Our new couch battle – am I in the wrong?

by J. Money -

couch hiding

So I’ve had an “interesting” time this week with a popular furniture store chain, and curious to see if I’m completely out of place here or have every right to be as frustrated as they’ve made me lately ;)

Here’s the play-by-play as succinctly as I could make it, though the reality is that it spanned 5 days and 12 different chats between phone, text and Twitter – all totaling approximately 7 hours at the time of this posting.

Thoughts?

  • Took the family couch shopping at Ashley HomeStore Outlet
  • Picked out a 3-piece set we liked, but it didn’t come with an ottoman so we found another that did
  • Spent 10 minutes with the sales rep talking about all the different ways we could use the ottoman to our advantage and absolutely fell in love with it
  • Asked the sales rep if “everything we see here” is included – and took a picture of it all which shows everything, including the sectionals, ottoman, pillows, everything.
  • Sales rep said yup! All included!
  • So I said, “awesome – we’ll buy it!”
  • A few days later the delivery men came but one of the pieces was broken so they had to ship it back to get fixed (annoying, but things happen)
  • Noticed the ottoman didn’t show up, however, so reached back out to our sales rep who stated he was sorry for the mix up but it was not added to the order
  • I asked him if I could just swing by the store and grab it sometime, and he said it wasn’t included in the sales price so it’ll be an extra $300 if I want it.
  • I told him I DO want it, but I’m confused and certainly don’t want to spend an extra $300 for something I was told would be included?!
  • We debate a bit, and I finally ask him if he has any suggestions before I escalate it up the chain
  • He says no, but he’s sorry again for the mess up
  • I proceed to call customer service who refers me back to the store
  • I call back the store and they don’t answer the phone
  • I call back the customer service line (corporate, basically) and they once again refer me back to the store
  • They forward me over while on the phone and a representative at the store says they can’t help me as all ottomans cost extra
  • I tell them I’m aware of that now, however that was not what was told to me prior to the purchase so I’d like to speak to a manager
  • The manager hops on the phone and asks if I looked at the itemized sales receipt before I signed on the line to fulfill the purchase, and I say yes
  • He asked if I saw “ottoman” on there, and I say no
  • He asks why I continued the purchase then, and I told him I just assumed it was all included – just like the pillows that were not itemized on the sheet however there are 2 of them sitting in my living room right now
  • He doesn’t answer me but says I should have said something
  • I agree – and tell him it was my fault for not double checking and trusting the sales rep
  • He says he’s sorry but would be happy to ship me the ottoman as soon as I pay the $300
  • I tell him that’s not going to happen and ask if he has any suggestions before I escalate it further
  • He offers to give me a $50 gift card and advised me to take it
  • I politely decline, though thank him for trying to work with me
  • I call customer service again and ask to speak to a manager there
  • They refer me back to the store as all stores are privately owned (?) and they can’t change any pricing or wave fees
  • I ask if it’s possible to just return the whole thing then because we can’t come to a resolution
  • They say “all sales are final” but to talk to “Bob” at the store
  • I ask who “Bob” is and they say he’s “the top manager” at the specific store and is scheduled to be there today
  • I call “Bob” and he is not there, but will return on Saturday
  • Saturday comes and we finally connect…

Now if you’re still reading this, I’ll stop you there and ask you real quick what you would do at this point so far? ;)

Would you continue to keep fighting it, knowing exactly what you heard and what you were led to believe? Or would you finally just give in and either do without the stupid ottoman or pony up the $300 to complete your set? (Or do you go balls to the wall and do what it takes to get that refund out of principle??!)

I talked it over with my wife, but in the meantime tried one other avenue that has been known to work from time to time… And of course that avenue is taking it to social media ;)

  • I private message my concerns on Twitter (@AshleyHomeStore)
  • I receive no response back
  • I find their “customer care” handle (@AshleyHomeHelp) which states “a community manager is actively listening between the hours of 9-5pm EST” and send them a private message there too
  • I receive no response back
  • I send a *public* message tagging them in case that gets their attention which said: “Anyone ever have issues with @AshleyHomeStore ?! Ordered a brand new couch for the first time in my life and having a dickens of a time getting what I paid for… (after of course spending 2 hours bouncing between customer service centers 🙃 )”
  • They respond! “We’re sorry for the delay. Please send us a PM with your contact information, store location and confirmation, so we can see what the holdup is. Thank you, Sandy”
  • I respond with the info requested
  • I receive no response back
  • I follow up a couple days later, both privately and publicly
  • I receive no response back

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

UPDATE: Just got a response from Twitter today – what are the odds? ;)

The Mrs. and I finally decide where our limits are and how far we want to push this, and if we’re able to get the ottoman at a severely discounted rate we’ll still take it as it’s what we really wanted to begin with, but if they continue to not budge we’ll go all out for a refund.

Which sucks because that’ll be a much harder battle to fight, what with the “no return policy” aka the worst customer service policy ever. And after researching it more and learning of possible “restocking fees” and the fact places rarely return *shipping* costs either, we’d have to commit for the long haul.

And then Saturday came!!!

And do you know what happened?!

“Bob” called me!! Before I could even call him! Here’s how it went down:

  • He calls us and immediately apologizes for us having a bad experience so far (thank you!!)
  • He tells us their sales rep’s side of things, but states it doesn’t even matter because at the end of the day we’re unhappy and it needs to be fixed (which was nice to hear, especially as the rep’s story has now changed for a third time)
  • He says he’d love to resolve this right here on the phone and offers to give us the ottoman at “cost” if we still want it – which comes out to $150
  • I tell him I think that’s a fair compromise and he adds it to our scheduled shipment of our broken-but-now-fixed other part of the couch
  • I thank him for resolving it once and for all :)

So a somewhat happy ending to the story, though definitely not going to be taking the chance again with them in the future, haha…

But what do you think? Would you have taken the deal or kept fighting? Was I in the wrong here or could you relate? Have you ever had any experiences w/ Ashley before, good or bad?

