Pottery Barn Delivers 2/3 Of Your Couch, Then Gives You 2/3 Of Your Refund

Here’s a situation that sucks. Reader Joshua ordered a slip-covered sectional couch from Pottery Barn. It arrived with only one slipcover. When he called Pottery Barn to ask for the rest of his order, they told him that they’d run out of that fabric and asked if he would he like another color. He agreed and picked a color. They sent another slip-cover section. Not three sections. One section. Joshua called them back. They said they were sorry, but they’d run out of that color…

Here’s a quick summary of why neither I, nor anyone else I can convince, will ever shop at Pottery Barn (or any sister company – looking at you, Williams-Sonoma) ever again. On May 22, we ordered a nice three piece slip-covered sectional, for over $3300.

After the usual six to eight weeks, we received the three frame pieces, and one of the three slipcovers. After another two weeks passed without receiving any more slipcovers, we called Pottery Barn, and were cheerily informed that the remaining portion of our order had been canceled, as Pottery Barn had run out of the fabric that we requested for our slipcover.

So, trying to see things philosophically, we chose another, similar color from our local Pottery Barn, and sat back (on our blanket-covered sofa) to wait. After another 3 to 4 weeks, we received another one (1) slipcover of the three (3) we ordered; this one fit a different piece of the sofa (the corner).

We called Pottery Barn, who helpfully informed us that the remainder of our order had been canceled, as Pottery Barn had run out of the second fabric that we requested, and would we like to pick a third color?

We requested a refund, and scheduled a pickup of our mix-and-match sectional sofa set (one green loveseat, one slightly-different green corner, one even-more-different green blanket-covered loveseat). The pieces were duly picked up, and we were presented with a receipt for the delivery (! – not the pickup – !) of all of the pieces that had previously been delivered (not all of the pieces we had ordered – an important distinction).

Two weeks later (four months to the day from placing the order for the sofa), we receive a refund check for $2300, the value of the pieces that were picked up – not the value of the pieces we paid for, some four months back.

So, Pottery Barn has had our money for four months, we had the use of around 2/3 of a pretty eclectic-looking sectional (one section of which we had to cover with a blanket) for a month or so, much to the amusement of several houseguests, and we eventually got 2/3 of our money back. We haven’t cashed the check yet, as we don’t know whether that hurts our chances of getting the rest of our money. We’ve left messages for the customer service rep at Pottery Barn asking if we could please have the rest of our money back, since after four months, American Express tells me that a charge-back is out of the question (their ‘system’ won’t let them start the procedure after two months). When I point out that we didn’t even receive the sofa for two months after paying for it, the AmEx rep was very sympathetic, and assured me he would be frustrated, too.

In fairness to Pottery Barn, the sofa was at least comfortable, and they have promised us a gift card “for the inconvenience.” Of course, they made that promise in early August, and we’ve so far seen no more sign of a gift card than we have of any competence at Pottery Barn. Odds are, they’ll eventually deliver 2/3 of a gift card (literally, with a chunk missing), and cheerfully inform us that they’ve run out of the plastic from which the gift cards are made, and would we like a rattan one?

This seems like just the sort of thing that could be solved with an EECB (Executive Email Carpet Bomb.) Your situation is obviously not getting the TLC that it needs.

For more information about launching an EECB, click here. Pottery Barn is owned by Williams Sonoma, and you can find a list of their executives here.

If attracting the attention of someone competent doesn’t work, you can always file a small claims lawsuit in order to recover the difference. Here’s some information about small claims court.

(Photo: afagan )

UPDATE: Pottery Barn’s rep says that they were able to speak with Joshua and resolve the issue. Here’s their statement:

We at Williams Sonoma, Inc. recognize that Customer Service is our number one priority. We appreciate the facts being brought to our attention and it is only through feedback, such as this, that we are able to meet our goal of providing world class customer service.

Please accept our sincere appreciation for your advocacy on the part of our consumers.