Mail order funiture issue - need advice

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gavinsiu
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Mail order funiture issue - need advice

Post by gavinsiu »

My wife recently purchase a set of expensive dining chairs. The first batch came packaged improperly because they put all of the chairs in one box. The installer sent them back because there were nothing they could do.

It took months to get them to send a new set of chairs. This time they are individually boxes. but so far only 1 out of the 6 sent is without damage. At this point my wife attempted to get a refund, but they will charge a really high restock fee and they also complain that it was outside of the return window. What are my opinons? How have you handle similar situations in the past. The company is based in CA.

Here are some of my ideas.
1. Ask the credit card for charge back. I don't know if this will work since it's been several months.
2. Request replacements. We do want to chairs but is wondering if they will ever send us a set that isn't damaged. Not sure if they are obligated legally to send replacements.
3. File a BBB. I am sure that will do nothing, but it will be on record.
4. File a complaint with the Calfornia Department of Consumer Affairs. Not sure if that will do anything.
5. Small Claims Court, would that be filed in my state or their state?

I am open to other ideas.
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Watty
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by Watty »

gavinsiu wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 12:38 pm At this point my wife attempted to get a refund, but they will charge a really high restock fee and they also complain that it was outside of the return window.
.....
1. Ask the credit card for charge back. I don't know if this will work since it's been several months.
If the second set arrived damaged several months ago and you are now only getting around to doing something about it then it is pretty much your problem.

You may have made an expensive mistake if you delayed reporting shipping damage for several months.

The reason is that if you had promptly reported the damage then the seller could have made a claim with the shipping company but if it is several months later now then it is too late for that.
Supergrover
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by Supergrover »

You could try for the chargeback. You have emails back and forth about the damaged items?
I would try to get a refund of some sort. Even though you really want the chairs, they aren’t worth all that aggravation. You could probably find them somewhere else.

I try not to buy anything really expensive online. I’m scared to death I’m going to get ripped off.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by ResearchMed »

Watty wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 12:48 pm
gavinsiu wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 12:38 pm At this point my wife attempted to get a refund, but they will charge a really high restock fee and they also complain that it was outside of the return window.
.....
1. Ask the credit card for charge back. I don't know if this will work since it's been several months.
If the second set arrived damaged several months ago and you are now only getting around to doing something about it then it is pretty much your problem.

You may have made an expensive mistake if you delayed reporting shipping damage for several months.

The reason is that if you had promptly reported the damage then the seller could have made a claim with the shipping company but if it is several months later now then it is too late for that.

I would have contacted the charge card vendor at the first problem, and included them in the "what to do".

Did you just get the second set, or is it in fact several months since?
If it's "just now", then the charge card vendor may be good... there are times when the clock doesn't start until you "get" the merchandise.

For anything even possibly squirrelly, and this would count give sight unseen plus shipping concerns, we'd always use American Express. They have always been very helpful with any consumer problem, usually just refunding the money right away, investigating next, and then making the refund permanent.

Good luck.

RM
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cheese_breath
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by cheese_breath »

Watty wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 12:48 pm If the second set arrived damaged several months ago...
That's not what he said. He said ...
gavinsiu wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 12:38 pm...
It took months to get them to send a new set of chairs...
So I interpret this to say, the reason for the several months delay is caused by the furniture company delaying sending the replacements.
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lthenderson
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by lthenderson »

gavinsiu wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 12:38 pm Here are some of my ideas.
1. Ask the credit card for charge back. I don't know if this will work since it's been several months.
2. Request replacements. We do want to chairs but is wondering if they will ever send us a set that isn't damaged. Not sure if they are obligated legally to send replacements.
3. File a BBB. I am sure that will do nothing, but it will be on record.
4. File a complaint with the Calfornia Department of Consumer Affairs. Not sure if that will do anything.
5. Small Claims Court, would that be filed in my state or their state?
1. In my experience fairly recently, the good old days of charge backs on credit cards are gone. They will instead open up a claim, contact the supplier, who will prove that you ordered the chairs and you received them and then your claim will be denied. I tried charging back on my credit card for an item I bought online that said was made in America but arrived with foreign packaging, symbols and was obviously an inferior project. I wanted my money back but the seller offered a 10% discount. All the credit card seemed concern with was that I had ordered from them and I had received something from them and the seller had offered a remedy which I had denied. My claim was denied. YMMV

