Help! IKEA's Delivery Guys Smashed My iPod!

Reader Belinda’s iPod and a few accessories were smashed by some delivery guys contracted by IKEA. When she tried to file a claim for the $500 worth of damage they did, she got the runaround until she eventually gave up and wrote to us.

Belinda writes:

In early July my roommates and I visited an IKEA store in Schaumburg, IL. We spent over $1000 on furnishings that day, opting to have much of it shipped to our apartment in a week. On July 13, movers arrived and carried 14 boxes up to our second floor apartment. I arrived on the scene halfway through the delivery process. They carried boxes in and we pointed them either to the living room or my bedroom to set them down. We checked them off as they carried them in the door, not as they set them in the correct room. They hurriedly asked for initials and left. We grabbed lunch and returned an hour later to begin the long assembly process. I asked my friend to put music on in my room. She reappeared with my 60gb iPod Video, completely smashed.

I had purchased an iHome just the day before, and it was sitting on the floor next a lamp I had purchased at IKEA and taken home (rather than having it delivered). The iPod was docked on top of the iHome, and a long heavy box of wood had been dropped on it. It fell onto a wall outlet as well, cracking the casing and completely bending the prongs of the cords plugged into it sideways. I used pliers and fixed the lamp and iHome’s electrical plugs, but the iHome was damaged beyond repair. The iPod dock on the top no longer functions at all, and the internal clock is now unable to distinguish between AM and PM, rendering this equipment a 60-dollar paperweight.

I called IKEA that day and presumably filed a case, because I was promised a return call the next day. I received no such call, and on July 15 I sent this message to IKEA through their online feedback form:

My IKEA order was shipped by Encenda on Sunday morning (7/13). I promptly contacted IKEA that day when I found that the movers had dropped a heavy box of wood from my MALM bed frame onto a wall outlet, iPod, and iHome speaker deck, breaking all of them. The outlet is cracked. My landlord assessed that we’d need new plastic casing. The iPod is completely shattered. I bought it for $399. The iHome’s top connector the iPod was sitting in no longer functions. The iHome was purchased just the day before for $60. Considering the mass amount of damage done, I need to get in contact with someone who can help me receive some sort of compensation. Surely IKEA has an insurance policy with Ensenda. I called the day of the incident and was promised a return call the next day. I received nothing, so this is my second attempt at getting results. My phone number is [redacted] Thank you.

- Belinda [redacted]

Later that day I received this:

Hello Belinda,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We do apologize for any difficulty that you may have experienced.

Please call the Schaumburg store at 847-969-9700, to present a case to management of this matter. If you already have a case please give them the case number.

We do apologize for any inconvenience, and we thank you for your inquiry.

Best Regards, Beldian
IKEA Customer Care Center

I promptly did just that, and after being transferred to enough different people that I had no idea who I was talking to, I finally spoke to someone who could possibly help me. She asked for a detailed account of what happened, which I relayed to her. She repeated it all back to me slowly and typed furiously, leading me to believe she was filing some sort of report on my behalf. Once we finished, she promised I’d be contacted “in a few weeks.” I waited three weeks, received no response, and decided it was time to call to check on the status of my complaint. On August 12, I began my foray into IKEA’s customer service yet again.

The first call was spent trying to locate my case. I gave my name, address, and phone number in every way shape and form, to no avail. I explained that I’d never been given a case number, but explained the situation in detail to other representatives. I said I didn’t know if I was talking to IKEA or Encenda (the moving company), to which she hastily replied, “Oh no, whoever would have sent you to them was wrong. This is an IKEA issue, not the moving company’s. They have nothing to do with it.”

She put me on hold to ‘check on something,’ and after waiting 3 or 4 minutes, I heard a dialtone. She’d hung up on me. I called again and explained that I was trying to locate my case and was unaware of whether my property damage case should be taken up with IKEA or the moving company. She assured me that it was the moving company’s issue and said she’d put me on hold to get a hold of the moving company. She hung up on me.

I called again and got a man who seemed genuinely concerned with my situation. I explained that I had just called two other times trying to locate a case that obviously did not exist, and insisted on filing a new one and starting fresh. He kept saying we’d “take care of this situation” and that everything would get resolved. I sat on the line with him in silence for about 5 straight minutes before he cut back in, making sure I was still there. When I affirmed this, he asked if he could put me on hold to contact the Schaumburg store (isn’t that who I called?!) to which I loudly responded no before he put me on hold anyway a second later. I sat on hold for 45 minutes before I hung up and called the IKEA customer service line the fourth time. This woman checked and found a case that had been filed that evening (presumably by the man before he put me on hold for 45 minutes), and I asked for a phone number to the moving company. She got it for me and gave me a case number (finally!) before hanging up. She’d promised I’d hear something in 24 hours.

