IKEA's Inventory System Has Problems

We’d like to suggest that IKEA’s website and inventory system may need a little work. Over at IKEA Hacker they posted a complaint from a woman who has had her order disappear from IKEA’s system no less than 5 times:

i have had about five orders “mysteriously” disappear from their system….i originally ordered the vika amon/vika artur desk on september 8 and have yet to see it. it seems the trestles are always out of stock, even when i call first to see if they have any then immediately place the order. i still get the “out of stock” email. i even had one phone rep give me a delivery date, which came and went.

We’ve been getting complaints too, like this one from Reader Christopher. He keeps driving back and forth from IKEA based on bad information from both their website and their employees, and is a little irritated. We don’t blame him.

Christopher writes:

Dear Consumerist,

I just read Gerald’s story dealing with IKEA’s website and in store customer service. I wanted to let you know of a similar experience I had with the IKEA in Atlanta, GA.

My wife and I were shopping around for a TV/Media Stand for our media room. We found a stand on IKEA’s website that matched the bookcases and sideboard we had previously bought there. We checked the stock on the web and they claimed that they had 20 units in stock. This being the case we went down to IKEA and proceeded to look through the store for the TV stand. Upon finding the stand we wrote down the bin location and headed to the warehouse area to pick up the boxes.

When we got to the correct aisle and bin we found that the bin was empty. Upon noticing this I went and waited for an IKEA sales person at their kiosk. I asked the person if their computer still showed them in stock, he said yes and that they should be in the bin. We walked to the bin and it was still empty so he said they might be in the back and would have a manager check for us. Half an hour later a manager came and told us that the units were not in the back and that the inventory numbers could be representative of items that were being shipped to them and had not yet arrived. I asked if they could take my information and let me know when they arrived and he told me that they do not do that. With the feeling of defeat we left the store empty handed.

Over the next couple of weeks we continued to check the website and it continued to say they had 20 units in stock. So three weeks later I called IKEA and asked them to check to see if they had them in stock. They put me on hold and came back two or three minutes later claiming that they did have them in stock. So once again my wife and I drove down to IKEA only to find out that the bin was still empty and they in fact did not have them in stock. I being the crafty consumer I am asked to speak to a manager. When a manager came over I told him my story and my frustrations about the item not being in the bin. The manager was a nice guy and said he would go check the back area to see if they might just be hidden behind some other boxes. After twenty or so minutes he came back and said they did not have the unit in the store but I could order it off the web page and have it delivered to my home for an additional cost (which later when I checked on this turned out to be 100% of the cost of the item.) I told him that that was not an option because I did not want to pay the delivery fee but that I desperately wanted this item. After a few minutes of going back and forth I asked him if I could leave him my name and number and have him call me when more of the stands arrived at the store. He agreed to this and also told me that when I did pick it up he would have a $30 gift card waiting for me to compensate me for the gas I used going back and forth the previous times. Feeling I had won a victory I left happy this day.

It is now seven plus months later, I have not received a call from the manager and no one at the store seems to return calls or is ever available to talk on the phone. My wife and I have since bought a TV stand from Crate and Barrel and I will not shop at IKEA again for a long time.



It doesn’t seem like you can trust IKEA to tell you if something is in stock or not. —MEGHANN MARCO

Problems Ordering On-Line [IKEA Hacker]
(Photo:Peter Kaminski)


Edit Your Comment

  1. robrob says:

    the problems with IKEAs inventory mangement system are enough to keep me from shopping there, low priced furnoiture be damned. It’s just not worth the hassle and heartache (the stories posted are not unique).

  2. Poseidon says:

    My sympathy goes out to both these people. It must have been tremendously frustrating to deal with this kind of screw-up. Also of note are IKEA’s delivery fees (around $50), which are essentially mandatory if you drive a small car like I do.

    As I read the second email, I couldn’t help but think that when I called IKEA for the second time, I would have asked over the phone if the employee would please personally check the bin and see if the item was physically there. After all, I’d have to do the same once I drove to the store, and the person on the other end of the phone is getting paid to be there!

  3. bitplayer says:

    If they want to fix anything they need some kind of reasonable delivery system or have more warehouses across the country to cut down on shipping costs to customers. We live in the south and are often forced to drive several hours with tables and what not on our laps because their shipping costs are crazy. Maybe they can partner with an existing retailer for areas where they aren’t located.

  4. fairywench says:

    This won’t help with the inventory problem, but as far as the shipping costs go, you can transport darned near anything on ANY car with some well placed bungee cords.

    Put the item on the roof of the car, and drape 2 to 4 bungees across it, width-wise. Roll the windows down and attach the hooks to the frame on either side, then roll the windows back up. In other words, hook the bungee to the window frame on the passenger side and run it over the item and across the car and in through the driver’s side window.

    You could also do the same thing using rope, by just wrapping the rope around and around through the windows. But bungees are very convenient. I once moved my entire household belongings to a new house on the roof of a 1967 VW Beetle using this method – queen size mattress, dining room table, couch, etc. (Several trips, of course…) The only thing that gave me any trouble were my three cats!

    (Okay, no…I didn’t strap the cats to the roof. One of them escaped from his cage and then crawled out through the rusted floorboard that VW’s are famous for. Luckily, we were still in the driveway at that point!)