UPDATE: IKEA Apologizes For Charging You A $60 Restocking Fee On A Defective Bookcase

The mighty EECB (executive email carpet bomb) has brought justice to West Chester, Ohio, says reader Drew. Drew was mistakenly charged a $60 restocking fee on a defective bookcase. He wrote to us and launched an EECB on IKEA. The results? A very nice apology letter, a full refund and a $25 gift card. Looks like it’s Swedish meatballs for dinner tonight.

An update… A few days after my EECB and post on Consumerist, I received an email from Stephan [redacted], the After Sales Manager at my local IKEA in West Chester, Ohio. His email was:

Mr. [redacted],

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your concerns with us. My name is Stephen [redacted], and I am the After Sales Manager at IKEA, West Chester. It is my responsibility to ensure that your experience with IKEA… before, during, and after your visit is everything you expected and more.

I was forwarded, and after reviewing your e-mail, I would like to extend my utmost apologies for your experience in our store. It is obvious to me that we failed in our efforts to exceed or even meet your expectations. It is our ambition to address and resolve your concerns regarding the return of your merchandise in an expedient and courteous manner.

By your e-mail, I can see the effort you and your wife extended in order to assemble your IKEA piece, and I apologize for the frustration this caused due to the defect in the bookcase’s fit and finish. Periodically there are abnormalities in the prefabrication process, which could be the culprit in this situation. In the case of a non-defective product, our return policy applies to products that have not been assembled. In your case, you would not have known your bookcase was defective until you assembled it. Again, I am sincerely sorry for any inconvenience that this caused you and your wife.

If I could get you to do something for me, I can get this resolved right away. If you could contact my resolution team (513) 779-7100 ext 1450, and give them your transaction information, we will refund the remaining $60 back onto your credit card. Along with that, I would like to get your address and contact information, where I will send you out a gift card in hopes you will give us another chance. I only have your e-mail address.

I would like to thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. It is through customer feedback like yours that enable us to take action to do a better job in the future. Please accept my apology, and trust that I have discussed your experience with all parties involved in order for us to better serve our customers. If you do give us another chance, please contact me at your next visit at the below number. I would like the opportunity to apologize in person.



I called at his request and gave him the requested information. A few days later, I received the following note in the mail with a receipt for the refund (of $63.75) and a $25 gift card.

Dear Andrew,

Enclosed you will find the transaction receipt for your refund. We refunded $60 back onto your credit card ($63.75 including tax). I have also enclosed a $25 gift card for your trouble. I hope you received my e-mail expressing my apologies to you and your wife for your experience at our store. I hope this resolution is to your satisfaction.

If you have any questions for further concerns, please feel free to contact me at the store.

I am satisfied with the outcome of this experience.

The EECB got IKEA’s attention, for more information about launching your own EECB, click here.

(Photo: yarnzombie )


Edit Your Comment

  1. friendlynerd says:

    This is more like the IKEA I know. I’ve never had a bad experience there.

  2. SkokieGuy says:

    How cute that the After Sales Manager wants to thank the OP for bringing his concerns to our attention.

    Too f’ing bad you had to email all our company executives to get me to pay attention to you.

    If we really valued customer feedback, maybe we might have shown the slightest bit of interest when you tried to return the bookcase and were getting hassled by our lower level staff.

    Please note in the future our customer service department will be known as the Snoorgen Floopen Department, as can cannot permit the convenience of using actual words to describe actual products, services or deparments.

    Skrewgen Uuu.

  3. If I remember correctly, everybody blamed this guy because he didn’t want to the cabinet anymore after seeing it mostly assembled. I’m curious about when people will come out of the woodwork complaining that he wasted an EECB getting something he didn’t deserve.

    I, however, say more power to him. You shouldn’t have to pay to return defective merchandise, no matter the situation.

  4. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Yes, I do recall that most of the comments on the previous story indicated that Drew was using the “defective” excuse to try and return something that he later didn’t like and/or was frustrated with trying to assemble.