Sure enough, this time I got a response. I received a voicemail from a woman in IKEA’s claims department informing me that she put a claim in with the delivery company because “they really don’t have anything to do with property claims.” I crossed my fingers and hoped that I’d hear from the movers, seeing as IKEA was the middleman in this situation and they hadn’t done so well in getting my message across. Amazingly, I received a voicemail from a woman representing what I assume is the moving company. Cindy [redacted] from Veteran’s Messenger service claim department… “just to follow up on this after investigating and pulling paperwork, there was no documentation on any paperwork that any items were damaged during this delivery, therefore we are denying the claim. If you have any questions, feel free to contact IKEA.”

So I’m not supposed to contact the movers, I’m supposed to contact IKEA. Again. I promptly called her back and asked who exactly I should be talking to in order to receive compensation for the $500-worth of damage done to my personal belongings. She said there was something missing in the documentation, therefore the movers were entitled to deny any wrongdoing.

I opted to not contact IKEA. Long story short, movers dropped a heavy box on my electronics, obviously breaking them, then picked up the box and scurried out without mention of damage. I called IKEA that day to file a claim, was ignored, called 5 more times before finally getting a real case filed, was told that IKEA isn’t responsible, was sent to the moving company’s claims department, then was denied any wrongdoing by the moving company because IKEA hadn’t filed some sort of paperwork.

This is just blatant passing of the blame back and forth, not to mention a slew of customer service representatives who seemed to be confused. Half of them assured me it was the moving company’s fault, half of them assured me it was an IKEA issue completely. Now I have an apartment completely furnished by IKEA that I wish I never would have purchased. The furniture itself was a little under a thousand dollars, but adding in delivery charges and the damage, I spent around $1600 on this stuff. Pay close attention to your deliveries. It’s been a few months and I’ve spent hours on the phone, but now understand I’ll never be compensated for this disaster delivery. I have every piece of paper & receipt along with my shattered iPod and outlet casing prominently displayed so that I never forget the price of all this furniture. It’s also served as a great segue into a heated explanation of my hatred for IKEA whenever a passer-by asks what happened.

We think that since you have a business relationship with IKEA and IKEA only, you should deal with them. Now, obviously that hasn’t worked too well, but we recommend taking the following steps.

Write a very concise EECB (Executive Email Carpet Bomb) detailing the chain of events that you describe here. For more information about launching an EECB, click here. You need to reach someone at IKEA who actually knows what to do in this situation, and is able to file accurate paperwork.

If that doesn’t work, and it may not, consider filing a small claims lawsuit against IKEA. It’s easy and inexpensive, and it will make you feel better about your furniture if you win. Also, IKEA might not even show up, and you may get a default judgment.

Here are some email addresses to try, and some information about small claims court. Good luck.

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Jthmeffy says:

    Yay, you spend $399 on a 60GB 5th Gen iPod.. Guess what? It isn’t worth that anymore.. The most they should have to do (in regards to the ipod) is to offer you the basic cost of what it would be to replace the item from, lets say, Best Buy. I would go after them for $250 for the iPod (brand new 80GB gen 6) and the other items..

  2. dahlberg123 says:

    Snds lk smn nds t lrn t tk bttr cr f thr stff. Y hv mvrs cmng vr wth lrg, hvy bxs y shld hv bn smrt ngh t mv stff t f th wy s tht t wldn’t gt brkn.

  3. pine22 says:

    try calling your local news station, that will get this problem solved

  4. trekwars2000 says:

    S th dlvry cmpny dlvrs th tms nd th P sgns fr thm (nd prsmbly) n dmg. Thn vr n hr ltr fnds dmg?

    f ws bsnss wld dny th clm s wll – wht s t sy th P ddn’t dstry thr Pd ftr th fct?

    • eelmonger says:

      @trekwars2000: I got here after you had been disemvoweled, but I think you had the right idea. There’s a very good chance that the paperwork she signed cleared the movers and IKEA of any responsibility which would make it really hard to win a small claims case (if it got to trial). OP can still try and EECB for the amount the iPod was worth (as others have pointed out), but let this be a lesson: read what you sign.