I debated on whether to even share this publicly or not, but after the failed attempts on social (and giving them ample opportunity to talk with me!) I felt it was something worth mentioning in case it helps just one other person avoid this frustration down the line :(

Super great couches and prices there, but not the best customer service in the world.

Though to be fair, when I asked the community about them some of you did say you’ve had great experiences with Ashley, so perhaps I was just unlucky ;) Along with the few others who also had not so great experiences with them… (you can see the chain here if you’d like)

At any rate, upward and onward! One less thing to have on the brain now!

*******
[Pic up top by ambermb via pixabay]

{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

1 The Crusher December 10, 2019 at 6:00 am

I think your handled the entire situation perfectly. Damn, you are resilient!

It is annoying and certainly may still hold you back from purchasing at this store again (it would me) but in the end the compromise was reasonable for both parties.

What I really would like is for you to post back in 6 months and let us know if you still LOVE the ottoman so much that you would part with $150 of your hard earned money. I suspect you will say, “meh”. :)

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2 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 6:25 am

Haha, deal..

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3 Kate December 10, 2019 at 6:08 am

Thank you for sharing. I read every line with bated breath and am so glad that Bob sorted things out in the end! I would have gone the same path as you. I’m a fighter. I hate being dismissed. I hate feeling ripped off. However, the older I get, the less interested I am in WINNING and being RIGHT (I think they should have given you the ottoman for free) and the more interested I am in a bit of serenity. There is no WAY I would have paid the full $300 but half price seems fair. One thing that grinds my gears when someone tries to explain the mistake of a staff member blow by blow – in this case the sale’s rep’s story. I don’t care!
BTW: I when I moved house two years ago we needed to buy two sofas. I got mine both on Gumtree (England’s Craigs List I think) and always search in the super wealthy neighbourhoods. It’s funny how the super rich will sell a designer piece of furniture in great condition for next to nothing because they decide they don’t like the look of it anymore. I got basic greige (I think this is a word: grey/beige?!) then bought some cool southwest style cushions to make them less boring and more “me”!

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4 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 6:28 am

Great tip!! I always try hitting the *yard sales* in fancier communities but hadn’t thought about targeting them on CL, etc… Glad you liked the post :) It felt good to get it all out there!!

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5 Ed December 10, 2019 at 6:53 am

I think you did the right thing. I don’t buy a lot of new furniture and I will never buy from Ashley’s again. We purchased a kitchen table with chairs. When it was delivered they had sent the bar height chair and table which is not what we thought we purchased. The short story the receipt said table and chairs but the part number was for the bar height set. How was I to know the salesman sold us the wrong item. They wanted to charge us a restocking fee to return it and get the correct one. After a battle much like yours with Ashley Furniture, we kept it and just walked away to never walk into another Ashley’s ever again. They have no idea what customer service is and it should not be Buyer Beware. Glad it worked out for you. Know you are not alone.

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6 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:53 am

Damn! Didn’t even get what you wanted – how could they not understand that? Who would go out of their way to order something they didn’t want? (And then spend all the time battling it to try and resolve?).

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7 Marc December 10, 2019 at 6:54 am

Sorry to hear about your experience and all of the time you had to waste on it. I probably would have taken a similar course of action, but might have given up sooner than you. I don’t think I’ve ever purchased anything at Ashley Furniture, but I was with my mom when she bought a couch there and everything worked out well with her order.

I had a similar experience about 9 or 10 years ago with Sprint. I bought a phone and signed up for service at a Sprint kiosk and part of the decision was based on some features that the sales rep told me were included. Later, I found out that I would have to pay something like another $20-30 per month to get those features. Sprint corporate wouldn’t do anything because the kiosk was privately owned, and the owner of the kiosk said he couldn’t do anything becuase after the sale everything goes to corporate and is out of his control. He did tell me that the sales rep was fired for lying to customers. Even with that, Sprint wouldn’t give me what the sales rep promised. They gave me a similar line about you should have noticed on the contract that those features weren’t listed, but the contract wasn’t that detailed and there were many included features that weren’t mentioned in the contract so I didn’t think anything of it. In the end, the best offer I got was to cancel the contract, which I chose not to do because at the time they had the best coverage in the area.

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8 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:10 am

Ughhh, big cell phone companies are the worst… you’re like the 3rd person to tell me about Sprint today :(

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9 Leah December 10, 2019 at 7:11 am

Ooof. What a doozy. I’m glad you persisted and that Bob was able to make it (almost) right in the end. This company really needs to train/empower more front line employees to be like Bob. A happy customer is a loyal customer, which is worth more than $300 in the long run. Nickle and diming you on this simple misunderstanding (regardless of who is at fault) is literally going to cost them thousands of dollars over the next ten years. (How big is your readership??? Ha!)

Personally, there’s nothing that frustrates me more than bad customer service and being put through corporate nonsense. I’ll fight the company for what is right, but I’ll never return to those companies again.

In general, I try to buy from companies like LL Bean, Instacart/Aldi, and Costco (which has a huge furniture selection!) whenever making purchases. Returns/customer service are a breeze and their quality/service has made me incredibly loyal.

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10 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:14 am

Didn’t even think about Costco, dang!! You’re right, they do have furniture!!

