Last month, we purchased a new refrigerator at Ikea. (Why Ikea? I detailed that in a separate post, but in a nutshell, they had the most feature-rich Whirlpool refrigwherator in a 30″ width that we could find anywhere. Our kitchen’s current configuration will only accommodate a narrow fridge, and Whirlpool makes Ikea-exclusive models with more features than standard Whirlpool appliance retailers carry.)
This was our first experience with Ikea’s appliance home delivery, and unfortunately, it did not go well.
While Ikea has a home delivery counter in store to schedule delivery for anything you purchase in-store, we learned that Ikea contracts with a logistics company to handle the actual deliveries. The logistics company, in turn, assigns delivery to a variety of trucking companies and independent contractors that actually handle the fulfillment.
We purchased our refrigerator on Tuesday, 9/24/18. Ikea scheduled our delivery for 9/28/18, four days later.
Delivery Attempt #1: Friday, 9/28/18
A delivery team with a box truck arrived at our house. We met the team outside and asked if they would like to remove our old refrigerator first. The guys said that they would not take the old refrigerator. I showed my Ikea receipt that states we paid for both delivery and old appliance removal. After about 20 minutes on the phone (me with Ikea’s corporate office, the delivery guys clearing it with their dispatcher) they agreed to take the old fridge. Ikea offered to stay on the phone the entire time until the delivery was complete.
Having just had a new washing machine delivered earlier this summer (from a different appliance store) I had what I thought was a reasonable expectation of how things would go: The team would move the appliance to the truck’s lift gate, lower it to the ground, then lift it with a dolly or those two-man lifting straps, and then carry the refrigerator into the house.
This, unfortunately, is not what happened.
The two delivery men had arrived in a box truck with a broken lift gate. They had no furniture-lifting straps or dolly. The height of the box truck was around 4′ off the ground.
Instead of lifting the old refrigerator or putting it on a dolly, they dragged our old refrigerator through the house to the front door, scraping the finish of our wood floor.
We watched them slide our old fridge across the ground, then push it up and into the truck on its back. You can see our old refrigerator on the right side of the truck in this photo. This should have been an indicator of how our new fridge was going to be removed from the truck.
I asked why they were not using the lift gate, and the driver told me that the truck’s lift gate was broken.
When it was time to take the new refrigerator out of the truck, one delivery man rocked and walked the refrigerator to the back of the truck, pushing it off into the arms of the other delivery guy.
It’s a 218lb. refrigerator. What happened next?
The refrigerator came down at an angle, hitting the ground and denting the left rear corner. The fridge was wrapped in styrofoam and plastic, mounted on a small wooden pallet, and the pallet wood was broken too.
After watching how difficult it was for the delivery guys to get our old fridge up into into the truck without a functioning lift gate, my husband filmed the entire process of removing the new fridge from the truck on his phone, as we had a feeling it was not going to go well bringing the fridge down and we might need evidence later.
One of the delivery guys said “I don’t appreciate you filming this.”
We, in turn, did not appreciate seeing our new fridge dropped off of a truck.
The drop also sheared the heads off of the top screws that hold the top of the back metal service panel to the back side of the fridge. The back panel was also dented and bulged out near the lower right rear corner as you can see in the next photo.
I was still on the phone with Ikea, relaying everything that was happening in real time with them.
The delivery men dragged the new refrigerator up our driveway, through the yard, and up to our sidewalk. There were actually a few pieces of grass stuck in the gap between the bottom of the fridge’s access panel and the metal back of the refrigerator from being dragged through the front yard. The fridge was a mess. They still carried it into the house.
Ikea told us to refuse delivery and instruct the delivery team to take the refrigerator back, as we had no idea what other internal damage may have occurred from the drop. The delivery guys told us they had other deliveries to get to and did not want to remove it from our house! I relayed this all to Ikea, who relayed it to the delivery team’s dispatcher. Ultimately, they did re-load the dropped refrigerator into the truck.
The representative from Ikea said they would schedule another delivery for 10/1/18. They gave me the number for the local logistics company. (At this point, I began taking extensive notes on a legal pad with the names of everyone I was talking to, their phone numbers, and my case numbers within Ikea’s system. I’m not including all of that here as this post will be long enough as it is, but I’ve got copious notes on everything that happened.)
I called the logistics company and told them that the delivery team from today had a broken lift gate, no dolly, and no lifting straps. I asked that the next delivery team would have working equipment.