  5. crashfrog says:

    Yeah, it sounds like the movers broke a bunch of her stuff and then pressured her to sign off on the delivery before she’d had a chance to inspect the items or the premises, so that the mover guys wouldn’t have had to file any paperword on the damage – thus, giving the delivery company the opportunity to deny the claim based on the lack of paperwork.

    The basic idea here is that the delivery company takes its own word on whether or not it broke something, and – what a surprise! – they don’t think they broke anything at all.

    I’d file in small claims court.

    Yay, you spend $399 on a 60GB 5th Gen iPod.. Guess what? It isn’t worth that anymore..

    Says who? Depreciation of electronics is an insurance-company scam. A car depreciates, sure – as it ages, the engine becomes less efficient, the maintenance becomes more expensive, the brakes go out, whatever. It makes sense that the value of a car declines with time because the function of the car declines with time.

    But the iPod either works or it doesn’t. If the value of its function was worth $399 when it was purchased, it doesn’t make any sense to say that the exact same function is worth only $299 now. It plays music just as well now as it did then – or it would, if it hadn’t been smashed to smithereens.

    Obviously insurance companies think electronics depreciate in value – that fiction saves them billions. Maybe we shouldn’t take their word for it, though?

    • balthisar says:

      @crashfrog: It’s also a legal system scam, then. You’re entitled to a like replacement (meaning used), not a brand new item. If they were to sue in court, they’d be entitled to replacement value based on used gear. Possibly… only possibly… retail cost for the new item if they had the receipt and it was still returnable.

    • Ubermunch says:

      @crashfrog:

      Depreciation of electronics is an insurance-company scam.

      Er… not really. Do a google search on “tin whiskers” and get back to me, ok?

    • Superawesomerad says:

      @crashfrog: Says who? Depreciation of electronics is an insurance-company scam.

      Are you joking? My first-generation iPod went tits-up after years of decreasing battery life and increasingly frequent freezes. Anyone who’s ever owned a computer for more than two years can attest similarly.

    • MrEvil says:

      @crashfrog: Electronics depreciation is FAR from a scam. Try Getting anyone to pay $3000 for a Pentium II computer system circa 1999. Electronics depreciate because odds are by the time you’re needing a replacement there’s a newer model out with more features and is cheaper than what you paid for yours.

      Same thing with the 1st gen iPhone, I doubt it’s worth anything close to the higher price people paid on launch day.

    • rdavid says:

      @crashfrog:
      “If the value of its function was worth $399 when it was purchased, it doesn’t make any sense to say that the exact same function is worth only $299 now.”

      You’re joking, right?

      Here, I have a used 60GB iPod to sell you. Please pay me $399. Oh, you don’t want to pay $400 for a used product since you can get a brand new, better-performing model for $249? Well, that’s how the insurance company feels too. And they’re right.

      • crashfrog says:

        @rdavid: Here, I have a used 60GB iPod to sell you. Please pay me $399. Oh, you don’t want to pay $400 for a used product since you can get a brand new, better-performing model for $249?

        You’ve confused “price” and “value”. We insure the value of items, not their prices.

    • Grive says:

      @crashfrog: Incorrect.

      Electronics depreciate because value is not only correlated with function, but with other options available, and it’s intrinsic value, which can an does change over time.

      If you purchase an iPod for $400 with a 60gb HD, after two years, are you willing to pay $400 again for that same iPod, if there is a better alternative for $250?

  6. SkokieGuy says:

    Belinda, you don’t indicate in your (long) letter, do you have and did you submit photos of the damage?

    Assuming you paid with a credit card, you could dispute the delivery charge.

    Assuming you have renter’s insurance (and if you don’t, you learned a $500.00 lesson why you need it), you could submit a claim and provide them with your documentation of your efforts.

    Also, to look at it from the other point of view, you did not witness what happened and you did not discover the damage, your friend did. Why couldn’t I buy some Ikea stuff and call them the next day to tell them the movers damaged my big screen TV?

    Another expensive lesson is to never sign anything until you’ve done a complete inspection and are satisfied. What if you opened the boxes after signing and found items missing (or a load of bricks instead of the new spiffy dresser?).

    Yes, I make delivery people wait and actually open boxes. If you read more posts on Consumerist, you’ll learn that some people return boxes sealed, with garbage inside and stores will (unwittingly?) resell and redeliver these items.