I used to work in customer service so I’m usually pretty patient going through the process, but even so it still takes foreverrrrr until you figure out who exactly you need to talk to :(

someone just sent me this line which unfortunately is pretty accurate haha… “The higher you get in an organization, the nicer and fairer the people are”

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11 Lonelle December 10, 2019 at 11:25 am

I would have to disagree with the statement “The higher you get in an organization, the nicer and fairer the people are”..I think the reality is that the higher ups have the power and are able to make the deals, where they tend to pigeon hole their employees and don’t give them the opportunity to ‘fix’ or help the customers (or they don’t because they are afraid of doing something wrong and getting fired). I think the tier 1 sales people are stuck.

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12 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 12:17 pm

That could be the case too at some places… but at least be friendly and pretend to care/help, right? I had to basically beg to get someone higher up on the phone as they were more than fine with just letting me get off the phone upset without any resolution whatsoever. It wasn’t until the last couple of calls when they admitted they can’t do anything personally and advised I talk to this “Bob” person.

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13 Victoria B December 10, 2019 at 7:20 am

This is going to sound so elitist, so sorry in advance. Ashley Home Store sells shitty furniture which will wear out and break down in no time. This is a case where you get what you pay for: cheap furniture = improperly trained salespeople who NEED a sale today to make money, which means they will lie to your face to get you to purchase there. I’m glad it worked out in the end (sort of), but you would have been better off purchasing quality furniture from a reputable furniture store.

Rather than telling us if you’re still happy with the ottoman in 6 months, keep up updated on how your furniture is holding up. It’s not really a good deal if it has to be replaced in two years.

If you absolutely must buy cheap furniture, buy it from Sam’s Club or Costco who have generous return policies for their members.

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14 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:18 am

Hah! Okay – will update on whether it’s still holding tight as well as whether the fuss was all worth it for the ottoman ;) I honestly had no idea whether Ashley was good or quality or anything really as I never shop for new furniture, but I guess that’s on me for taking the chance!

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15 Greg December 10, 2019 at 7:50 am

It boils down to how much your time is worth and how annoyed/frustrated/angry you are by their (intentional?) “mistake”. Given your conversation with the store manager I think I would have taken it as far as I could, including waging war on all social media fronts and small claims court.
I might be misinterpreting the account of the interaction with the manager but it feels like “we got you to sign the itemized sales receipt without you noticing the ottoman was missing, we win..you can go pound sand”
I have done business with Ashley and have not had negative experiences but will not patronize them again in the future, my time is worth more and if I get in situations like this I tend to push it too far.

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16 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:26 am

yeah I’m not messing around with small claims court, haha… you’re hardcore!

but I totally get it… especially if you feel like they pulled one over on you purposefully. I don’t think this sales guy did that as he really was nice and genuine seeming and it probably was just a misunderstanding, but I certainly didn’t appreciate his changing of the story over the days either… I literally have text messages from him apologizing for the mistake!

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17 Paul December 10, 2019 at 8:10 am

yeah, everything we have ever purchased from Ashley falls apart within 5 years. Last couches we bought were from Bassett. They are 3 money signs but they last. Although I will say this… It took us about 4 months to get our order when we moved into our house.

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18 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:27 am

I heard Bassett was legit but never been to before (exactly because of those money signs :)). Maybe I should bring my 3 kids over to test it out though and compare? ;)

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19 Jessy December 10, 2019 at 8:11 am

Imagine the goodwill “Bob” could have created by simply saying, “You know, this is not included (here he shows you something to prove it), but clearly we had a mixup, and I am throwing in the ottoman for free.” That would have been $150 (the store’s cost) for a big chunk of goodwill and word-of-mouth advertising. Instead, Bob created ill will and now ALL of us are hating on poor Bob and Ashley furniture. SMH.

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20 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:32 am

yup… never know who you’re talking with or what their networks are… I never even mentioned the blog w/ the store or customer service – I was just hoping they’d do what I felt was right at the end of the day (throw in the ottoman). And then of course when I did allude to my audience w/ the tweets they just ignored me! Super mind blowing!

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21 Leila December 10, 2019 at 8:21 am

I had a similar ordeal when I turned in my car lease (I know leasing is dumb, I was turning it in to buy used).

I was turning in my Toyota Camry lease of 3 years and purchasing a used car. A manager of some sorts congratulated me, asked about my job, blah blah, and then said “We will waive the $350 disposition fee.”

A couple of months later I get a bill in the mail for the cost of “wear and tare” and the $350 DISPOSITION FEE.

I repeatedly tried to fight this, called them, went to the dealership, etc. They wouldn’t budge so I just paid the damn thing so it wouldn’t go into collections.

Lesson learned: ALWAYS get things in writing.

I hate things like that because it’s such a waste of time and energy. I probably could have fought harder like you did though!

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22 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:35 am

That does blow :(

And then it’s literally you vs them on your “word” and of course the store’s word is always valued higher which is crazy because customers are you life blood!! And most people don’t go out of their way to try and scam people (and when they are you can usually tell).

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23 Dustin December 10, 2019 at 8:43 am

Wow, ridiculous that they wouldn’t “eat” $150 to make a customer happy and likely secure their future business. Also I can’t believe that there are no refunds. Good to know, I will never buy anything from them!

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24 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:37 am

What’s ironic about that is that it literally says nothing about the refund policy on this same receipt that they were harping over and over on with me… Had that in my back pocket to argue later, but thankfully we didn’t have to do down that route :)

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25 Lisa December 10, 2019 at 8:46 am

I will never buy from Ashley Furniture. I would rather sit on a stump I dig out of my back yard. I had such a bad experience with them they are the only company I ever use the word NEVER with.
When I moved houses I had to replace all my livingroom furniture. No choice. The old stuff was 20 years old, had made it through wrestling boys, been screwed back together and the couch was set in a corner so the side wouldn’t fall off (I believe in the use it up principle, can you tell?). After looking for over a month, I ordered my livingroom set with a delivery date of 4 weeks. SIX MONTHS LATER I canceled my order and fought for a refund on my money. Turns out the sales person didn’t turn in my slip for a couple months and what we wanted was discontinued but no one would call and tell us. They still didn’t want to return our money, just told us to wait and it would be delivered soon.
I know everyone hates on Bob’s Furniture, you get what you pay for, but I ordered what I needed and had it delivered the same weekend and four years later it looks and works as good as new.
PS: I still get calls, texts and emails from Ashley sales trying to get me to come in and buy. They can go F%$k themselves.

