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.

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