Delivery Attempt #2: Monday, 10/1/18 – “The Wrath Of Dents”
A different team of delivery drivers arrived in an Enterprise box truck. This truck had a working lift gate, and the team had a dolly to move the refrigerator. Yes! They moved the refrigerator off the truck and into our house without issue.
Once they brought the refrigerator in, the delivery team noticed holes in the plastic wrap, and under it, we saw a pair of dents in the side of the refrigerator. This side of the fridge was against the wall of the truck, and the delivery team apologized for not seeing the damage earlier. They helped us unwrap the refrigerator to get a better look, and they also took photos of the dents, advising us to do the same.
We weren’t sure what to do. At this point, it had been one week since we ordered the new refrigerator, so we were anxious to get a working fridge again. The dents were fairly low and would be concealed by a kitchen cabinet next to the refrigerator. The delivery team told us they wanted to leave the refrigerator with us and told us to call Ikea, saying Ikea would “make it right” and likely offer a scratch-and-dent type discount on the refrigerator.
We agreed that they could leave the fridge. I called Ikea and gave them our case number again, explaining the dents in the newly-arrived Fridge #2. Ikea said that the maximum discount they could give was 10% (about $130) but that keeping this dented refrigerator would turn it into an as-is purchase, voiding the warranty. The Whirlpool refrigerators that Ikea sells come with a five-year warranty, and we just did not want to lose that.
Ikea scheduled another delivery for 10/5/18., four days later.
As this refrigerator was now unwrapped, we opened it up to look inside, and I noticed a few other issues:
The model refrigerators that I saw in-store had both a removable ice bin and two foldaway shelves, which you can collapse to fit larger and taller items in the fridge. This fridge had neither of those things — it had two flat glass shelves on top and no bin to contain the ice ejected from the icemaker.
The refrigerator manual referred both to the ice bin and the foldaway shelves. I had also taken photos and video of the model refrigerator’s interior (to send to my husband, as he was at work when I went fridge-shopping.) Here’s the photo I took of the model fridge’s shelves in store at Ikea:
Here’s a photo of the ice bin in the model refrigerator at Ikea:
And, here’s what we got in Fridge #2:
I had even taken a picture of the floor model fridge’s model and serial number sticker, so I compared it to my own. The fridge in my kitchen had an identical model number, so it wasn’t a case of getting the wrong item. Very strange! (And, it really, really, really pays to take photos. Take plenty if you’re out shopping so you have them to compare to later if you need them.)
I called Ikea again, and they said it was possible that there had been some changes in features between the time the floor models were put on display and when our refrigerator was manufactured. I asked that if the next refrigerator did not come with the foldaway shelves and ice bin, would it be possible to go to the Schaumburg store and exchange the flat glass shelves for the ones in the floor model and also get an ice bin? Ikea said that would not be a problem.
Meanwhile, we still did not have a refrigerator to use. Because we agreed not to keep this refrigerator, Ikea said not to plug it in or to use it, so it sat in our kitchen unused for the next week. (Yes, week. Read on…)
Delivery Attempt #3: Friday, 10/5/18 – “The Search For Fridge”
Around 10:15am, I received a phonecall from the same delivery team that brought (and dropped) Fridge #1 back on 9/28. He told me that the lift gate on their truck was still non-functional, and he “did not feel comfortable trying to deliver this again.” He asked if I would decline delivery. I did.
At 10:25am, I called Ikea again and told them the latest development. The woman I spoke with in Ikea’s corporate office called the Schaumburg store while I was on the line with her. She said that the Schaumburg manager told her he was present when Fridge #2 was loaded onto the truck from the Schaumburg store, and that “it was not damaged” when it left their store. He said that the delivery company must have caused the scratches and dents to the refrigerator. Ikea corporate put me on hold so they could discuss the next steps.
While on hold, the logistics company that handles Ikea’s deliveries called me directly. I saw their number on call waiting and flipped over. The woman on the line from the logistics company must’ve just heard from Ikea, because she immediately unloaded on me in an aggressive tone, saying “We did not cause the damage to the refrigerator you have, as we do not use forklifts!” I told her I did not know who caused the damage to Fridge #2, but all we want is a new, undamaged fridge. She also said that they had “no idea until today” that the delivery team who dropped Fridge #1 did not have a working lift gate or any kind of equipment to move a large appliance once it was off the truck.