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26 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:39 am

WOW!!!!!

Now that is bad!!! I can’t believe no one higher up jumped in to try and resolve this??! Why on earth would you let that slide as a manager/owner??! It’s pretty obvious it’s their fault if it’s taken 6 MONTHS to get something?! It’s common sense!

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27 Lisa December 11, 2019 at 10:05 am

And this is why I tell everyone I know to go somewhere else. Anywhere else! And I still feel physically ill when we drive past the store.

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28 Ken December 10, 2019 at 8:52 am

Was the salesman lying to make the sale in this case or was this a simple mistake? I personally do not see the value (well $300 I guess in your case) in making people “over pay” for making a simple mistake. Put yourself in their shoes. Sounds like to me you caused yourself, and at least a few others, a fair bit of grief just to be right/win your case. I would not be surprised if Bob made it right on the company side by taking the cost of the ottoman out of the salesman’s pay – who probably makes quite a bit less than you. Just my view, being is sales myself.

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29 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:46 am

I don’t think he was lying purposefully, but he could have kept to his same story throughout instead of changing it… I made it a point to thank him for all his time though and trying to help me at first – I def. don’t wish any ill will on him like the $$ coming out of his pockets. I think it’s more on the company as a whole for how they handled it than this miscommunication.

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30 Friendly Compensation Manager December 10, 2019 at 8:53 am

I would absolutely have done what you did, and I would have gone so far as to try to return the entire set. The original sales rep should have owned up to his mistake (HIS MISTAKE!!!! NOT YOURS!) and chased down this resolution FOR YOU, not you the customer.

I have purchased new furniture a few times in my life, and it is always a nightmare.

Case in point, we were shopping for a bed recently, as we are newlyweds and shuffled houses and stuff as we moved in together after we got married 6+ months ago. We did a TON of online shopping because we knew exactly what we wanted. We wanted drawers on a dark wood or light gray upholsered bed.

Found a great option at a local store, and submitted a request for info, because they live in 1990 and don’t list their prices online. Got a response of a price that we could live with.

A few weeks later, wanted to go see the bed in person, since if we were going to spend a bit more on this solid wood bed, we want to see the actual color. The sales rep says she cannot find the bed in the system (?!?!) and she would call me back. She did a while later, and said the bed I wanted doesn’t exist (?!?!) and she doesn’t know how I got info on it to begin with. I asked if they have any other pieces in that brand and color for us to view, answer is no.

Then she said she could order it for us, but couldn’t guarantee it was in the dark mahogany color we wanted, NOT cherry, which we do not want. Then she gives me a price that is like $500 more than the other person, who apparently was some sort of manager. She says she will get with “Jason” on Monday (it was a Saturday when we wanted to go look) and that “he has access to things in the ‘system’ that she can’t get to.” But heavily implies that I must be making the number up. NOPE, I have it in writing from “Jason.” She said she will check and call us back on Monday.

Yeah, that never happened.

It was amazing to my husband and me how difficult it was to try to spend money with them. It’s almost like… they don’t want our money???

We ended up ordering a bed online, sight “unseen” for a good price, and of course now it is on back order, because of COURSE it is. Will likely come Feb (ordered in Nov). But we refuse to shop anymore, we are so sick of looking at freaking BEDS. Right now, we are having a flashback to college or something, and our king mattress is on the floor. LOL :)

Furniture shopping is the one experience that reminds me how incompetent employees can be. Sigh…

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31 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:48 am

Oh man, haha….. I’d be done with it all too!! I think this will just be one of those stories you tell over the years and look back on and laugh :) I guess life would be pretty boring if everything was perfect?! (At least that’s what I’m telling myself, lol…)

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32 Lisa O December 10, 2019 at 8:55 am

I think you did really well. Sometimes ya just need to be consistent when you believe you have been wrong and someone will see your side.

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33 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:49 am

Thank you Lisa :) I kept going until I felt like it was fair for everyone. Def. wasn’t trying to scam or cause undue trouble for anyone…

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34 Nora December 10, 2019 at 8:55 am

You discussed the ottoman with the sales rep before purchasing; the rep said it was included, and took your money. If the rep was wrong, why should someone else’s mistake cost you money? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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35 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:50 am

I wish I could have had you on all my calls :)

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36 Nora December 11, 2019 at 9:04 am

My scars are from battles with health insurers and medical companies; there probably is no better arena for building up your own consumer advocacy skills. It has definitely affected my perspective.

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37 Steve in Waterloo December 10, 2019 at 9:01 am

I think you handled well. I would have done similiar. Social media is a new tool for customers not treated right.

I ran into a similiar situation years ago when my better half and I were buying a sound system. This is back in the days when you bought 2-3 speakers, a console, turntable, CD and tape players.

I worked a pretty good deal – worked with salesman to establish individual best price, then the bundle price, then how much discount if I paid cash. We agreed and I was set to return the next day to pick up the goods.

Upon arrival the next day, store Manager and all the sales guy huddle when I announce that I am there to pay and pick up stereo et al. In short, he accuses me of taking advantage of his salesperson, says he won’t honour the deal, and that he is probably going to have to fire the guy for being naive.

I should have walked out, but I didn’t. After much haggling, I paid a bit more under the promise the sales guy doesn’t get fired, and with a promise to NEVER set foot in that store again.