    And as long as we’re talking Ikea – tell me how I can get a job as the guy who randomly assigns vaguely Swedish sounding names to stuff? Oh you like that platter? It a Snorgenflorp. It would look lovely with some Platzenlug glassware.

    • MercuryPDX says:

      @SkokieGuy: I used to think it was random too… [en.wikipedia.org]

    • samurailynn says:

      @SkokieGuy: Renter’s insurance sounds nice… $500 for my broken iPod? Yes! But… how much did you pay for that insurance? $15 per month for the past 5 years? That would mean that you just paid $900 (plus lost interest) for that $500 claim you received. That sucks. Also $15 per month is a low estimate, I’m actually thinking it may have been around $30 per month last time I looked into it and decided it wasn’t worth it.

      • madanthony says:

        @samurailynn:

        If you own a car and have it insured with a company that also has renter’s insurance, you can get a multi-policy discount that will sometimes more than pay for the cost of renter’s insurance.

        When I was renting, I had my car insurance through State Farm. I think I paid like $10/month for renter’s insurance, and I got a discount on my car insurance of around 10% – which was about $30 since I lived in a bad neighborhood in Baltimore City, was under 25, and had full coverage on a financed car. They basically paid me to have renter’s insurance, and I would have been an idiot not to get it.

        • samurailynn says:

          @madanthony: Yeah, in that situation you might as well get it. I currently have Geico and I think that if they do have renter’s insurance it’s outsourced to Traveler’s, which is one of the more expensive insurance companies. I check rates every time I renew, and Geico is always the cheapest. Now that I own a home, it’s still cheaper to get Geico for my car and a different company for my home owner’s insurance.

      • hmk says:

        @samurailynn: Well just wait for the day that you have a house fire started by a candle or something you left burning. Or your fish tank leaks all over your landlord’s carpet. Or if a hurricane is coming through to wash away your apartment building. Or if some @%^&! jerk breaks into your first floor apartment and steals all of your DVDs (but nothing else…)

        Then you will curse the day you denied getting renter’s insurance.

      • crashfrog says:

        @samurailynn: I can tell you from personal experience that it is worth it, especially if you rent an apartment in a multiunit building. (And that’s probably like 99% of apartments, right?)

        The simple fact is that fires in one unit spread easily to others, through crawl spaces. You may very well be confident, and rightfully so, in your ability to avoid burning your apartment and all your possessions down, but can you say the same thing about every other resident in your building? Even the ones you’ve never met?

        I doubt it. That’s exactly what happened to me, a few years ago – I woke up on a sunday morning to discover that my building was on fire. Most of my stuff was simply smoke-damaged into uselessness. A fair bit of it was destroyed when the firefighters tore my ceiling down with axes to fight the fire in the attic.

        All that because a guy on the other side of the building lit a candle and fell asleep. Anyway, I was insured. It was about 14 a month. They put my wife and I up in a hotel for the three weeks it took us to find a new place, paid to clean our stuff, and replaced what had been destroyed. If I hadn’t been insured – and some in the building weren’t – I would have lost everything I owned and been homeless.

        What’s not worth it is not having renter’s insurance. You’re putting all your possessions in the hand of the stupidest, most careless person in your apartment building, otherwise.

      • theblackdog says:

        @samurailynn: Considering I have a tropical storm heading my way, and my renters insurance covers flooding, I’d say it’s a good thing to have.

      • Brunette Bookworm says:

        @samurailynn: If you rent, you should have insurance! I’ve known a person who lost all her belongings, twice, in apartment fires. She didn’t have insurance either time. Yes, it costs money, but it’s the same as health or car insurance, you hope you never need it but when it comes to something big, it’s completely worth it.

    • pigbearpug says:

      @SkokieGuy: Why should she delegate to insurance? It’s clearly the movers’ fault and there is little doubt that her deductible would be at least $500…not to mention the fact that her rates would likely go up.

  7. Wonder how much she spent on delivery charges… if she used a credit card, couldn’t she dispute those charges alone? Don’t shoot me down if I’m totally on the wrong page….

    (These stories are the reason why I use a $20 mP3 player.)

  8. Gopher bond says:

    That sucks. I wonder what the contract terms are for delivery and installation? This one would seem like a real pain in the butt to get compensation for.