It had now been 12 days since we bought the refrigerator at Ikea. The logistics company rep said to call her back once Ikea had a new delivery date scheduled so that she could assign the guys who delivered Fridge #2 for that delivery.
The kicker — these refrigerators are an in-stock item at the Schaumburg Ikea. You could take one home the same day you buy it if you’re able to move it. (If!)
I started pondering if I could fit the refrigerator in my Trailblazer. I measured the fridge that was currently in my kitchen, and incredibly, because of its narrow width, it would fit inside my Blazer with the seats down. The packaging on the fridge notes that it can be laid down on its back without damaging the compressor for a short period of time. I wondered if a 30-minute drive home from Schaumburg constituted a “short period of time.”
I read the fridge manual, which noted that the warranty could be voided if Whirlpool later determines that a problem with the fridge could have been caused by your own home delivery. I decided that was probably not the best option.
I called Ikea again, as I’d been on hold with them when the logistics company called me, but we were later disconnected.
(As a side note, when you call Ikea, you always get the corporate office. It is not easy to get the actual phone number of your local Ikea, because the calls are all routed through a central switchboard. However, I did get the Schaumburg Ikea’s local number, and it is 847-969-0210.)
Corporate Ikea said that the Scahumburg Ikea manager was going to call me later today to work something out. The corporate rep said “Your store, Schaumburg, has the ability to do next-day delivery, but it is at the store’s discretion. Ask him when he reaches out directly later today.”
The remainder of 10/5 came and went. I never heard from the Scahumburg Ikea manager.
Saturday, 10/6/18: I called the Schaumburg Ikea directly and asked for the manager that was supposed to call me on 10/5. I spoke with another employee who said the manager was off all weekend. I gave her our case number and filled her in on everything that had happened to this point. I lucked out, as the woman I spoke with was both shocked and sympathetic. She said she would try to schedule another delivery as soon as possible.
20 minutes later, the woman I spoke with at Schaumburg called again and told me to expect a call from the logistics company. She said “They will call tomorrow to schedule something for Monday.”
Sunday, 10/7/18: The logistics company did not call.
Delivery Attempt #4? Monday, 10/8/18 – “The Voyage Home”
I called the logistics company at 10:25am to ask if Ikea had rescheduled another delivery for today. The woman I spoke with aid “There is no delivery scheduled for today.” She then put me on hold.
While on hold, I got another call. It was the delivery driver from 10/1’s Fridge #2, and he said they were 30 minutes away with a new refrigerator! I said that was great, even though this was the first confirmation from anyone that there was actually a delivery scheduled for this day. I was also glad that I was working from home — imagine what people who go to work each day endure when multiple-day-deliveries like this happen?
28 minutes later, the logistics company called our house again and asked when we wanted to schedule the next refrigerator delivery. I said “One of your drivers is already on the way.” The logistics rep said ‘Well, why did you call then?” and hung up!
I am happy to report that finally, on 10/8, our third (and final!) Ikea Whirlpool refrigerator was delivered in new condition with no damage. Once again, the guys on this delivery team did a fine job of getting it in the house safely. Finally, we had a fridge! We signed off on the paperwork from Ikea, and the delivery team left.
Once we unwrapped the new refrigerator, we saw that this one had both the foldaway shelves and the ice bin that we expected to be inside Fridge #2. We finished unwrapping and unpacking everything (there is a surprising amount of filament tape and styrofoam holding all of the interior shelves and bins in place), leveled the fridge, and connected the water line. We left the fridge unplugged for the rest of the day, as it had been angled on its back when the team brought it in on a dolly.
That night, we plugged it in. The manual said to leave it cool for 24 hours before beginning to use it. Finally, on Tuesday, 10/9, we began using the refrigerator we bought two weeks’ prior.
“The Final Frontier!”
Now that we’ve been using our new refrigerator for a week and a half, here are a few more thoughts:
- I like the fridge-on-top, freezer-on-bottom more than I expected to. The refrigerator compartments seem easier to get to and organize than our old one was. This refrigerator’s French doors make it easier to squeeze between the fridge and our kitchen table when someone has the fridge doors open. I’m still getting used to having the freezer on the bottom, but its double drawers keep things more organized than the “Freezer Tetris” I used to play with our old freezer-on-top refrigerator.