I never have.
If social media existed back then, oh, I would have been relentless!

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38 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:54 am

Ack – did you ever find out whether he was fired or not??! And how would that be on him all the way anyways? If he’s naive it’s because he wasn’t trained appropriately! And even so you don’t fire someone off *one* mistake…

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39 Steve in Waterloo December 10, 2019 at 1:30 pm

Honestly, have never set foot in that store again so no idea if he was fired. Doubt it. Probably a ploy.

I’ve bad mouthed that store for 20 years at every opportunity.
Surprised I didn’t put the store name in the original post…

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40 J. Money December 11, 2019 at 6:29 am

Well don’t break the record now! What store was it?? ;)

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41 Adam December 10, 2019 at 9:15 am

I hate furniture shopping.

I have had the same / similar experiences at Raymour and Flannigan, Rooms 2 Go, Ashley, and others. Not always the bait and switch, but anything that breaks is not covered – especially bunky boards for beds.

I have made my last few purchases from COSTCO. While there choices are not always the greatest, their customer service more than makes up for it – plus using their rewards programs, the last $2k in furniture purchases was actually free – paid for with rewards based on my normal shopping habits there.

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42 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:55 am

Nice!!! Didn’t even think to go to Costco until some of y’all started mentioning them today… Will be the first place we try next time, I can guarantee that!

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43 Michelle Marcus December 10, 2019 at 9:19 am

I know someone who used to work there and I would have advised you to shop elsewhere. Their customer service is terrible from what I understand and they are short staffed. When making large purchases (both literally and financially), I don’t feel good about “no returns” or “all sales final”. To me, that’s a red flag.

Do some homework, ask your friends where they shop, shop several stores. And then if you feel the “deal” is worth any possible headaches, then you accept the risk. I guess this is a good learning situation that you should ask questions repeatedly?

You were very lucky you didn’t have to pay full price for that ottoman.

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44 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:56 am

yup – a hard lesson learned!!

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45 Christine December 10, 2019 at 9:32 am

Man, just reading this made my blood boil. I am one of those “to the death” customer service warriors. It drives me crazy when companies don’t take responsibility for their employees or their advertising. And they repeatedly shoot themselves in their foot by not doing the simplest thing to make the customer happy. And I’m not unreasonable—and I don’t think you were being unreasonable. There may be people who try to game the system to get something for nothing, but I think usually it’s that the customer is misled. I had an experience at Home Depot buying a trimmer where there was a price on the shelf and a sign that said take 20% off all of this brand power equipment—both right where the price was and in a huge poster. I even read the fine print to make sure it was additional and not included in the posted price. You know where this is going…I pointed out that the sale didn’t ring up to the cashier, who said I was wrong..,and I pointed it out in the aisle to the department manager who again said I was wrong..,then to the store manager on duty who said I was wrong. And all along I was being so logical—like, look, there is nothing indicating that this is already in the price and they looked at me like I had 2 heads. Anyway, I was going to walk out, but my husband was not having it. I left in tears (which is what happens when I get spitting mad). I contacted customer service and at the end of the day, they sent me an apology and $20 gift card. I have spent ridiculous amounts of money there since then, but more good will would have been there if they had admitted their mistake at the beginning and either given me the price or even $20 then. That’s the most recent experience I’ve had, but not the only one. So, I COMPLETELY agree with you. I don’t blame you for buying the ottoman at the end. it’s a bit of the sunk cost fallacy but also a cost benefit analysis of what it’s worth. You would have spent a lot more time, energy, and grief in either trying to get it fully included or to return all the furniture for a refund.

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46 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:58 am

That sucks and is really surprising about Home Depot because they’re usually pretty good! And even if one person doesn’t help you there’s so many others that usually do, so that sucks – I’m sorry :( Good for your husband taking up the fight and at least getting some acknowledgment from them!

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47 A. Money December 10, 2019 at 10:08 am

It’s so frustrating to go through the process of checking and double checking with a salesperson or customer service representative that you’re getting exactly what you want only to have all of it undone by a mistake. I went through the same thing when we replaced our electric range. I put in the effort to research the item, checking at stores (unfortunately, the stores I checked only had gas ranges on display) and contacting customer service multiple times to clear up some questions. Despite the work, the range we bought didn’t have the capability promised by several people, and customer service after delivery and installation was so slow, I couldn’t return the unit. Ultimately, I had to contact the city’s office of consumer affairs, and while I’d decided that I’d be willing to accept a refund of the difference between the unit I bought and another unit we were considering, the manufacturer offered to refund the entire unit.

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48 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 11:00 am

City office of consumer affairs – wow, smart!! Would have never thought of that – I usually think of higher up execs first and never had to move on from there (thankfully). Excellent tip though, thanks.

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49 Joe December 10, 2019 at 10:29 am

Great job staying in the fight. No return is a terrible policy.
I’d take the deal and move on. Life is too busy to drag on this fight. :)

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50 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 11:01 am

Amen on that…

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51 Kathy Kristof December 10, 2019 at 10:45 am

So you have just described why I shop at Costco….No arguments; everything is returnable; and great pricing. The first sofa set I bought from there made me nervous — it was a leather couch, loveseat, chair and ottoman. All online. Couldn’t sit on it. I called customer service and asked if there was somewhere I could try it out. No, he said. But, if you don’t like it for any reason, you call us and we’ll pick it back up. No charge. Sold.