2. This would be my first choice. Hopefully after two failed attempts, they will try to step up their packaging regimen.

3. While I have had good success with the BBB over the years, it has always been for product bought that hasn't arrived in timely fashions and repeated contacts have gone ignored. The BBB essentially gets the filer's side of the story, forward that to the company and then forward that response back to you. They are mostly a middle man. I'm not sure what your claim would be when they forward the company's response that they have shipped product to you twice and you admit you have the product but don't want to pay a restocking fee per the purchase agreement.

4. Nothing with this transaction seems deceptive. I'm not sure how this would help.

5. I'm guessing paying any restock fee would be much less than money spent going this route not to mention all the inconvenience and restless nights between now and a verdict. My vote would be it is not worth it.
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Watty
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by Watty »

cheese_breath wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 1:11 pm
Watty wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 12:48 pm If the second set arrived damaged several months ago...
That's not what he said. He said ...
gavinsiu wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 12:38 pm...
It took months to get them to send a new set of chairs...
So I interpret this to say, the reason for the several months delay is caused by the furniture company delaying sending the replacements.
The OP will need to clarify this.

If they just recently received the second set of chairs then it should be within any return window. I would also think that it would be treated more as shipping damage than a customer return which would be a lot different if you are dealing with a freight company and not some company like UPS.
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gavinsiu
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by gavinsiu »

Watty wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 12:48 pm
gavinsiu wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 12:38 pm At this point my wife attempted to get a refund, but they will charge a really high restock fee and they also complain that it was outside of the return window.
.....
1. Ask the credit card for charge back. I don't know if this will work since it's been several months.
If the second set arrived damaged several months ago and you are now only getting around to doing something about it then it is pretty much your problem.

You may have made an expensive mistake if you delayed reporting shipping damage for several months.

The reason is that if you had promptly reported the damage then the seller could have made a claim with the shipping company but if it is several months later now then it is too late for that.
No, the second batch arrived yesterday and they were damaged. We are doing this as promptly as possible.
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gavinsiu
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by gavinsiu »

Watty wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 1:20 pm
cheese_breath wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 1:11 pm
Watty wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 12:48 pm If the second set arrived damaged several months ago...
That's not what he said. He said ...
gavinsiu wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 12:38 pm...
It took months to get them to send a new set of chairs...
So I interpret this to say, the reason for the several months delay is caused by the furniture company delaying sending the replacements.
The OP will need to clarify this.

If they just recently received the second set of chairs then it should be within any return window. I would also think that it would be treated more as shipping damage than a customer return which would be a lot different if you are dealing with a freight company and not some company like UPS.
The first batch was sent back and a replacement was requested. The replacement took months to ship. The vendor claimed there were a lot of supply chain issues.
homebuyer6426
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by homebuyer6426 »

What sort of damage do the chairs have?
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Watty
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by Watty »

gavinsiu wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 1:24 pm The first batch was sent back and a replacement was requested. The replacement took months to ship. The vendor claimed there were a lot of supply chain issues.
Call the vendor and tell them that it arrived damaged. Keep the packing material so they can inspect that if they want to. Follow up your phone call with a letter sent by certified mail.

If they will not do that then dispute the credit card charge.
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gavinsiu
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by gavinsiu »

homebuyer6426 wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 1:30 pm What sort of damage do the chairs have?
So the first batch sent they put everything in a single box with minimal packing. As a result, everything rub together during shipping resulting in abrasion and punctures. They indicated that they would be more careful in the next shipment. The next shipment arrived now in multiple boxes. Now the chairs were surounded by decent amount of packing materials, but unfortunately, they had insufficent package material between the parts. As a result, the chair arrived with a bunch of punctures sort of like if you stab it with a knife.
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by galawdawg »

File a credit card dispute.
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gavinsiu
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by gavinsiu »

So currently, the vendor said they can refund the amount but with a restock fee. The rep is trying to talk with the higher ups to see if they can waive the restock fee. This would be ideal because I really don't want to want the messy process of dispute where they might not rule in my favor and the vendor hasn't demonstrate competence in packing.

