Affordable but stylish and with an unbelievable refund policy to boot, there is a reason why IKEA is so popular. However, you’ve probably also heard that IKEA’s reputation with customers isn’t always stellar. If you want to be informed before you make your purchase, below are some of the factors that have contributed to IKEA’s bad reputation.
1. Missing Parts Are Common
By now, I’m sure we all know about the trouble of parts missing from IKEA items. At this point, it’s part of the IKEA experience not to have enough screws. The problem is when you are trying to keep to a schedule.
When parts are missing, you will have to organize to have them replaced. Unfortunately, this can prevent you from assembling the piece of furniture until the parts arrive.
I would not be pleased to unbox my item to start building, only to find that I cannot (where will Grandma sleep when she arrives tomorrow?). On top of that, now you have to go through the process of ordering replacement parts, which can take some time.
2. Replacing Missing Parts Takes Long
IKEA says that if you have a missing assembly part, you simply need to order it in. However, their stated turnaround time is not always accurate and can also vary from store to store.
IKEA says the standard time for delivery to you is 3-5 days for small spare parts and 7-10 for larger parts. IKEA keeps stock of small items like screws and dowels, and you can have them as soon as you can make a trip to the store if need be.
However, with larger replacement parts that need to be ordered, many experience delays, which can leave you with a half-assembled piece of furniture for weeks. In addition, you might have to wait for a response to an email (if you don’t go into the store) as well as for the actual part to be delivered.
3. Poor Online Shopping Experience
There are complaints about the online shopping experience with IKEA. Most of the time, you will end up having to go in-store to collect something or sort something out. Something from the online order will be missing or wrong; some orders arrive without all the pieces for a single item. Other times, you will try to order something and then it says it’s unavailable for delivery.
For most stores these days, online shopping is considered to be the convenient, no-nonsense option; you can order, pay, log returns, receive refunds, arrange pickups, and get in touch with support without leaving your property.
All this is supposed to be done with online systems and doesn’t require long phone calls or up to 2 week wait times for email responses. Unfortunately, this is not the case with most IKEA online orders.
It’s commonly found that if you go to the store in-person to handle any business, you will get better results. However, some people are ordering online because it is not a 5-minute journey out to the store or because they don’t have a vehicle to transport the items; for them, popping into the store is not an option.
4. Deliveries Are Frequently Delayed
In the wake of the pandemic, IKEA is facing supply shortages that have continued into 2022. This is due to struggling to get materials, but also because the company is having difficulty getting products shipped from China, one of their largest manufacturing locations.
The result of this has been an increase in delivery delays, which were not uncommon pre-pandemic anyway. The company has apologized for the high number of delays and the angry customers. However, one of the major problems with IKEA delivery delays is the lack of notice.
If your order is delayed, you will likely only know about it when you don’t receive it. You will also have to deal with complications like booking off work for a delivery that never arrives.
5. Slow to Pay Refund for Cancelling Deliveries
IKEA will refund you for canceled orders (and sometimes the shipping fee), but this likely won’t be a simple process. IKEA is notorious for their leisurely refund times and leaving customers in the dark about it all.
You will likely receive communication or information about expecting the refund within 7 to 10 working days, but this timeframe doesn’t even serve as a guideline in some cases. It could take over a month, and you will likely make little headway in contacting customer service for updates.
6. Incomplete Order Deliveries Are Common
IKEA has a bad reputation for delivering incomplete orders. Often this is done without forewarning; you just don’t get all your stuff. When you think about how much you are spending on your order and shipping, it is concerning not to receive everything you paid for.
You will likely have to spend some time on the phone with customer support (fingers crossed the call doesn’t drop) in order to find out where the rest of your items are. Pair this with their reputation for a challenging refund process, and it makes you a little wary.
My favorite story was from a person who ordered cushions and decided to buy some new cushion covers on a whim. The covers were delivered; the cushions were not. She was subsequently told that there was no stock of the cushions and her order was marked complete with the option of a refund for the cushions.
