IKEA Won't Sell "In-Stock" Mattress Because It Requires The Forklift?

Reader Gerald writes in after an odd experience with IKEA. He’s writing to ask if he has a legitimate complaint, or if he’s just being whiny. After calling to make sure that IKEA had the mattress he wanted in-stock, he rented a man with a van on craigslist for $30 and they went to go pick it up. Weirdly, IKEA refused to sell him the mattress because they have a policy against using their forklift during store hours.

I arrived at Ikea, and figured out the bin location of the mattress (king size mattresses are full serve, but queen are self serve). When I got to the bin location, it was empty. So I asked an employee to verify that they were in stock. She said they were, but if there were none on the shelf, they couldn’t sell one to me for safety concerns (apparently it would require a forklift to retrieve one). I would have to come back the next day, or right when they closed. I explained my non-truck-owning prediction, and was told I could pay $80 for home delivery. At this point, having a history of good customer service from Ikea, I was confused. Did they really not want my money?

Gerald called customer service, and spoke to a sympathetic CSR who offered him free home delivery to compensate him for his expense. Gerald accepted and was pleased, until IKEA called him back and told him they were rescinding the offer and he’d have to pay $80 to have the mattress delivered. Huh?

This morning, the call came, and I was told matter-of-factly there would be no free delivery, as it is Ikea’s policy to not use the forklift during business hours. I asked why I was told the mattresses were in stock if in reality they were not available for purchase. I swear this is what she said: that was the “risk” I took. I also inquired why the first person I called led me to believe that free delivery would not be a problem; she had “no idea” why I was told that. So I asked for her manager, was given a number, left a message, and have heard nothing since, and am not expecting to hear anything further.

So you make the call. Am I whining? I kinda feel like I’m whining. But if I’m not, how do I balance the need for a quality, affordable mattress with boycotting Ikea, the only place with quality, affordable mattresses?

What do you guys think? Is Gerald whining? Does IKEA have a responsibility to deliver a mattress for no charge? We think that once a company offers something, they really shouldn’t take it back.—MEGHANN MARCO

Gerald writes:

Dear Consumerist,

Please help me out. I need to know if I have a legitimate reason to be angry, or if I’m just being whiny.

I woke up on Sunday morning determined to buy the $400 queen size Sultan Hassleback mattress from Ikea. I don’t make a lot of money, so this was a big deal to me.

First I called Ikea, and made sure they were in stock. I was told yes, in fact they had 25 in stock. Rad. Since I have no truck on my own, I put up a Craigslist ad offering $30 for someone with a truck to help me out. Within an hour, I had a response, and was set to go. I arrived at Ikea, and figured out the bin location of the mattress (king size mattresses are full serve, but queen are self serve). When I got to the bin location, it was empty. So I asked an employee to verify that they were in stock. She said they were, but if there were none on the shelf, they couldn’t sell one to me for safety concerns (apparently it would require a forklift to retrieve one). I would have to come back the next day, or right when they closed. I explained my non-truck-owning predictiment, and was told I could pay $80 for home delivery. At this point, having a history of good customer service from Ikea, I was confused. Did they really not want my money?

I asked for a customer service number, and was given the number to a call center in Baltimore. The girl there seemed to be understanding, and explained that it would only be fair to get me free home delivery for my troubles. That sounded absolutely reasonable to me. So I was given a reference number and told to expect a call within 24-48 hours.

This morning, the call came, and I was told matter-of-factly there would be no free delivery, as it is Ikea’s policy to not use the forklift during business hours. I asked why I was told the mattresses were in stock if in reality they were not available for purchase. I swear this is what she said: that was the “risk” I took. I also inquired why the first person I called led me to believe that free delivery would not be a problem; she had “no idea” why I was told that. So I asked for her manager, was given a number, left a message, and have heard nothing since, and am not expecting to hear anything further.

So you make the call. Am I whining? I kinda feel like I’m whining. But if I’m not, how do I balance the need for a quality, affordable mattress with boycotting Ikea, the only place with quality, affordable mattresses?

[Photo: John Pastor]