If they don't waive the restock, I might try getting them to ship me replacements for the ones that are damaged. If they won't do this, I can try to trigger a dispute arguing that they did not ship the product promised since the product should have been in mint condition.
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by SmileyFace »

gavinsiu wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 3:18 pm So currently, the vendor said they can refund the amount but with a restock fee. The rep is trying to talk with the higher ups to see if they can waive the restock fee. This would be ideal because I really don't want to want the messy process of dispute where they might not rule in my favor and the vendor hasn't demonstrate competence in packing.

If they don't waive the restock, I might try getting them to ship me replacements for the ones that are damaged. If they won't do this, I can try to trigger a dispute arguing that they did not ship the product promised since the product should have been in mint condition.
A restock fee insinuates they are putting the chairs back in stock for resale - they can't do that if they are damaged
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gavinsiu
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by gavinsiu »

SmileyFace wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 3:30 pm A restock fee insinuates they are putting the chairs back in stock for resale - they can't do that if they are damaged
I am aware of this, but that is what they are telling us at the moment. In the end, it's just another excuse to block people from making return. I am also told that return policy has change since my order. I supposed I could make an argument to them that I should be grandfathered assuming the older term is better.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by ResearchMed »

gavinsiu wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 5:46 pm
SmileyFace wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 3:30 pm A restock fee insinuates they are putting the chairs back in stock for resale - they can't do that if they are damaged
I am aware of this, but that is what they are telling us at the moment. In the end, it's just another excuse to block people from making return. I am also told that return policy has change since my order. I supposed I could make an argument to them that I should be grandfathered assuming the older term is better.

I'd wouldn't allow them even to discuss what changed AFTER you paid.
That's nuts. Think what that leads to...

RM
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galawdawg
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advice

Post by galawdawg »

What was their return policy at the time you purchased? That is what would apply.
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by SmileyFace »

gavinsiu wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 5:46 pm
SmileyFace wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 3:30 pm A restock fee insinuates they are putting the chairs back in stock for resale - they can't do that if they are damaged
I am aware of this, but that is what they are telling us at the moment. In the end, it's just another excuse to block people from making return. I am also told that return policy has change since my order. I supposed I could make an argument to them that I should be grandfathered assuming the older term is better.
What was the return policy when you purchased and what are they saying it changed to? Return policy at time of purchase is the one that matters.
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SmileyFace
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by SmileyFace »

gavinsiu wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 5:46 pm
SmileyFace wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 3:30 pm A restock fee insinuates they are putting the chairs back in stock for resale - they can't do that if they are damaged
I am aware of this, but that is what they are telling us at the moment. In the end, it's just another excuse to block people from making return. I am also told that return policy has change since my order. I supposed I could make an argument to them that I should be grandfathered assuming the older term is better.
What was the return policy when you purchased and what are they saying it changed to? Return policy at time of purchase is the one that matters.
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advice

Post by nisiprius »

If it's a US company, which your posting suggests, and if reasonable effort using normal channels doesn't work, I absolutely would try the letter-to-the-CEO approach. It is about an hour's work, I've had a better-than-50% success rate. I'd try it long before trying small claims court.

Sleuth out the CEO's name and HQ address, perhaps from their website -> shareholder relations -> annual report, perhaps from Wikipedia.

Write a letter on paper. It should be only one page long. It should be mailed in a hand-addressed envelope with a stamp.

The first sentence should state exactly what you want them to do. In your case, probably, refund the restocking charge.

