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My First IKEA Experience: The Good, the Bad, and the Crazy
By -

I was in the market for a new dining room table and chairs. I had spent the last two months ogling a particular table and chair from IKEA on their website. I was toying with the idea of buying online, but after reading reviews here about their IKEA shipping nightmares and the realization that the cost of sales tax PLUS shipping would be way more than the 10% sales tax in Cook Co., I opted to make the trip to my local IKEA, shopping list in hand. Below is my review of the experience.

Parking: A-. Pretty standard for a large store. To my surprise, I actually got a space just across from the loading area, which would prove useful as you will see below. Finding what I wanted in the showroom: C+. While the chair I was looking for was displayed, the table was not. I was feeling slightly panicked until an employee informed me that the table was available, just not on display in the showroom. Once I got the table reserved in the warehouse, all I had to do was pick up my chairs and make for the checkout. Simple, right?

Getting what I wanted from the self-serve bins: D. The bin that contained my chairs was behind a pillar. That, combined with the fact that I was constantly being bumped into by a group of people and the low lighting in the area, made my job more difficult than it should have been. Fortunately, the chairs were light (only 12 lbs each) and I was able to get them with a little body contortion. The other issue was finding a box that wasn't partially opened. I don't know about you, but I equate a damaged box with potentially damaged or missing items.

The carts: B+. Loved the flatbed trucks maneuverability while in the store. Liked it a little less when it came time to unload things from the cart. Checkout: D-. The only words to describe this was total Bedlam. People were weaving in and out of lines and there were people crossing lanes by cutting around people already in line. This was a total mess. The one thing I did like was the fact that the stylus for signing the screen was on the left-hand side. A rarity for a southpaw like myself. Getting my table from the warehouse: A-. There were no problems with this. I was in and out in less than 5 minutes.

Loading the stuff: D+. The only thing that saves this category from total failure is that the chairs were light and I was able to put two in the front seat and two in the back seat on the floor. The hard part was just getting the things to my car in the first place. Remember that I said that my parking space came in handy? Since there were no ramps allowing me to push my chairs to the car on the hand truck, I had to leave the cart on the loading dock, race to my car and pull it up to the loading dock. All the while keeping one eye on my chairs and the other on the lookout for people who wanted to walk behind my car as I was backing out.

Loading the table was the worst part of all. It weighed 99 lbs and since I refuse to back my car into a parking space (I'm terrible at it), I had to slide the table off the hand truck (this is where that easy maneuverability was more of a curse than a blessing), off the loading dock and around the back to my car. I then had to use my 5 years of nursing experience with moving large people and equipment to lift the box and slide it into the car. It fit -almost. The last 3-4 inches was hanging out of the trunk and I couldn't get the lid to close. Thank goodness I prepared for this and brought a bungee cord to secure the lid for the ride home.

IKEA staff's willingness to help a person with their loading issues: F. When I picked up my table, no one asked if I needed help loading. I know they emphasize customers doing most of the work, but come on! I am a relatively small woman. Not weak-looking by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm only 5'4" for crying out loud. An offer of help would not have been rejected. There were staff milling around all over the loading area. Did any one of them step up and offer a hand? No, of course not. They like to say "you do a little, we do a little." What they should say is, "you do most of it, we'll do the bare minimum."

As I said, thank goodness I've moved far bigger things on my own. Returns: C-. When I got home, I realized that one of the chairs I had bought was the wrong color. So, I had to return to the store the next day and exchange it. The wait for returns was about average. I had number 78 and they were at 61 when I arrived, but I still got up to the counter within 15 minutes. Thank goodness there were places to sit. The low score comes from the fact that they would not let me do an even exchange because I was not exchanging for an item in the same color. Never mind the fact that it was the same style of chair, same price, just stained a different color.

They had to do a return, credit my card (I'm still waiting for the money to hit) and I had to go and purchase the correct chair. So, I had to walk back into the madness that was an IKEA store on a weekend, return to the bin behind the pillar, find a box that wasn't damaged (an even bigger challenge than it was the day before), check that I had the correct color (I checked 3 times) and return to the insanity of the checkout lane. This time, however, I used the self-checkout. Much better. My overall experience with IKEA: C. I'll probably give the store another try at some point in the future, but next time I'll try it during the week.

