misleading information, and asked for a refund of the deposit, and expressed our intention of filing a complaint in the internet, we were treated rudely and threatened with a lawsuit.

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User Replies:
Anonymous on 04/06/2008:
I would sue in court regardless of his threat to file a defamation suit.
Bimmer49 on 04/09/2008:
After checking with the shipper, the manager contacted us to let us know that the furniture would not be shipped for another three to four weeks. He offered us the option of getting the full deposit refunded, which we accepted.
Bimmer49 on 04/12/2008:
The manager (also the owner) has refunded the deposit as he promised. We are happy that we got the money back, unhappy that we do not have the furniture we liked.

The lessons we learnt from this episode are as follows:

1. Should have been more active in tracking the order.

2. Should have read BBB site before dealing with the store. Although this store has a satisfactory BBB rating, it had 15 complaints in three years, all resolved according to BBB.

3. Should have documented the conversation with the salesperson, the supplier and the owner. We finally documented our conversation with the supplier by summarizing the conversation, then forwarding it to the supplier to respond if we had captured it correctly. In our case, the supplier gave us information that helped our case by showing that the saleperson did not tell the supplier what to do with the order for three months after she had been told that the night tables did not come with marble tops anymore. Three months later after our frequent calls, she decided to order the furniture without marble tops without bothering to get our consent. The supplier also told us that the shipment would not be made for another three to four weeks.

4. Should have talked to the the manager sooner. Managers are more concerned about the long-term impact of a bad customer experience on the business. They have the right skills and training for dealing with complaints.
590268004 on 07/01/2008:
"... as he asked me to keep my voice down or else he would ask me to leave the store and that would be the end of the discussion."

If you were yelling at him (or his staff) he has every right to ask you to be a bit quieter, or leave the store. Some common sense and manners are in order here. If you're going to berate him (by yelling) he's not going to receive that well. Would you receive me well if I was yelling at you? I'll leave you with this; if it's not acceptable for him to due to you, it's not acceptable for you to due to him. Simple as that.
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