7. No Delivery Cost Refunds
IKEA is proud of its 365-day refund policy and unusually lenient returns regulations, like accepting assembled items and items without the original packaging. The problem is that this does not extend to the delivery cost.
If IKEA delivers you the wrong products or even delivers your order to the wrong address, you are going to have trouble getting a refund for the delivery. They will refund you for the products, but not the delivery.
In its terms and conditions, IKEA states that shipping fees are not refunded with returns, only for canceled orders that have not yet been shipped. This can be attributed to the fact that IKEA employs an independent delivery company, but it is surprising that the company is not more accommodating if there are delivery mistakes.
8. Frequent Trouble Getting Product Refunds
Despite IKEA’s great return and refund policy that seems both reasonable and generous, this doesn’t necessarily follow through into completed refunds. Your refund might end up “being processed” for months.
There are several hoops to jump through, and it can get frustrating when you have followed the necessary steps and are left waiting beyond the estimated timeframe. In addition, customers struggle to follow up on and get their refunds paid out as the support lines seem unreliable and online chats cannot process the refund themselves.
Customers often turn to the twitter helpline as the public nature of the contact seems to motivate a faster turnaround.
9. Order Cancelations Due to No Stock
IKEA has an unfortunate tendency to cancel orders with no forewarning. You will order something marked as being in stock, and IKEA will simply cancel your order when it comes time to fill it and there is no stock left. For you, this could happen after you have waited weeks and weeks for your order.
This is frequently attributed to slow system updates, meaning that items are still listed as having stock when they are not. However, it is difficult to understand how such a corporate giant allows these technical errors to continue, especially when it results in poor customer service and satisfaction.
10. Crucial Parts Packaged Separately
Another factor that detracts from the experience of shopping with IKEA is how the items are packaged. For example, you may buy a dresser, which can come in 3 different boxes. Now you have to make sure that you are taking (or receiving) all the packages needed to build one item, and you have to make sure that the color is the same.
This can be frustrating as online deliveries sometimes come in parts, and you can get 2 of 3 boxes in one trip and only notice something is off when you try to assemble the item. Hopefully, you will be notified that your other box is on its way and you can get it eventually. Otherwise, you will have to try and contact customer service or go in-store.
11. Poor Post-Sale Service
IKEA’s customer service, once you have placed orders or bought items, can be considered unhelpful for the most part. More than likely, you will struggle with post-sale problems.
The extent of this includes not being able to get answers (or they will come weeks later than expected) for refunds, returns, incomplete orders, delayed deliveries, and part replacements.
There are common complaints about the online chat services and phone lines being down when contacting customer support. If you do manage to get through, you may spend hours on hold (I hope you are an ABBA fan) with no guaranteed outcome.
12. Furniture Can Release Bad Smell
One problem with how IKEA tries to fortify their furniture and protect the items during transport and assembly is to treat them with chemicals. When these are exposed to air and sunlight, it can cause the chemicals to degrade.
This leads to outgassing as the chemicals create a potent odor. It can be unpleasant and irritating, and you might have difficulties getting rid of the smell. Some items just need a good airing, while others seem to hold onto the smell for ages.
Outgassing is common with new furniture, and while IKEA has taken steps to make its products more environmentally friendly and use fewer chemicals, the packaging is still often treated to preserve it. As a result, these odors can still seep into the materials of your furniture. So upholstered products are especially vulnerable.
13. Furniture Assembly Can Be Complicated
The IKEA furniture is marketed as easy to assemble, however, this is not often the case. If you are experienced in handiwork or home improvement, you might find that you manage well enough alone. However, if you are not well versed in these things, you might need to schedule a few days for assembly into your calendar.
If you are looking to make your furniture last, you are also going to have to ensure you assemble the item well and maybe even add in braces and glue.
You can also call in the TaskRabbit service to assemble IKEA furniture for you. You have to book and pay for this service, though. The TaskRabbit is widely available, but you will need to check if you are in their service area.