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Less than stellar service!
By -

ONE BEARD STREET, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK -- Having been to Ikea many times in various states and always having fair customer service I was appalled at the treatment and downright rudeness I was shown today at Ikea's Brooklyn location. I showed up this morning to exchange something I bought 2 days ago from their As-Is section. I bought it primarily because I didn't have time to go through the whole store looking for furniture with my one year old in tow. When the item did not work in my space I looked at the receipt and there was no reference to "exchanging" as-is furniture.

The only reference says no refunds; therefore I loaded the item and my son in the car and drove 35 minutes to the store. Arriving at the store I was told to take a number in which I would proceed to wait 45 minutes to see a sales associate. She was very rude, informed me that they will not take the item back; I tried to explain I just wanted to exchange it for another item in their as-is section. Finally she called her manager which was just as rude and was actually laughing with the girls making a joke of us.

She called the two store managers which explained to her I would have to wait. After waiting for nearly one hour (with my 1 year old) the store managers John and Jason who told me that, yes I was correct that it did not say on the receipt, nor was it posted on the wall behind the counter stating their policies however there is a small sign stating it in the As-Is room.

I explained that one would only see that sign if you happen to go all the way in the room; as I did not because there happens to be so many items, they spill onto the space behind the registers. I tried to explain my point when he abruptly said "I am done talking to you" and told me if I wasn't buying anything I needed to leave. He then called security to escort me out. Wait... this 6 foot 250lb plus man is scared of little 5'6 125lb me and is calling security? Are you kidding?

I asked for the corporate offices address and number. He refused to give me the address instead one of the other managers gave me the 1800 # and he said I could go online and find out for myself the address. When asked what the names of the sales associates/mgrs I spoke to he refused to give me the information saying "I am the only one you need to know and my name is Jason" as he laughed.

I cannot tell you how ignorant and rude this individual was and he is representing the company. This is an embarrassment in this economy. I don't know how any company can survive with this type of disregard to the customers! We are the ones who keep their doors open! Think twice before visiting and purchasing at this location!!!

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Shop Carefully, Take Advantage of "As Is" Section
By -

While I am not a huge fan of cheap furniture, I have to admit I have owned more cheap furniture than not in my lifetime. I'd personally much rather have a second hand bookcase made of real wood over the put it together yourself sawdust and glue model you can find in the same price range. I am also not a "fan" of made in China garbage that is sold so cheaply that you think how do they make it, ship it and sell it and make a profit when it's only 99 cents?? But all that said I have to admit I surprisingly LIKE IKEA.

I will be the 1st person to say, inspect what you are thinking about buying, but of the IKEA items I have purchased through the years, I have to admit they have been worth what I have paid for them. I am not saying everything is or has been of fantastic quality, but it was "worth" the price I paid.

My husband bought me a table and chairs more than 15 years ago, and the table was in the range of $200, and it's still fully functional, some minor damage due to our own fault, and the chairs that he purchased to go with it for $5.95 each is long gone. A $200 table should be expected to last 10+ years, but I think most would agree that a $5.95 chair won't be around as long, and if it were even the most thrifty of us would be shocked.

I enjoy the IKEA shopping experience, but my favorite is the "AS IS" section of the store. It's mostly markdowns on items that were previously in the showroom, or items that have been returned, as well as some great markdowns on items that won't be there next season. Now be forewarned, look carefully before you buy. This is non-returnable merchandise, more than likely it will have a ding/dent/scratch as well as a spot of adhesive where they had display tags on it. I also recommend reading the percentage of discount that is typically on the "as is" sticker and compare to the catalog.

Let me explain. A display cabinet that marked down from 45% of the retail but missing the doors and the shelves isn't a bad discount, when they sell the shelves in the store you can easily say that's a decent discount... But then once you have purchased this item you find the cost of 2 shelves is only about $12 less than cost of a brand new one with all the pieces. Now had I been smart, I would have looked this item up in the catalog first and found that the cost of the 2 replacement shelves were so pricey.

I still shop IKEA and I still shop the AS IS section, but I grab what I "think" I want, and then sit and look it up to make sure it's what I want at a price I want to pay for it. If it turns out it's missing more pieces or more damaged than I thought, I haven't bought it yet, I can still put it back. Always buy items you have seen, wiggled and inspected in the showroom, you will then have a better idea of what type of quality you are getting. Good Luck!