The rest of the letter should say why and briefly explain how you arrived at the number of dollars you're asking for. In this case... because you acted as quickly as you could, the delays were their fault, not yours, and a restocking charge is inappropriate because you hope they are not going to re-sell these damaged items.

Give it a shot even if you are outside the return policy or anything like that. Don't be legalistic, use language like "I feel that this is fair, because..."

The letter should be phrased as a request, not a demand. It should be cordial, not hostile. You are an unhappy customer, and if they will just do this simple thing you will be a happy customer. There should be no references to law or hints of any legal or quasilegal action, no threats to badmouth them on social media. Don't complain about the customer reps you work with (unless they did something really terrible, but it doesn't sound as if they did).

As an attachment, include just enough documentation to show a) that you are not making it up, b) that it is clear why you are asking for the number of dollars you're asking for, c) that they can verify it against their own records. Assume you will succeed and make it easy for them by being sure they have your address to mail the check to, etc.
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Picasso
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advice

Post by Picasso »

What sort of nice dining room chairs are shipped in boxes? Isn’t this like a thing that would come blanket wrapped from a furniture shipper?

In any case, this sounds super annoying and I hope you get some sort of resolution soon.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advice

Post by cheese_breath »

Picasso wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 9:51 pm What sort of nice dining room chairs are shipped in boxes?
Disassembled furniture shipped as individual pieces OP will have to assemble himself. This isn't as unusual as it sounds.
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gavinsiu
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advise

Post by gavinsiu »

SmileyFace wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 7:23 pm What was the return policy when you purchased and what are they saying it changed to? Return policy at time of purchase is the one that matters.
I am not entirely sure, my wife made the order and wants to handle it. I am just trying to anticipate things in case she run into problems. I am waiting for more information.
Last edited by gavinsiu on Sat Aug 06, 2022 8:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Topic Author
gavinsiu
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advice

Post by gavinsiu »

nisiprius wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:07 pm If it's a US company, which your posting suggests, and if reasonable effort using normal channels doesn't work, I absolutely would try the letter-to-the-CEO approach. It is about an hour's work, I've had a better-than-50% success rate. I'd try it long before trying small claims court.

Sleuth out the CEO's name and HQ address, perhaps from their website -> shareholder relations -> annual report, perhaps from Wikipedia.

Write a letter on paper. It should be only one page long. It should be mailed in a hand-addressed envelope with a stamp.

The first sentence should state exactly what you want them to do. In your case, probably, refund the restocking charge.

The rest of the letter should say why and briefly explain how you arrived at the number of dollars you're asking for. In this case... because you acted as quickly as you could, the delays were their fault, not yours, and a restocking charge is inappropriate because you hope they are not going to re-sell these damaged items.

Give it a shot even if you are outside the return policy or anything like that. Don't be legalistic, use language like "I feel that this is fair, because..."

The letter should be phrased as a request, not a demand. It should be cordial, not hostile. You are an unhappy customer, and if they will just do this simple thing you will be a happy customer. There should be no references to law or hints of any legal or quasilegal action, no threats to badmouth them on social media. Don't complain about the customer reps you work with (unless they did something really terrible, but it doesn't sound as if they did).

As an attachment, include just enough documentation to show a) that you are not making it up, b) that it is clear why you are asking for the number of dollars you're asking for, c) that they can verify it against their own records. Assume you will succeed and make it easy for them by being sure they have your address to mail the check to, etc.
Thank you for the suggestion. If all else failed, I will try making this move.
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gavinsiu
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Re: Mail order funiture issue - need advice

Post by gavinsiu »

Picasso wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 9:51 pm What sort of nice dining room chairs are shipped in boxes? Isn’t this like a thing that would come blanket wrapped from a furniture shipper?

In any case, this sounds super annoying and I hope you get some sort of resolution soon.
Well, originally the vendor subcontracted an installer who does all of the assembly at the destination. The installer noted that the funiture appeared to be broken and advise us to send it back since they can't assemble broken funitures. The second time, they were unable to arrange an installer so we had to assemble it ourselves.
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