    Renter’s insurance bought me a new tv when the roof leaked while I was away on business. It was a fairly easy process too.

  9. cubsd says:

    Why not do a charge back on ALL of the furniture she bought at IKEA? Now you have their attention.

  10. Fly Girl says:

    When I moved a few months ago, we hired professional movers to help us out… We packed and staged everything, they just did the heavy lifting. When we got to the new place, they brought everything into the house but didn’t really place it anywhere– they just stacked everything in the front room. That’s fine, that’s what we wanted– we were paying them by the hour, so we just wanted them to do the heavy lifting and we could do the rest. Anyways, when it came time to pay up and sign off on the job, we did a decent once-over and everything looked good– nothing was obviously missing/broken/damaged. We paid the movers and got to unpacking and organizing. As we worked our way through the boxes, we found that quite a few things had been dinged, broken, or otherwise damaged. Those things had been cleverly stacked so that, unless we were going to do a THOROUGH inspection of our belongings, there was no way that we’d notice it. None of it was too big, too expensive, or worth throwing a fit over, but it was irksome to know that the movers intentionally tricked us into signing off on broken goods. The point of this is just that I think it’s REALLY likely that the movers broke their stuff and made the mad-dash out the door, rushing them to sign off on the job, because they didn’t want to get caught… I second the “move it up the ladder at Ikea and then small claims for the replacement cost if that doesn’t work” suggestion.

  11. sponica says:

    Ugh I would never pay for delivery from Ikea…I mean, the one in Brooklyn charges 89.99 and I live TWO miles from the store. Which is why for big items, I will probably be renting a Uhaul on site for 19.95.

    Did the iPod and iHome warranties not cover damage? Or only performance issues?

  12. goodywitch says:

    I recently had a metal cabinet delivered. The company removed part of the packaging to reduce shipping costs, and it resulted in damage. I discovered the damage after I finished upwrapping it. Since it was a damage to the product, the company exchanged it. When the replacement came, you betcha that I unwrapped the entire thing and then signed for it.

    The thing with delivery is that when you sign, you think that you’re sigining for delivery (it arrived), not a waiver of all liability to all possible damages. Granted, it’s better to read everything before signing, and I usually do with paper stuff, but not with digital stuff (deliveries from fedex).

    I don’t think that IKEA is going to replace the ipod, because it’s a pretty cheap company. I don’t know what she signed, but she should ask for a copy of that, if it is in fact a waiver of her right to claim damage. However, the OP learned an expensive lesson: don’t leave movers alone, always watch them. If they damage something, report it to them at once.

  13. Eilonwynn says:

    In Canada, or at least in the Burlington area, the moving is contracted out by Ikea, and they make this VERY clear. The guys I’ve had from them are GREAT, clean, professional, making sure everything’s okay, even making sure my stupid cats didn’t escape, and refused a tip. They had me wrap the couch myself (it was in as-is, rather than prepack), and they didn’t even rip the plastic.) – However, whenever I have anything large or heavy delivered, I make damn sure anything of any value is well out of the way. Not blaming the OP, but good common sense for anyone else facing the situation.

  14. Sockatume says:

    She gets my sympathies. Not for the iPod, for the Malm. She’s in for a world of bumped shins.

  15. opticnrv says:

    “you may get a default judgment”

    This is not necessarily the end of the process. Getting a default judgment is only step one in actually obtaining money from the company.

    Consumerist…why don’t you run a story on how to get deadbeat companies to pay up in these situations?

  16. lauy says:

    @samurailynn:

    Renter’s insurance varies greatly depending on your level of coverage, deductible, where you live, etc.

    I pay about $18.00 a month (won’t detail the various coverages I have, but I assume they are standard), my deductible is $250.00, and I live in the Phoenix area. My policy is through Travelers.

  17. While I sympathize with Belinda and find it unfortunate that she had to endure this, I still that it’s careless to have stuff on the floor when you know clearly that delivery guys with heavy boxes will be coming into your apartment. Like someone else said, it’s common sense. It’s not like the movers came without warning; if you expect them to come, you should also be willing to accommodate their arrival.

    I should add that I relocated this past week, and the movers did a bit of damage to some of my smaller items. Unfortunately for me, there was a $500 deductible on any damage so I won’t be seeing a cent. As Belinda suggests in her letter, Ensenda may have an insurance policy with Ikea, and it’s possible that there’s a similar sort of deductible in place.