    Drew’s experience just reminds me of the Simpson episode where Homer tries to assemble an outdoor BBQ, but couldn’t figure it out. So he tries to return it.

  5. ThomFabian says:

    You do remember correctly. IKEA can choose to wave the restocking fee (and more in this case), but the problem that most folks pointed out was that he decided he didn’t want the item.

    He chose to return the item instead of exchange it for one without the defect. That is his choice, but that choice carried a restocking fee.

    That said, IKEA understands that such a small amount of money (to them) isn’t worth losing a customer over an isolated incident.

  6. BlondeGrlz says:

    @SkokieGuy: The head of the department is Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show. Bork Bork Bork!

  7. muckpond says:


    Isn’t that spelled Skrü Uuü?

  8. alfista says:

    “Bad news, nobody! The super-collider super-exploded. I need you to take it back and exchange it for a wobbly CD rack and some of those rancid meatballs.”

  9. SkokieGuy says:

    @muckpond: Why yes it is!

    Before we bash Ikea too much, those cookies that come in the cardboard crate with the cellophane wrapping….. I can polish one off in about 3 days. Swedish Crack.

  10. QuantumRiff says:

    You should expect excellent service from the worlds largest Charity/Non-profit. (search google on their little tax scam)

  11. @generalhousewifery: I still agree with the common consensus then. But today, I admire IKEA for having more of a heart than I do and handling it admirably. It was an EECB put to good use.

    I have complained about EECBs, but I think I’ve done so when the customer didn’t follow the rules: for example A) trying to skip normal channels or B) the company already to compensate with a lifetime supply of free product, but the customer wants two concurrent lifetime supplies (example may be exaggerated).

  12. I’m glad the EECB worked. Thanks to the Consumerist, mine with Verizon worked as well.


  13. jamiej says:

    This behavior seems exactly like my local Ikea in Emeryville, CA. I recently bought a desk lamp there for about $30 and it turned out after I got it home it didn’t work. As the store is 30 minutes away, it took me about 2 weeks to return it to the store and when I did I was treated very rudely by the clerk. After I explained that I had assembled it to find it not working, she grabbed it from my hands and took it out back to “test it”. She returned several minutes later and told me someone out back said the neck had been broken, as if I had broken it. She then said there would be a 30% deduction in my refund… After I asked twice for an explanation, she said because I hadn’t returned the lamp in the original box (good luck fitting anything from Ikea back in the box once assembled)!

    I finally asked for the manager, commented that the box wasn’t much consequence for a defective lamp (not like they can sell it again) and did get a full refund. The manager wasn’t very nice about it however though.

    This was only a $30 purchase, but the treatment I received makes me nervous about ever spending more money again in this store. Never before have I had to argue with a clerk, wait for them to “inspect” the product and defend my position to get a simple refund on a clearly defective product, especially since I had a receipt showing the recent purchase date. Suppose it was something for much more money that turned out to be productive, would I be so lucky next time?? In this day and age with stores like Costco, Walmart, Target, etc providing no-questions-asked return policies, even without a receipt in cases, I’m shocked at how rudely I was treated at my local Ikea.

  14. dweebster says:

    @jamiej: I know that Emeryville store – EXACTLY the same attitude a few years ago from them, on a conforming return.

    I’m growing older, and the great thing about these type of stories is that it saves me a lot of money because I no longer shop mindlessly at places like IKEA or “Best” Buy, etc. Their awful treatment of me and others has instilled a discipline of frugality for me within their walls that no level of conferences and books could possibly have done. When I do what little shopping I do at either store now, I only enter with a specific list and lots of pricing research, it’s done with a focused, guerrilla mindset of getting what I need at the absolute lowest price and minimum of interaction with staff.

    I have become a “demon customer” in their eyes (someone who doesn’t casually spend $$$ for no reason) because of the way they have treated me, and they have only themselves to thank. Treat your customers like you want them to disappear and you may get your wish, jerks.