- The internal water dispenser we had to have? It was worth all the hassle, but it’s not the same as our old one. Our previous Kenmore must have had a longer cold water line inside the refrigerator, as we could get four or five glasses of cold water out of it before the chilled water ran out and room-temperature water ran through.
This refrigerator’s internal water dispenser is good for about two glasses, and the third glass will be room temperature until the water sits inside the fridge long enough to cool down again. On the upside, it’s a very fast dispenser — faster than filling water at the sink, and much faster than our old one.
- Stainless steel is already not my favorite surface for a refrigerator. Our old refrigerator had a painted black surface, which showed no fingerprints and never sustained a scratch through the paint. That fridge stood up to 14 years of family life — from toddler hands sliding alphabet magnets all over it, to schoolkids showing off their artwork masterpieces, as well as housing take-out menus in magnetic clips, and other normal family fridge “decorating.”
We realized right away that this refrigerator shows every single fingerprint, even when you make a conscious effort to only touch the handles. (Good thing I have gotten so much free stainless steel cleaner at Menards lately.) Ikea only offers one finish for their Whirlpool refrigerators, so choosing another finish wasn’t an option.
This particular refrigerator also scratches ridiculously easily. We have an electronic weather center which has a magnetic base, and it hung on our old refrigerator for years without damaging the door. So, of course, we stuck it right on the new refrigerator’s door.
Moments later, simply sliding the weather center a bit to straighten it out made multiple scratches on the surface. I know that some of the stainless finish fridges we looked at during the “Great Refrigerator Hunt of 2018” at other retailers had protective varnishes on them to prevent both fingerprints and minor scratches from appearing. This fridge does not. I’ve been reading about everything from fingerprint-resistant stainless polishes to car wax to protect it.
(For what it’s worth, we have had a stainless-steel-faced Kenmore range for 14 years that is still scratch-free and far more fingerprint-resistant than our new refrigerator is, and I’ve never done anything special to it..!)
We now have no plans to put any other magnets on the front of the new refrigerator. The sides of this Ikea/Whirlpool fridge are painted with a metallic silver paint, which doesn’t seem to scratch nearly as badly, so we’ll concentrate all magnet activity there.
It’s very nice to have a working refrigerator in the kitchen again though. I hope we’re done replacing appliances for a while!
I’m sharing all of this because this was our first experience with Ikea’s home delivery, and my husband and I have decided that if we need anything else delivered from Ikea in the future, we will either be putting it in our own truck, or not buying it there at all. Their in-store delivery counter and staff gave me the impression that delivery would be easy, pleasant, and quick, and it was anything but.
We learned a lot through this process, specifically that not every store maintains their own delivery crew. When our new washing machine was delivered by Abt this summer, it was a top-quality, flawless delivery in every possible way, but we now realize why: Abt has their own delivery drivers, their own trucks, and their own load-in equipment. Their name and reputation in Chicagoland is solid because of their stellar customer service. If Abt had sold this size fridge with the features we wanted (namely, the internal water dispenser that was so important to us) we would have simply bought it there and not gone through this craziness.
For many other retailers though, having their own delivery trucks, drivers, and movers isn’t the norm. Earlier this year, my sister used Menards’ home delivery service to deliver shingles and other roofing supplies, and she had a crazy experience as well, where many of the items they purchased were damaged or completely missing. Menards also outsources their deliveries to a third-party service, and it really can be a luck-of-the-draw situation whether you get a good delivery crew or a less-than-effective one.
Earlier in our fridge-shopping adventure, my dad had also proposed re-framing the opening to our kitchen to make it about a foot narrower (see yellow arrow above which notes the current doorway.) This would have gained us enough wall space to accommodate a larger refrigerator without the fridge hanging over into the living room. In retrospect, we probably could have saved a lot of time and hassle by doing this — if we closed off the angled area of the doorway, we’d gain a few more inches to fit a larger refrigerator against the wall. With Dad’s involvement, it could have been done over a weekend, because he’s just awesome and highly skilled at such things.
Whenever our new refrigerator has reached the end of its life, if we are still living in this house, we’ll definitely consider re-framing this kitchen entryway opening to fit a “normal” refrigerator in this space. It’s wonderful to have a working refrigerator again though! As leery as I grew of electronic controls on washing machines, I hope that the ones on this refrigerator continue to serve us well. It has a rapid-chill mode to cool new groceries from the store when you put them inside, and it also has an alarm to notify the household if someone leaves the fridge door open. So far, so good!