  18. chiieddy says:

    For those complaining about renter’s insurance, it comes in handy when your place is robbed, catches on fire, floods, etc. Even with a $500 deductible. Make sure you get a rider for any electronics such as cameras or video equipment. This is generally not covered under the basic policy.

  19. thrashanddestroy says:

    I didn’t bother reading the excruciatingly long letter Belinda churned out mainly because I already developed my own opinion on the matter;

    A) These movers were contracted workers, not Ikea employees.

    B) The damage to Belinda’s personal property happened in her residence, not within an Ikea or on their premises.

    This has nothing to do with Ikea and if Belinda wants to seek reimbursement, she should take it up with whoever employs these contracted workers and not Ikea themselves. Once the product left their warehouse it was no longer their concern or liability, their hands are pretty much clean.

  20. robbrechter says:

    Regardless of whether the OP signed the moving company’s waiver or not, it seems pretty evident that there is no way the shippers didn’t know that they damaged that much of her property. So them trying to pass the buck and have you sign it before you find out is blatant misrepresentation and unconscionable, two defenses to void the contract.

    Small claims is definitely your way to go if IKEA still won’t budge.

    And even though people say that IKEA isn’t responsible because the shipping company provided the service, they are contracted out by IKEA and IKEA does have some control over them.

    Good luck, OP. I’ve dealt with some terrible shipping companies (one of which contracted out by IKEA), so I feel your pain.

    • eelmonger says:

      @robbrechter: The OP signed a contract that (presumably) said that the movers delivered everything and didn’t damage anything. If this made it to trial in a small claims court, it would be over very quickly. “But Your Honor, they were being kinda pushy,” is not an excuse to void a contract. Unless they held a gun to her head, it was not signed under duress.

      The only reason to file a small claims case would be to show them that you’re serious and hope that they just give in. In reality she should be going after the movers, but I’d guess it’s easier to get compensation from IKEA than from some random moving company.

  21. AlexPDL says:

    Encenda moving at the IKEA store in Schaumburg, IL. is rather notorious. IKEA has a pretty interesting relationship with its shipping companies. You go to a desk within the IKEA store and the delivery desk employee works for Encenda (or whatever other delivery co.). You draft the contract with Encenda and pay Encenda directly. It’s not even a sub-contractor relationship. We as customers deal directly with Encenda. This of course is only for the benefit of IKEA who wants nothing to do with the crappy delivery companies they use. On the flip side these delivery companies offer dirt cheap service. I’m surprised anyone at IKEA even tried to take care of it. The entire contractual relationship is merely designed to cover IKEA’s large Swede @ss.

  22. RedwoodFlyer says:

    Re: the talk about electronics depreciation…etc… all they are responsible for is the current market value of the item – if it was in new condition – in lieu of such a figure, they go by a standard yearly depreciation rate based on items in the same category. Take the case of this iPod…sure, she may have paid $399…but to buy one with similar functionality today is much less (just like if you had a 6 year old Pentium 3 laptop…you’re not owed much at all). Heck, Woot has an iPod video on sale for $129 tonight…

  23. Jevia says:

    Still worth a shot at small claims if the EMCB doesn’t work. can always argue that the form she signed was a contract of adhesion, she had no bargaining power, she was pressured to sign ‘right now’ by two big guys, there was small print, etc.

  24. dmuth says:

    Getting the runaround from IKEA? I’m shocked.

    I had a similar experience with them back in 2005 when they sold me a defective table. After trying (and failing) to do a chargeback, I finally had to get the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office involved to resolve the issue.

  25. ianmac47 says:

    Small claims court.

  26. yargrnhoj says:

    IKEA was just ‘flat packing’ her iPod and iHome. They’ll probably send her a little allen wrench to fix it.

  27. scait says:

    While I have complete and total sympathy with your dealings with IKEA, I can actually do you one better: IKEA tried to kill my kid!

    Did that get your attention?

    So check this out: On Mother’s Day (no less) 2006, I awoke to a disturbingly quiet house. My beau was working early; my 13-year-old was presumably asleep, but why wasn’t the baby (17 months old) chattering away in his room?

    I went into his room and turned on the lights. He was awake, staring straight at me, and completely entangled in his blanket. As I looked at him, I realized it wasn’t just a matter of some lose threads; the blanket (blue fleece with finished edging) had become unraveled to the point where there was thread wrapped around his legs, his torso, one arm …. and his neck.

