'Really letting their customers down': Frustration over Ikea support services down for days
This is a Wednesday, June 18, 2008 file photo of the Ikea logo is shown on the side of the warehouse-sized store during the grand opening of New York City's first Ikea. (Mark Lennihan / AP Photo)
TORONTO -- While Ikea Canada has reopened stores that were closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, some Canadians say the company’s customer support services have been down for days amid a backlog of online orders.
Nova Scotia resident Kristi Howard told CTVNews.ca that she called Ikea's customer service on May 22 regarding an order place on April 20.
Howard, who lives in Halifax, said she was told that her order was delayed due to high demand, but was expected to arrive "any day now."
When Howard tried to contact customer service again on May 29, their support services were down due to "technical difficulties." Howard said she tried to reach Ikea's Customer Support Centre throughout the weekend with no luck.
CTVNews.ca confirmed that the service was still down as of Monday afternoon.
"You cannot reach them. They do not offer email, they say they offer online chat, but there's never anyone available and actually when I looked today, the only chat requests you can do is for missing hardware so there's not even a chat request for delivery. And their phone lines are not working," Howard told CTVNews.ca in a telephone interview on Monday.
As of June 1, Howard said her order still hadn’t arrived.
"We all know that there's delays and backups but Ikea should be giving us more information when we order that this is going to be taking a while," Howard said. "They're really letting their customers down."
In an emailed statement to CTVNews.ca on Monday, Ikea Canada spokesperson Kristin Newbigging said "doing business during the COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges that no one could have anticipated," but said the company is actively working to fix these problems.
"We recognize that, despite our best efforts, there have been long wait times, delays, and cancellations, due to the unprecedented surge we’ve seen in online orders. Our normal ways of working have been disrupted and this is true for our service providers who are also experiencing unprecedented volumes. We truly regret any inconvenience caused and our teams are working hard every day to address these issues," Newbigging said.
Howard said she is also waiting on a nearly $1,000 refund from a previous order made May 7. She received an email confirmation from Ikea on May 31 that her refund will be issued but said she has not yet seen that money reach her bank account.
"When you've got thousands of dollars tied up in an order and all of a sudden the company can't be reached, you feel kind of anxious and scared because the money is out of your hands but you don’t have what you ordered," Howard said. She added that a situation like hers could have been avoided if IKEA had taken the money out of her account once the order shipped instead of when she placed the order.
Howard said she has been "quite upset" over the ordeal and had found Canadians with similar stories to hers speaking out on social media.
"We all want our stuff and we all order online and we've all expected issues to arise amid COVID. It's not that. It's how the company has treated it. You cannot reach them by phone, you cannot reach them by chat you cannot reach them by email," Howard said. "There's a whole pile of Canadians right now that feel their money is out of their control they don't know what's happening with their orders."
Newbigging said the company expects to catch up on online orders in the coming weeks now that its storefronts have reopened.
"We know there is work still left to do and we expect that in the coming weeks, customers will see significant improvements in delivery times and customer service wait times. We thank our customers for their loyalty, understanding and support during these exceptional circumstances," Newbigging said.
The Swedish furniture giant temporarily closed all of its Canadian locations on March 18, and switched to online shopping, offering delivery and curbside pick-up in select areas. In late May, stores began reopening with enhanced safety measures and physical distancing measures in place.
Howard said Ikea should have halted online orders when the backlog first started or let its customers know that they would have to wait weeks or even months for their orders.
"Just stop taking orders and make sure that orders you take you set the right expectation, because this is unacceptable," Howard said.