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IKEA Returns and refunds...Ha, Ha, Ha
By -

STOUGHTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- I purchased $600 worth of flooring for my condo. I made my purchase at IKEA of Stoughton, MA. This was "click and lock" flooring and the product was supposed to be very easy for a DIY project. After hiring two separate people to lay the flooring, I decided that I needed to return the product. The people that I paid to help with the floor were knowledgeable "handy-man" types that had experience with many kinds of home projects. Both said that the product was deficient. As we laid a few rows of flooring, the first row would begin to pop up and come apart.

Since the store advertised that you could return this product for any reason, I did not think I would have a problem. I had $500 of my purchase on my credit card and paid the rest in cash. Therefore, I was only looking to be reimbursed for the $500 and was willing to take a loss of the other $100 that I had paid in cash. The reason: even though I had lost the original receipt, I had a print out from the bank that clearly spelled out the purchase that I had made - the date (10/19/08), store code, my credit card numbers, and even the exact time of the purchase, 12:20!

When I returned to the store, just two weeks exactly from the date I purchased the flooring, I was met with their "STORE POLICY" regarding returns. Without the ORIGINAL receipt you cannot get your money returned, regardless of any other kind of proof of purchase!

I spoke with two people in Returns & Exchanges. The second of the two was very curt and in the space of about 30 seconds, stated that without the original receipt I could only get a store credit for the returned merchandise and that, additionally, I could only get the "sale price" of 49/sq. ft. - that was the sale within the last 90 days. She did not even have to look up any price list or the name of the product, etc. That told me that this store was completely familiar with this defective product and had probably had several exchanges, which allowed them to be so familiar with its "sale price".

I had paid $1.99/sq. ft. I explained that they had no other product that worked any better than the one I had purchased, as they carry only click-and-lock flooring. They didn't even sell a carpet product that I could put down. I was stuck with cement sub-flooring in my home, with no money to be able to put another type of flooring down. They gave me a store credit for $228 and said that if I found the original receipt, I could bring it back to be exchanged for cash.

I feel that this is outrageous. I know very well how businesses work as I am a Marketing Director for a healthcare facility. Their statement that they needed an original receipt was explained as the only way they could be sure that I had indeed purchased the merchandise at their store and how much I had paid, etc. Well, I feel that I proved that.

Additionally, I showed that actual cash had been released through my bank to IKEA, so that they had confirmation that they were actually paid for the credit card transaction. If the situation had been reversed and I had used a credit card that was not good and the transaction did not follow through, you can bet they would be looking for payment from me. In that case, the original receipt would mean nothing to them! I have a basement level condo and no flooring...it's getting cold.

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No Customer Service!!!
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI -- The St. Louis store gave me a customer service #, 3 times on hold over 1 hour each, never talked yet. No response to my e-mails either. Still trying, horrible waste of time.

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Terrible Treatment by Non Motivated Cashiers
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA -- Dear Readers, Used to a decent treatment by Ikea employees in other parts of the world. The experience in Charlotte is awful. Disrespectful, arrogant and a reason to stay away. Besides that Ikea has the attitude to let customers wait... and wait. Perhaps business is too good. Perhaps some lessons for the local management team would serve the customers. Including a crash course friendly customer behavior with a NC SMILE. And in case local management get angry... this is a opinion of a customer.

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DIS-GRUNDTALED - Ikea's GRUNDTAL Lights Don't Work
By -

You need a suction cup to change a lightbulb? I purchased a set of 4 individual GRUNDTAL lights for over my wardrobe. When I got home, I found out that the lights required additional cords and device to connect them that was not indicated on the package. But the kicker is that because the bulb fits so snugly into the shield around it, it requires a little suction cup to change the lightbulb (which is supplied with the light). I tried and I tried, but I could not get the suction cup turn with the bulb. Despite being securely suctioned to the bulb, it came off every time. Thinking that perhaps just that bulb was stuck, I tried it with another GRUNDTAL light, but that did not work either.

This product, the GRUNDTAL light DOES NOT WORK. Save yourself the aggravation and DO NOT BUY IT. It is incredible how IKEA is able to get away with selling a light for which it is impossible to change the lightbulb.