    Because he was lying on top of the body of the blanket, I was afraid to even try and move him, for fear of tightening the threads around his neck. As I whispered to him to lay still, I tried to slip my fingers in between his neck and the threads. No dice. They were wrapped so tight I couldn’t get my finger in there.

    At that point I panicked. I screamed for my older son, who came bounding up the stairs. I (probably screeched), “get the scissors! NOW!”

    And, being me, I yelled after him, “AND THE CAMERA!!!”

    It seemed like forever, but it was probably 30 seconds that he was back. When he saw why I needed the scissors, he burst into tears.

    He was 12.

    I had him take a couple of photos of his brothers while I worked to cut the threads from my toddler’s neck, without slicing his throat or doing him another injury. It took almost ten minutes to get to the point where I could pick him, lay him on his change table and cut away the REST of the threads.

    I was pissed.

    Long story short: I battled with IKEA for TWO months (going so far as to call corporate in Sweden) and it wasn’t until I told them I worked as an editor at a business magazine that they sat up and paid attention.

    They refunded me the money I had paid for both the blanket that attacked my boy, and the one we had on reserve, which I had returned to the store the day of the incident, with photos.

    I haven’t cashed the $24 cheque and I’m quite sure that company got off easy.

    Bastards.

    Thanks for letting me share.

  28. dragonvpm says:

    I won’t bother trying to untangle the convoluted mess that is IKEA’s delivery system.

    IMO, the ideal course of action would have been to call IKEA & Encenda and document it with names, contact information, dates and times. Regardless of who blames who and who does or doesn’t accept responsibility, it’s good to have a record showing you were working on the situation as quickly as possible after the problem happened. Documenting who you spoke to will often get even uncooperative CSRs to shape up. Notice the difference between saying “I talked to Bob on 01/01/08″ vs “I talked to one of your reps a couple of weeks ago” I’ve seen a huge difference in how CSRs react and how helpful they’ll be.

    It’s also useful to have a camera handy so you can document the scene where something happened (it works for cop shows, it works for you ;). I have a camera with me nearly all the time (and they are so cheap nowadays I’d strongly suggest having one and not relying on the one in your phone for general documentation purposes). Taking pictures of your valuables and any serial numbers of identifying marks is also a great way to help yourself out in the event of fire or burglary etc… and it’s amazingly easy to do.

    Once you have a problem, ideally you want to take pictures before you move things around if possible. In the case of this post, the OP could easily have shown the large box of wood near the damaged outlet, iPod and iHome units as well as noting that there really wasn’t anything else else which could have caused the damage (e.g. an empty room with a bunch of boxes and a mattess on the floor). Showing where the items where in relation to one another also helps make the case that it was the large box of wood that caused the damage. Plus you might even pick up something like a mark on the wall from where the box slid down and scraped/scuffed the paint a little bit.

    Once you’ve done that, you can probably persuade/convince the companies to reimburse you for the expense of buying the new items and repairing the outlet. It’s amazing how cooperative companies (and people) can be when you show them documentation of a problem. Even if it doesn’t exactly show 100% of what you’d like it to show, a picture really can be worth 1000 words and when establishing liability that helps a lot. I suspect for companies there is also an element of “oh crap, this is one of those OCD people who will be a PIA, just pay them and make them go away” when they see you documented things but so be it.

    Also wrt delivery receipts, I always do one of two things, either I make sure to check that they delivered exactly what they said they did and that there was no damage to the items or my stuff, or I make a note on the receipt saying something like “I am not being given a chance to review the condition of the items delivered to me so I reserve the right to bring to your attention any problems I subsequently find with the delivery”. I also like to at least skim through the fine print. Often times it will tell you what your options are if you find any problems or what steps you should take to remedy them.

  29. Ninjanice says:

    Renter’s insurance has another bonus that I haven’t seen anyone else mention- you can deduct it on your taxes.
    I think the best bet for the OP is to try the EECB and then small claims cuort. The only thing is that I would ask for the current value of the iPod. Any used product automatically goes down in value (especially if it’s out of the return period). The purpose of any court decision is to make the plaintiff whole again, not to put them in a better position. Let’s just say that she asked fo the full $399 and got it. That means she got to use her iPod for however long before the incident for free, then she can go and buy another one for considerably less money and have that extra money left over. That’s not a fair judgement because she ends up ahead. Now, I do think she should ask for the full $60 for the iHome since it was brand new and that’s what it would cost to replace the item.

