I’d rather have good customer service than meatballs

There’s a new shop in Southampton. One which I definitely won’t be buying anything from. I will probably be in the minority here but Ikea is top of my list of companies never to give money to again, even above British Gas and phones 4u!

Close by is John Lewis, which is a shop that’s top of my list of places I will spend money, and entertainingly Ikea are trying to lure away John Lewis customers with a big sign for meat balls (there’s a photo on Flickr).

I had the opportunity to test my theory that John Lewis had superb customer service earlier this week, and by some amazing coincidence it was for a very similar reason to the problem Ikea completely failed to resolve. In both cases I bought something that had slightly too much metal- the item from Ikea was missing a hole in a metal bracket, and the furniture from John Lewis had a bolt that wasn’t machined properly. Pretty easy to fix in both cases you’d think…


Long story, very short. Several phone calls, an insanely long queue at the customer service desk (being hidden behind the store, with a number ticket queueing system should be a clue to how well that was going to go) and several letters, resulting in me being out of pocket and not having the item I wanted. As far as I can see, Ikea have zero respect for customers from the moment you try and get in the store. Fail.

John Lewis

Phone up once. Phoned back with arrangements for exchanging product. Now I’ll admit, there was a worrying moment when it looked like they weren’t expecting me, but I soon found the right person, who was the same person I’d spoken to on the phone! How often does that happen these days?! Result.

So you can keep your meatballs Ikea… well, almost all of them. I will be over at some point to use the free meal vouchers you sent. It’s a shame they came with a stock letter that had absolutely nothing to do with my complaint.

For anyone who still wants to risk it, don’t forget to check the Ikea-cam before you go. I’ll be waving from John Lewis, eating a very nice ham and cheese omelette.


4 thoughts on “I’d rather have good customer service than meatballs

  1. You get what you pay for. John Lewis are very good, and I bought my living room curtains from there, but they did cost me £300. I dread to think what it would have cost to furnish my house from John Lewis.

    (I didn’t _actually_ furnish my entire house from IKEA (how depressing) but apart from the dining table because all theirs were small or cheap-looking I think the Swedish giant was the source of everything that was _new_)

    And personally, I think I would have just drilled the necessary hole in the bracket rather than mess about trying to replace it :-)

  2. Hi Pete,

    I’ve always found John Lewis to be excellent value as well. I got my cooker from there and it was the cheapest one I found, when you take in to account all the extras everyone else hid. There was a cooker with a slightly smaller price tag on elsewhere but that didn’t include delivery. John Lewis also tend to have longer guarantees included as standard. Things cost less overall if they last longer!!

    That’s not to say I always fork out for brand new or expensive furniture but places like Homebase, B&Q and Tesco have been much better than Ikea. I got my curtains for much less than £300 from Roseburys and and have a few things from MFI but guess I won’t be using those two again! About half my furniture is second hand still as well- I’d be happy drilling holes in that if necessary, but not when I’ve paid for something brand new.

    Plenty of places to go instead of Ikea.

    (I expect you could get rosemary if you queued up a bit longer Andy!)

  3. Pingback: Complaining « Notes from a small field

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