DrScott 18:36 05 Feb 2005

I'm very sorry for using this forum for consumer advice when unrelated to computers, but I'm not sure where else to turn!

Basically, I bought a chair cover from Ikea from a store around 100 miles from where I live, and at home found it to be defective - i.e. the zip was broken. Now I know I'm entitled to a refund or replacement, but unfortunately work etc means it isn't practical to drive down to the store. Now I've spoken to Ikea and they say they will not and cannot replace the goods unless I turn up to the original store with the goods and the receipt, and that I should have unwrapped and inspected the goods at time of purchase.

My question is whether I should be obliged to make the journey, plus the associated costs, or whether Ikea are legally bound to organise replacement or refund at distance? My understanding of the The Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002 is that the onus is on them?! Am I right?

I'm sure this sort of thing happens with PCs etc all the time, so I'm sure it is relevant somehow!

Any advice, as always, very much appreciated!

  pipedream 18:51 05 Feb 2005

I can't comment on the legality of this, but I had a similar problem with part of a computer desk which was damaged - they will only send items out if they were delivered to you originally, not collected from the store. However, you don't need to go to the original store for a replacement/refund so maybe there's another store a bit closer to you?

  DrScott 18:56 05 Feb 2005

Well I asked Ikea about that and they said they would only provide a refund if I returned the item to the exact store I bought it from!

  Patr100 20:01 05 Feb 2005

If you bought it from the store then the onus is on you to return it to the store.
You could possibly post or courier it back to them ith prior arrangement but you will have to pay for it.

Yes, it's a pain but you made the decison to travel 100 miles to buy it -
Ikeas asre separate stores like the old Benetton franchises so each store deals with refunds by itself. Inconvenient sometimes but not illegal.

Even if the Distance Selling Regs applied - which they don't - and it was delivered by mail order you would still be laible for return postage costs anyway.

  spuds 20:18 05 Feb 2005

If you had purchased on-line,telephone,fax or by mail order, then you would have been covered by the Distance Selling Regulation 2000. The onus would have been on the company to offer a replacement or refund, at no cost to you.That of course would depend on examination results, when they received the item. Failure and fault with the product would come under the act, but damage by the customer would not.

Purchasing direct from a store, would come under consumer law per the Sales of Goods and Services Act 1982, and it would be your responsibility to return the goods with evidence of purchase. Some larger stores with branches in other cities, may have an arrangement were the goods can be returned to any of its stores for replacement or refund.Ikea are within its rights to suggest that you return the goods to a particular store of their choosing. What I would suggest, if you have a more local Ikea, then give them a telephone call to see if they will exchange the goods for you. The manager may have authority to do this, so it could be worth a try.Failing that, perhaps a call to Ikea's head office in the UK may help.

  Forum Editor 13:12 06 Feb 2005

You bought the item from a specific store, and your contract was with that store. In common with many big retailers, IKEA stores are self-accounting within the group, and although you might get some help if you phone the UK headquarters the onus is really on you to return the goods to the point of sale.

  DrScott 14:02 06 Feb 2005

Many thanks for all your help guys! You've all confirmed my fears!

It does in my mind seem a shame that if you buy something from a store in good faith, all packaged etc, that the onus is on the customer to check the purchase before buying it. I suppose the moral is a) check and b) don't buy anything far from home!

Anyway, looks like I'll have to make the trek to north london at some point. They've given my 90 days to return it in, so should be able to make it. All the other stuff I bought that day was fine, just a real pain to have to return this one! I suppose I could just use a needle and thread...

Anyway, thanks for the help and advice!!

  pipedream 16:33 06 Feb 2005

Well, all I can say is that I purchased the desk in Croydon and got a replacement at Thurrock, which they confirmed was OK by phone beforehand - suggest you call them again.

  anchor 18:01 06 Feb 2005

Is the value of the chair cover worth the cost of the petrol for a 200 mile round trip?. Not to mention devoting the best part of a day for the exchange. Only you can decide.

As you say, perhaps a repair job with a new zip may be the answer. Annoying I know, but a lesson learnt.

  Forum Editor 18:04 06 Feb 2005

the store you're referring to is about 20 minutes from my door.

Try contacting IKEA again before you travel - just to see if there's anything they can do. As far as checking the goods is concerned, I'm afraid good old 'caveat emptor' applies here, as with all purchases.

  DrScott 01:47 07 Feb 2005

Well I live in Northampton and was travelling back from London, so thought it a good time to pop into Ikea. My girlfriend and I will now probably be popping back to London in a couple of weeks, so will probably try and exchange it then. Just a bit annoyed to have spent £55 on a rather cheap piece of material to find it so badly made, but never mind!

The people I originally spoke to were actually the Brent Cross store customer service department, so not sure I'll get any mileage out of asking them sweetly to arrange something.

Anyway, thank you for all your comments... if you see a madman running round the Brent Cross Ikea tearing open all the packaging and rummaging through boxes, you'll now know who it is!

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