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Pargel Countertops Are Very Poor Quality
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RICHMOND, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- We purchased a Pragel countertop from Richmond, BC store only to discover on installation day that it had a 6 inch flaw on the surface. As we had the carpenter on site and a deadline, we had to cut out a large section and butt another piece to it to complete the counter. I now have a large seam with caulking just inches from our sink. We live on Vancouver Island and had the kitchen delivered so had to deal with IKEA by phone. IKEA made it very difficult to register a complaint: many 20-minute wait phone calls, e-mails etc. and about 7 weeks later IKEA decided to refund us for only part of the cost.

Customer service was rude and challenged me about the validity of my claim. I was left feeling humiliated and ripped off. Absolutely shocking service. Furthermore, our carpenter was appalled by the thinness of the countertop material, and the course chip board used on the interior. One little knife cut and the interior will be exposed to water.

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Ikea Must Adapt To American Market Not The Opposite
By -

SUNRISE, FLORIDA -- On 1/8/10, I went to IKEA, since they were having a sale, to buy the following product: DVALA Fitted sheet RED, at the Sunrise Store in Broward County Florida. They didn't have any but was told to come back the next day which I did since they would more merchandise coming in. Before leaving home, I went online and checked their inventory at the following web page: **. It read "This product will be in stock: Today Jan 9". As I write this, it still says they have 24 available. It's 1/9/10 at 10:44 ET. I also called on the phone to make sure of the accuracy of the online information. They confirmed it.

So I went to the store, 5 minutes away from my home, and when I got there I couldn't find any. I asked for help and a manager looked up the product in their system and it showed they had 16 available but no one knew where the merchandise was. After attempting for 20 minutes I asked for a "Rain-Check" as it is usual in our American stores, specially if it is their fault, and was told that "WE ARE NOT AN AMERICAN STORE" and that they had their own rules and policies, therefore I would not get a "Rain-Check".

This is not the kind of customer service we should get from a foreign company making a fortune in the American market. If we do not accept it from our own American stores why should we from IKEA? Let's start a campaign where they have to adapt to American values and habits, just as American companies have to do it in foreign markets. ENOUGH is ENOUGH!

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IKEA Has the Worst & Most Deceptively Written Return Policy
By -

DENVER, COLORADO -- While browsing their store, you will notice an abundance of signs stating "It's OK to change your mind", and "If you are not entirely satisfied with your purchase, simply return the unused item in its original packaging within 90 days". Please know that if you remove any IKEA item from the original package what-so-ever, the item can be considered "used" & non-refundable.

Case in point: We attempted to return a brand new coffee table. There was nothing wrong with this table; we just simply decided it wasn't quite what we wanted. I called the store to inquire whether or not I needed to disassemble the table & repackage it before returning it. I was told, "We prefer you do not attempt to repackage the item to avoid damaging it, and we will need to inspect the item before refunding you"€. This seemed reasonable enough. After arriving at IKEA'€™s returns/exchanges department, we were told "€œBecause this item was initially removed from the packaging, this item is considered "used" & is non-refundable."€

Please note that I had my original receipt, all original packaging, was well within the 90 day return policy limit, and yes, the table was returned in excellent condition. Further, we noticed a set of bath towels we purchased from IKEA became splotchy & quickly lost their color (bad dye perhaps?) immediately after their 1st use & subsequent air drying. We also attempted to return these (same trip as above to the Centennial location in Denver, CO) and we were told we could not return the items due to their condition. I reasserted that their condition was precisely why I was returning the item, and that I would also be content with an exchange.

Again, the IKEA associate insisted she couldn't exchange or refund the items due to their condition. She also made the most curious statement: "I've never seen anyone return towels for this issue." Followed by: "Some of the people who have tried to return discolored towels simply decided to give them away as gifts, and that perhaps you should consider doing the same."!? Moving up the ladder, we contacted the supervisor, and while initially polite he quickly became condescending & continued to apologize for my inability to understand their "€˜simple"€™ return policy.

Just know, once IKEA has your money, there'€™s little chance of getting it back, period. You may get offered store credit if lucky, and that'€™s assuming you'€™d be willing to return. IKEA'€™s inability to resolve a relatively simple issue, simply left me leaving the store exceptionally irritated and with the conviction of never returning.

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IKEA Rating:
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1.2 out of 5, based on 59 ratings and
169 reviews & complaints.
Contact Information:
IKEA
400 Alan Wood Rd
Conshohocken, PA 19428
1-888-888-4532 (ph)
www.ikea.com/us/en/
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