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52 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 11:01 am

Well don’t leave us hanging!! Was it comfortable in the end???! Are you happy still??! :)

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53 J December 10, 2019 at 10:52 am

We purchased a queen bed/mattress/dresser & mirror set with a really large headboard from Ashley furniture about 14-15 years ago. Honestly, I had no issues with the sales process. I received everything that I thought I would receive in a timely manner, and the furniture is still in great shape as we speak. It still looks pretty new and none of the joints or screws are loose. We were thinking of eventually trying to get a set with a smaller footprint, but have held back since there is absolutely nothing wrong with this set (clearly a want vs a need). Of course, we purchased it before the great recession and it seems like almost everything has gone downhill since that time. After hearing half of these stories I think I’ll just keep it until I die. lol. I used to work in retail a long time ago (large, retail pharmacy chain, though) and we were taught to do what we could to make the customer happy. I never made customers argue over semantics of a sales sign. If it was confusing we gave the customer standing in front of us the adjustment and corrected the issue after so it wouldn’t happen again. The crap they make customers go through now is BS. I don’t use social, so that isn’t an avenue for me. However, there is a point where reporting with the BBB can do wonders. You do have to follow up, though. I had a company say they resolved my issue (they didn’t), so I kept the complaint open and it was fixed REAL fast after that.

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54 J. Money December 10, 2019 at 11:04 am

Well that’s good your experience with them went well! I’m sure more do go well than not and it’s only us wronged who speak out and seem to be the majority when we’re not ;)

Admire all y’all who go down the path with BBB too as I always forget that’s an option myself.

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55 Zain Malik December 10, 2019 at 12:36 pm

BBB is one of the most underrated institutions in America…Time Warner once tried to charge me $500+ for moving with my cable boxes even though I kept their service…after 3 months of terrible customer service I finally went to BBB and they resolved it

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56 renae December 10, 2019 at 4:24 pm

I have also had good luck with the BBB. It’s almost magical how quickly issues are resolved after going ’round and ’round and ’round again with the company. Most recently I was able to get the internet company to stop charging me the monthly rental fee for a router that I returned to them and they said they never received (I did not keep the shipping receipt which is a mistake I will never make again). They could see that I was not using the router, but kept charging the rental fee until I had more than paid for the cost of buying it from them. After contacting the BBB they stopped the monthly fee and also gave me a credit for a few months of the fee.

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57 J. Money December 11, 2019 at 6:30 am

Way to fight it to the end!!

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58 SMS December 10, 2019 at 12:46 pm

I’ve never bought anything at Ashley and after hearing this, I never will. Admire how you stayed polite but persistent. I find it unbelievable that the store didn’t just throw in the ottoman. It doesn’t matter whether the salesperson made a mistake or was jerking you around. The store should have made it right.

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59 J. Money December 11, 2019 at 6:34 am

Thanks, SMS :) I always do my best to stay cool and nice throughout or else it makes things even harder to get accomplished… And as a former manager of customer service myself I was always much more eager to help those that were polite than those who enjoyed cursing me out as if it were my fault the issue happened, haha…. (though of course I still helped them – I would always just say “go ahead and get it out, and then when you’re done let’s work on fixing it” which would usually speed up the process a bit and get a few laughs later ;))

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60 Mags December 10, 2019 at 4:02 pm

Not in the wrong, but I probably wouldn’t taken the deal as well. The best piece of advice that I’ve ever received regarding these types of situations is keep escalating (in this case with corporate). Keep escalating and remain patient, calm and polite. I ALWAYS write a letter directly to the CEO. One time, I was in a never ending battle with T-Mobile. One email to the CEO and the issue was solved. I also happened to get on the line with the secretary of the CEO to HP, that issue was always taken care of extremely fast.

In fact, I would write an email to the CEO today and attach the receipt and ask for reimbursement. I would outline all of the correspondence. It’s worth a shot!

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61 J. Money December 11, 2019 at 6:37 am

I bet that would do the trick, you’re right. It was on my list to research after the call with “Bob” but fortunately it didn’t have to come to that… Although i’m going to make a note to see how i feel about it in a week, and if it’s still stewing (I hope not!!) I’ll consider reaching out. Thx for the tip.

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62 tjbl December 10, 2019 at 4:03 pm

I think you handled this well. If you had bought the ottoman for $300 or even $250 (with the $50 gift card) you would have been mad every time you looked at it.

I try to go the distance on things like this but sometimes I just run out of energy. That’s probably their plan all along – to wear you down so you just give up.

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63 Tony December 10, 2019 at 5:10 pm

Unfortunately we had a really bad experience with Ashley Furniture earlier in the year. We also received misleading information from the sales person. After some internet research, I found that this was common practice for Ashley Furniture. Fortunately, there was a delay in delivery, so I had time to cancel the order.

However, it was not easy at all to cancel the order. I called multiple times and was given the run-around. First, they said I had to come in to the store in person to request a refund. Then it was only a manager who could approve a refund. Then, only the home office could approve a refund and so on (and repeat). I even wrote the President of Ashley to see if that would help – it was useless.

Finally, I took the easy route and contacted my credit card company to dispute the charges. That fixed the matter. If there was an Academy Award for Worst Customer Service, they would definitely be a contender.

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64 J. Money December 11, 2019 at 6:38 am

HAH!!!

Maybe we should make a ceremony like that?? You know the entire country would chime in and LOVE to see their most hated stores win!! Next side hustle project right there – let’s do it! :)

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65 Pat December 10, 2019 at 5:39 pm

I think you handled it fairly even thought it was fraught with frustration, and if you got what you’re happy with in the end then it’s all good. They shouldn’t have let it go on that long. Customer service will make or break a place. It might take time but it will happen. I’d follow up with their corporate office just for good measure. (I believe they are headquartered in Wisconsin) I know many people who have their furniture and have had good dealings so it may be that location/management/etc..

