Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Open letter to The Brick

I drafted this up a long while ago - but the timing shouldn't affect the sentiment it represented back when it was written. After a fiasco with the delivery of some rare parts for our bedroom set (courtesy - well, not courtesy - in exchange for cash via The Brick) we were left with a sour taste in our mouth. I sent this out to them yesterday. I'm not entirely sure what will come of it, but we were definitely unsatisfied with them.

If you're looking for furniture - trust me - it is my recommendation that you try everywhere you can and seriously consider purchasing from The Brick if you have alternatives. We're not shopping there anytime soon.

Also - we were at a United Furniture Warehouse, which apparently is owned by The Brick. This is where the damaged floor models wind up - so ... if you're boycotting The Brick, be aware that United is also a part of the beast - granted I can't imagine they actually profit very much from clearing overflow at less than cost.

Anyhow - on to the letter...

The Brick, Regional Vice President, East
Wednesday, September 22
6765 Kennedy Rd.,

Attention: Customer Service

To whom it may concern,

I am contacting you to express my frustration with our most recent purchase from Peterborough location of The Brick. My new wife and I have just moved into our first home together, and we purchased a new bedroom set from The Brick to make our master bedroom in our new home complete. We shopped around and found that while most of the stores carried similar products, The Brick’s delivery date matched our moving schedule perfectly. We were pleased with our purchase and excited to include the product in our new home together.

The timing was perfect. We would move in on June 18, paint the master bedroom over the weekend, and receive the bedroom set on June 22. We’d be comfortably adjusted into our new residence in just a few days. However, after the delivery, we discovered that some special screws for the bed were not included as they should have been. I double-checked the boxes to be sure we hadn’t misplaced them ourselves. The parts were not included, and thus not delivered. This begins our six weeks of frustration and disappointment with The Brick.

I would like to stress, I was happy to live up to our end of the bargain – we liked the bed, paid full-price for it, and weren’t interested in going back on our decision. I did not threaten to return the product or try and manipulate our customer service representative into further compensation. I simply wanted the parts so we could finally quit living in the little guestroom in our own house.

I called our local Brick and they told me they would send new screws and that they would arrive in the mail early next week. By mid-week (and no parts) I called back. They double-checked and found that the parts would have to be delivered to them, and then mailed out to us. It being Thursday already, they expected the parts in by the end of the following week. A week later I had to call back to inquire on the status of our delivery again.

During these weeks, the store became familiar with our situation. We were continually told the parts should be in early next week. Each week we would wait until Wednesday evening, and when nothing arrived, week after week, we’d call back. I think the most disappointing part of this was that the employee was unapologetic (never said sorry for the inconvenience once) and non-committal, therefore deferring. I say ‘deferring’ because, while she had no idea when the parts would come in, she would defer our complaint for a week by saying that the parts should arrive in a week’s time. This would lift our hopes on a dishonest statement, having us believe that we should receive the parts by early next week, when, in reality, the Brick representative did not know when the parts would arrive.

Ultimately, I wanted details and an open line of communication keeping us in the know regarding our delivery situation and, of course, some sort of apology. Rather, our customer service rep was not being entirely honest with us – and we continued to live uncomfortably in our guest room.

The delivery was schedule for Tuesday, June 22. The new parts didn’t arrive for over a month, on Tuesday, August 3. You can see our inconvenience and empathize with the disappointment we felt with our customer and delivery services.

After a few weeks, I resorted to speaking with the manager, Barb, directly. Barb was initially much more communicative about the situation. She explained that the parts were very uncommon and difficult to acquire, and that the manufacturer didn’t have the parts (though they were delivering the product without the parts anyhow). Barb explained that there were no parts anywhere, and this was the explanation for us not receiving the parts. This was edifying, but not entirely satisfying. I could understand why we didn’t get them, but … as I said before, if The Brick couldn’t make the June 22 delivery date (and we knew we’d have to wait until August 3 for a Brick delivery) then we certainly would have turned to any other furniture supplier, who could have easily met a delivery schedule more accommodating than nearly six weeks.

A few more weeks went by. There was no change in our situation. We were continually told that the manufacturer was unable to provide the appropriate parts, and all we could do was wait. Of course, the story ends with the parts eventually arriving. The story ends with us happy in our bedroom set – but it also ends with a change in our perception of The Brick.

The bedroom set is very nice, and we’re quite comfortable with it. It’s what we paid for, however, the six weeks of continuous phone calls, disingenuous delivery assurances and unapologetic customer service has significantly soured our opinion of The Brick. I really don’t know what it is you can do to make it up to us, but as a result, we are seriously committed to both never purchasing from another Brick outlet again and recommending to all of our friends and family to avoid buying products from The Brick as a result of our experience.

Disappointingly, but truly yours,

Ryan

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