Make Furniture Delivery and Returns as Hassle-Free

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You’ve been browsing, you’ve been looking for bargains, you’ve finally found the perfect piece of furniture for your room – and now you need to bring it home. Depending on where you buy furniture from, this can be an easy maneuver, or you may have to put up with hundreds of dollars in shipping costs and struggle to figure out how to return a product you don’t like.

According to the experience of the CR members, who reported on their furniture purchases for the new survey of furniture dealers, the delivery process seems to go smoothly most of the time. Of the 38,000+ furniture purchases that were evaluated in our survey, only 6 percent of in-store furniture and 10 percent of furniture purchased online had a damaged or missing item. And only 6 percent of walk-in or online purchases had postponed or delayed their deliveries.

Also encouraging: Most of the members we surveyed did not return their purchases. If they did, the most common reason the item had arrived damaged or missing parts was with some items returned because the quality, comfort, or color were not as expected, or because the item did not fit into their home.

Walk-in store deliveries and returns

Delivery costs: Furniture stores typically offer roadside delivery and a “white glove” delivery service. Roadside delivery, where the company drops the furniture off your home, usually costs a flat fee, depending on how close your home is to the business or how much you’re spending overall. The white gloved delivery service – sometimes called in-home delivery – is the more expensive option as the furniture is usually delivered to your home, assembled by the delivery team on site, and placed exactly where you want it. Be aware, however, that stores may have different definitions of white gloved delivery service – some may only deliver the box to one area in your home, with no setup or assembly. Hence, it is important to find out what you are registering for before paying.

The story goes on

Prices for the white gloved delivery service can vary significantly from retailer to retailer. However, buyers can expect to pay anywhere from $ 60 to $ 400 depending on their home’s proximity to the store or their total bill. RH (formerly Restoration Hardware) offers its customers, for example, a delivery service with white gloves for all furniture purchases. The flat rate starts at $ 199 for homes that are within 50 miles of the nearest store. Ethan Allen offers white glove delivery (which the company calls premium in-home delivery) starting at $ 59 for orders up to $ 499.

Return Policy and Fees: Like shipping costs, return policies in walk-in stores may vary by retailer. Stores that offer full refunds to customers usually require items to be returned within 10 to 30 days. However, some stores are more restrictive. Bob’s Discount Furniture will only issue refunds for furniture returned within three days of delivery, minus the cost of returning it via the delivery service specified by the store (which is required – you cannot simply drop off the return at your local store). Furniture Row has one of the least generous return policies: once a customer receives a product, the product is only exchangeable, not refundable. On the other end of the spectrum is Ikea, which allows customers to return products for a full refund within 180 days with proof of purchase.

Some stores accept returns outside of their normal return window in exchange for credits. For example, Badcock Home Furniture offers full refunds for items returned within 10 days of delivery and full credit for items returned between 11 and 30 days, minus a 20 percent restocking fee.

You may be charged a restocking fee for returns – typically between 10 and 20 percent of the retail price of a product. Additionally, stores may not reimburse a customer’s original shipping costs. This depends on the reason for your return. If the item arrives damaged, different than described or purchased, many retailers will pay for the return shipping. However, if you simply return the item because you no longer like or need it, you will likely have to pay those costs. In this scenario, you may need to ship the return back to the store or its warehouse yourself (although some stores will pick up a return if it’s too large to be easily returned – sometimes free, sometimes for a fee).

Online deliveries and returns

Shipping Cost: One of the selling points of buying furniture from an online retailer is that many offer free standard shipping on all orders or free shipping on orders above a certain price. According to the Consumer Reports survey, 41 percent of online furniture buyers said free shipping or delivery was a top reason they choose a particular online retailer.

For example, Overstock.com offers free land shipping on all orders in the United States, except for orders to Alaska and Hawaii. In the meantime, Wayfair is offering free standard shipping to customers on orders over $ 35. Orders under $ 35 will be charged a flat shipping fee of $ 5.