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66 Kat Joy December 10, 2019 at 6:45 pm

Oh good! I would’ve been tempted not to give them any more money… But you did the next best thing by getting a good deal sort of, and letting us all know to be where of Ashley furniture! As a sideline, I have a house half full of Ashley furniture that I got off of craigslist, but of course those are for items from a few years back :-)

I can see not bothering with 100% refund, though I think you were 100% in the right, and they should have given you the Ottoman for free. But at least we can all be forewarned about Ashley. Know going into it that their sales people don’t tell the truth (or don’t bother to know the truth), and that they do not in anyway stand behind what is said on the show floor.

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67 J. Money December 11, 2019 at 6:42 am

Thanks Kat :) If anything good at all came from this, it’s to get people to be more aware when dealing with Ashley or any furniture place for that matter. From what I’ve heard all week these stores are notorious for bad service.

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68 Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life December 10, 2019 at 7:12 pm

I fight to the bitter end – it’s the principle of the matter. I wouldn’t ever lie about this stuff, so I expect them to treat me the same way. We all make mistakes so let’s find a mutual compromise if we have to but don’t lie!

This is also why I use my AmEx: If it came down to them refusing to supply the ottoman as promised, I’d have reported them to AmEx as refusing to honor the sale correctly and gotten satisfaction that way.

Also, this is why I want everything in writing and take pictures whenever I can because people feel so free to lie to make a buck. It’s really sad.

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69 J. Money December 11, 2019 at 6:43 am

Yup! Good idea w/ the c/c route! Hadn’t thought of that until some of y’all chimed in here…

The sad part is I TOOK PICS of the set too and even showed them, but alas it all came down to that damn detailed sales slip that was pointed to over and over and over again…

Oh well, such is life!

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70 Liz H December 10, 2019 at 8:40 pm

Wow. I got angry just reading that.
I have had issues with stuff like this before with multiple companies. I am like a bulldog and I don’t let it go until I get what I want. Whatever that takes. And I’m not always so nice…
Ultimately I have decided that buying new furniture is not worth the price and the hassle. The quality just isn’t there. So I buy second hand. The price is always right and even adding $60 for delivery is well worth it for quality older furniture that has already stood the test of time and been pre-loved. I have yet to have a bad experience buying second hand. I also find second hand shops to be more willing to throw in a deal for buying multiple items.

In the end I think you did the right thing by being persistent and going to social media. That has been a really effective way to get things fixed for us too. I think you have probably learned to also read the fine print before signing! I don’t think I would shop somewhere that sold new items with no returns though. I am not that trusting.

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71 J. Money December 11, 2019 at 6:44 am

It def. made me appreciate second hand stuff much more too, haha… the one time I decide to splurge and get something new! D’oh!

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72 Waterstone December 10, 2019 at 9:35 pm

I’ve bought several things from Ashley and have had great luck. The two best couches I’ve ever owned have been from Ashley. I’ve had one of them for about eight years and other for about two. I don’t have the budget to buy super high end stuff, so I’m sure you can get better stuff if you have the funds, but for the money I think Ashley is great. sorry for your bad experience. I think you handled it really well.

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73 J. Money December 11, 2019 at 6:47 am

Oh good!!! Glad it went okay for you all those times :) And even better to hear they seem to last a while too! I hadn’t any clue about them before shopping (which was another fault of mine) but just loved their prices and how they look/felt so figured it was all good… And so far the 1/2 couch we have sitting in our living room is working well for the fam, so hopefully the rest will too once it’s all here and connected ;)

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74 Kathy December 10, 2019 at 10:34 pm

I would have handled it just as you did. However, my husband would never pay for something that was supposed to be included in the purchase price. It has caused issues for us in the past. Eventually I just make an executive decision and say enough–we are compromising and paying the reduced price.

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75 J. Money December 11, 2019 at 6:47 am

Hahah yeah – it’s hard to be extreme one way or the other so takes someone to draw the line for the sanity of everyone :)

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76 I lost December 11, 2019 at 8:26 am

My story with plow and hearth was less successful. I bought a set of Patio furniture. I couldn’t fit it all in my car and told them I would come back the next weekend to pick it up. No problem they said. I borrowed a trailer and pulled up and they didn’t have it. They sold it. Wouldn’t give me a refund. Didn’t believe I didn’t get it. I called, I emailed. No luck. I couldn’t believe it. I still hate plow and hearth.

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77 Donna T. December 11, 2019 at 10:45 am

I once had a similar situation, buying a living room set, with a different store. I’m not sure if I handle it right, but I got results. I simply called the store ONCE to complain. When I realized that I was getting the run-around, under what appeared to me as false advertising with bait and switch tactics, I simply had my purchase refunded back to my card. When the store realized the payment was reversed and they had to pick up their furniture, they offered the big side chair that was originally offered in the purchase. When I received the big chair, they received their payment.

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78 Heather December 11, 2019 at 11:17 am

I have worked in retail environments for a long time and my take on this is the salesperson was not well trained and honestly didn’t know that the ottoman was not included with the rest of the stuff. It’s possible he was lying to make a sale but that kind of behavior is relatively rare and it is a lot more common that these low-paid employees are just not very well trained. Lots of times they throw them on the sales floor when they are brand new. He definitely should have gotten his manager involved at the time of the sale to make sure though. Anyway I think you handled it great and I think the manager did the best he could with what the store policies likely are for “exceptions” like this. The sales employee probably changed their story so many times to avoid getting in trouble, having their pay docked or even getting fired … that kind of stuff totally happens in retail all the time.