  30. bairdwallace says:

    I’m surprised that after the victim wrote “after being transferred to enough different people that I had no idea who I was talking to, I finally spoke to someone who could possibly help me.”, she didn’t start keeping track of names. The only name she seems to have gotten is Cindy’s. I’m in the habit of writing down the name of everyone I talk to, and I try to confirm it at the end of every phone call as well as at the beginning. Call me crazy.

  31. wagnerism says:

    We need a new term here at Consumerist.

    Ready?

    “Subcontractor Ping Pong”

    DirecTV, Comcast, Lowe’s, Home Depot (and now Ikea) have incidents with subcontractors performing work under their company name, but the prime company ultimately doesn’t take responsibility for their subcontractors.

    Do NOT select these services based on the big brand name selling the services. Pretend that you’re going after the smallest yellow-pages ad with a horrible BBB record and you won’t be disappointed.

    You’re not hiring Lowe’s, Home Depot, Comcast, DirecTV or Ikea Delivery. You’re hiring their lowest bidder that competes by cutting corners on the services they provide on behalf of their customer – which is NOT you. Their people are even lower than the lowest bid, because this subcontractor has to make a profit. If they’re any good or experienced, they’d be too expensive to be an employee of a lowball subcontractor.

    The employees never last long because they eventually get a better paying job or they screw up enough times that the subcontractor fires them. When the lowball subcontractor hires a replacement, they pick next inexperienced/incompetent person to fall off the turnip truck and let them take a crack at it… IN YOUR HOME.

    Even if they don’t intentionally do it, the prime company has no means to deal with subcontractor service complaints. The lowball subcontractor sees every complaint as a direct assault on their slim profit margin and will never give up any money (or insurance claims) without a fight. They screwed themselves because they can’t afford good people at the rates they bid.

    It is sad out there for people that cannot DIY and need these services. Truly sad. I was willing to pay full price to have my stuff moved across country in 2004. I ended up going DIY because of the thousands of stories where your belongings are taken hostage when they increase the fees and demand cash payment. Sometimes it is just better when you break your own stuff and use the cash savings to pay for a replacement… and you don’t have to sue yourself to get it settled.

  32. jswilson64 says:

    Demand letter, Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested. Send it to the management of the store you bought the stuff from. Spell out what happened, how many hoops you have already gone through, and exactly what you want from them, and your deadline (make it reasonable), and what you’re going to do if/when they don’t comply. That’s your legal documentation of what you’ve posted here.

    Then EECB. Then small claims (after your deadline).

  33. 138webster says:

    I have had a similar experience with the refrigerator delivery guys that showed up at my house. I freshly repainted my whole entire apartment and bought a new fridge. First of all, the delivery guys came into my house like they were in a hurry to get out and were not careful at all. I advised them that I just painted my house and they nodded. And at last, the smashed the old fridge and hit the ceiling causing a huge chip on!! I was astonished and all the guys said was “oh, that’s nothing” and proceeded to do their job as if nothing happened… They weren’t careful at all!!!!

  34. johnnya2 says:

    Whhy would you get full value of a product you used for several years. You think you are entitled to $399 AND the use of the player for however long you used it. That is ridiculous. And yes electronics DO depreciate in value. Try selling that IpOD on ebay for $399 and see how many bids she gets. Try selling your Windows 98 computer, or your Atari system. Get a clue people. She at most should be made whole IF they did anything wrong. If she felt rushed that is her issue to not stand up to movers. They can do NOTHING until she signs off on it. They may have rushed her because they may be paid by delivery versus the hour and getting done fast nets them more money, not because they hid something from her.

  35. theora55 says:

    I’m sorry for your troubles, but righteously hanging on to your anger hurts only you. Time to move on.

  36. Diningbadger says:

    She signed/initialed the contract which clearly is an indication that she was satisfied with the service and that all arrived at her home in one piece. That is her problem. No complaint…no claim. Good faith is good faith…she had too much and the delivery boys had none and as a result, now she hasn’t an iPod.

    I really can’t feel sorry for her.

    Could’a, would’a, should’a… anyway she slices it, she’s screwed. A judge might see things differently, and I hope he does, but …. blah, blah, blah… etc…

  37. erratapage says:

    @AlexPDL: Sounds like Brenda didn’t know she was dealing with an alternative company.