However, the fees for larger pieces of furniture that have to be delivered by truck are often higher. For example, Pottery Barn will charge a flat rate for furniture based on the order total and number of miles, starting at $ 149 for an order up to $ 999 and traveling less than 99 miles.

As in walk-in shops, many online furniture retailers offer delivery of white gloves for an additional fee. Fees may vary by retailer, but as a benchmark: white glove delivery for furniture purchased on the Macy’s website costs between $ 70 and $ 261, depending on the location of the house and the size of the furniture.

Return Policies and Fees: In general, online furniture retailers’ return policies are the same as the return policies offered in walk-in stores. However, most online retailers pay for the return shipping (unless the item has arrived damaged or is different from the description, or it was the wrong item altogether – in these cases the retailer will usually try to make the return process as simple as possible to make customer as possible). When you need to return large furniture to an online-only retailer, the process can be difficult – especially if the customer is responsible for repackaging the furniture and dropping it off at a shipping point like a UPS location.

Another possible disadvantage: some online retailers, such as B. Coleman Furniture, require customers to return items in their unused condition and in their original packaging or equivalent for a refund or credit. This can be a real challenge if you’ve already assembled furniture or thrown away the packing materials.

When an item arrives damaged or with parts missing, online shoppers typically don’t have to pay for the return – although they may be asked to repackage the item and take it to a shipping facility.

However, repackaging large furniture can be difficult. (Note: some online retailers don’t accept returns after a product has been assembled or modified.) Your best approach? Ask the seller about the return packaging requirements and advice on disassembling and repacking the item, says Marina Hanisch, a New York City-based interior designer.

Smart furniture shopping tips

Buy large furniture? Get a delivery service wearing white gloves. It can be a chore to pick up large furniture from a warehouse and transport it home yourself. This allows you to lift heavy furniture that has just been placed on your front door. Delivering with white gloves solves these problems. Another reason to buy it? “The White Glove Service helps to avoid damage when unpacking,” says Hanisch.

“If you order a delivery with white gloves for large furniture, this also applies [often] This includes returns with white gloves, where they come out again, are dismantled and returned, ”adds Hanisch. Check with the dealer to make sure this is included.

Check the furniture on delivery. The best way to protect yourself from getting stuck with a damaged product is to inspect the furniture upon receipt and immediately alert the deliverer and dealer of any damage. (According to Value City Furniture’s return policy, customers must inform store staff of any damage within seven days of delivery.) If the item arrives by truck or you have bought a delivery service with white gloves, Hanisch recommends checking the items while the delivery team your house is present. “Usually you have to sign [a form] before the delivery team goes where you confirm the item was delivered intact and not damaged, ”she says. “I would inspect the furniture from top to bottom before signing this form.”

Also, take photos of damaged parts in case you need to provide evidence later. When you buy furniture online, “take a picture of the box yourself if the box has been damaged before opening it,” says Hanisch. “This can prove that the product was damaged in transit.”

Avoid the buyer’s remorse. Unlike people who shop in a store, online shoppers cannot touch or see a product in person before purchasing it. However, there are three steps you can take to avoid buying a product online that you don’t like when it arrives at your home.

First, ask the retailer to send you a free wood or fabric sample before purchasing the item so that you can assess the quality of the material. (Some retailers charge a small fee for samples.) Second, you can view the list of products on multiple devices; On a mobile phone, computer, and tablet to make sure you get an accurate picture of the color. (Screens with different brightness settings can cause the same color to look different.) Third, use online customer reviews carefully: only read reviews from verified customers and pay close attention to certain comments, such as: B. those that say something was difficult to assemble or something The color was lighter than in the online picture.

Measure carefully. This may sound like a no-brainer, but if you are looking to buy furniture that will go well with your space, it is important to accurately measure the space in your home that you are furnishing and compare it to the dimensions of the furniture. Also measure all the entrances, doors, hallways, stairwells, and elevators that the furniture must travel through to reach its destination. (The last thing you want is for a sofa to arrive at your home and then find out that it won’t fit through the front door.)

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