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79 Elaine December 14, 2019 at 3:14 pm

Any customer-service issue I see nowadays gets my attention because I’m still dealing with a store that sounds kinda like Gnome Repo. Why these places can’t simply offer a one-stop for any and all purchase issues is beyond me. I spent nearly an hour and a half yesterday talking to the appliance manufacturer, the store, AND the delivery service — all separate. First they delivered an appliance that appeared not to be working after it was installed. They sent the delivery crew back to pick up that one (it took about 2 weeks due to Thanksgiving) and replace it with a new one. The new one worked while the delivery guys were here — we asked them to stick around. Five minutes, I kid you not, after they left, we were confronted with exactly the same issue. I blew my top — told them I never wanted to deal with them or their appliances again, just come and pick the stupid thing up. After them telling me repeatedly that if we didn’t like the appliance we would have to bring it back ourselves, they went silent. In the silent interim, my voice of reason (also known as my husband) came up with another possible solution. We had bought an extended warranty and that put us in a different customer category, apparently. More phone calls and finally the manufacturer put us in touch with a local appliance service, which agreed to come and fix at no charge the specific issue we’d been dealing with. Great. They came, they saw, they said no-can-do because the problem appeared to involve our electrical outlet, which was out of their purview. I asked a local friend to recommend an electrician. Some guys came out, charged us a modest amount for a house call and proceeded to spend a lot of time looking at our breaker panel and yelling to each other about what their voltage meter said. Whatever the reason, we discovered that when all was said and done, our appliance was working properly. Except — except, a key accessory had not been connected, and we were seeing some results that were less than optimal and would have to be addressed. Still, the appliance was finally working the way we had expected it to. Just in time for the delivery service to tell us they were all set to pick up our appliance today. I had forgotten all about my call telling them we didn’t want it anymore. Someone’s conscience had finally gotten through; they had arranged for our appliance to be picked up and hauled away. Except now we wanted to keep it. All we really wanted, since we are under warranty, was for someone with a couple of working brain cells to come to our house and do the simple job of connecting an accessory that would give us optimal performance. That’s what I spent an hour and a half on the phone for yesterday. The store, the manufacturer, the delivery service, back to the manufacturer, even the extended-warranty company…finally back to Gnome Repo, who scheduled an actual REPAIR service to come out and install this simple accessory. Could we have installed it ourselves? Maybe; maybe not. Not exactly our forte. Better for an expert to do it. So now we wait, just over a week. Persistence pays, yes, but why can’t there just be a one-stop shop, instead of the CUSTOMER having to call a myriad of separate phone numbers, spend a ridiculous amount of time on hold, explain, re-explain and re- re- re-explain everything to everyone, each of whom will come up with some strange new question to throw into the mix? Like you, J, the persistence did pay off and (knock wood, it ain’t over yet), we’ll have things the way we need them to be and all this will be a distant memory. Enjoy your furniture — you EARNED it!

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80 J. Money December 16, 2019 at 7:21 am

Danggg that sounds even more horrible! Sorry you guys had to deal with that nonsense too! Better work for YEARS at that rate ;)

We just got our final 1/2 couch and ottoman delivered the other day and it’s looking purrtyyy… Family is overjoyed by it and kids are having a blast using the ottoman as part of their forts ;)

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81 Ryan December 15, 2019 at 6:02 pm

You did what I would have done and did resulting in free flooring for half my home! Had a bit of luck that they messed up an invoice. I will tell the story below but always persist with them and fight your corner.

So I buy a new house and get flooring for all of it through one place. I set up a zero percent credit on it and think great! 2 days later I get a call that they had issues with their system and I have to go in and re do everything. Not ideal but hey ho.

So 3 weeks pass and we move in and the filters come with the carpet…. but where are the hard wood floors and laminates? Call them up and they weren’t on the amended order. So we argue a little bit about where the hell half my flooring is. Anyway turns out i hadn’t paid for them but they were on my invoice, which was handwritten in paper without a final price. So as it was going to take an additional 3 weeks to get them and they were at fault for messing up the payment I get half my flooring for free!

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82 J. Money December 16, 2019 at 6:53 am

That works!!

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83 Brittany December 17, 2019 at 8:29 am

We have such a hard time with Ashley. Their prices are excellent and the furniture is great quality. But we’ve had issues like this with every single order. Items have shown up damaged every time. They’ve had to ship us pieces or new ones. The first salesman was super upfront. But the second time we received a dishonest response about their return policy. Apparently they consider rugs a home accessory – no returns. But we asked the sales person if it could be returned or exchanged before buying and he said yes. The rug arrived and I HATED it so I wanted to exchange it. I followed the same steps you did on email and social media with no response and got the run around trying to call the store. I was so fed up i had my husband come with me and we carried it right back in to the store itself. I think they were so shocked that they didn’t know what else to do but let us exchange it. (Then that rug got back ordered and then discontinued and no one told us. So 8 weeks later, after multiple calls to follow up and another visit to the store, they finally gave us our money back and we bought one from Lowe’s.)

We say we won’t buy from Ashley again but I’m sure we will. The quality, prices and style are too good. We are just factoring the hassle, run around and god awful customer service into the value.

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84 J. Money December 17, 2019 at 2:11 pm

Dang!!!

We thought of hauling the 1/2 couch back to them too in a worst case scenario, but thankfully we never got to that point :)

Too funny you’ll still shop there though!! That’s knowing yourself real well, haha… Eventually you’ll catch on to all their tricks! ;)

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85 Dr. Cory S. Fawcett December 24, 2019 at 12:25 pm

Sorry for your trouble. It doesn’t seem like all the anxiety, time and effort you put out was worth $150. Not sure what I would have done in your situation but I probably would have given up a lot earlier and just bought the ottoman. If it was what I really wanted anyway, the peace of mind of not fighting with them and my time taken away from my life would have been worth the $150 eventually saved.

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86 J. Money December 24, 2019 at 12:42 pm

True true… Only problem is that you don’t always *know* how long it’ll take to fight, and once you get going its harder to quit and “give in” :)

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