Baer's Furniture — deplorable customer service
Being that I'm 59 years old, I have naturally had my fare share of problems with companies. In the vast majority of cases, sending a polite letter to the president or owner has usually brought a satisfying resolution to the problem. But Baer's Furniture store in Ft. Lauderdale is one of those rare exceptions. Once they have your money, they no longer care about you in the least.
I went to the Baers Furniture store in Fort Lauderdale on US1 just north of Oakland Park Blvd. I had recently done some home remodeling and needed a bookcase among other things. Almost immediately, I found a bookcase that I really liked and purchased two identical units to go side by side. Each unit consists of two pieces, an upper and lower unit. I asked Vicki, the sales lady, if she had them in stock and she said "yes."
A delivery date was scheduled for the following week on October 28th. A few days prior to the delivery date, I called Vicki to reconfirm the delivery. First, she tells me the delivery would not be until a later date and secondly I was told that only three of the four pieces were in stock. I was told it would be another couple of weeks to get the fourth piece but that they would not charge me for the second delivery. (Gee, how nice of them!) So for a couple of weeks, I had 1-1/2 bookcases sitting in my office.
After not hearing back from anyone for about two weeks, I decided to call. Vicki was not working that day but another employee told me that the fourth piece came in "several days ago." I was livid that nobody had told me and I proceeded to call Vicki the following day. I asked why I wasn't told that my furniture had come in days ago. She replied by saying she had been off for the past few days. I said, "So you mean the whole place shuts down when you're not there?" She offered to give me a discount on a future purchase but I said I wanted a discount on THIS purchase before I would ever consider coming back. After Vicki consulted with the owner, she called back and offered me a $50 discount off the $2, 200.00 purchase. That amounts to about a 2% discount and doesn't even pay the delivery charge. But I politely thanked Vicki knowing I would never step foot in that place again.
They finally delivered the missing top section of the second bookcase the following week. But it was at that point that my real problems were just beginning. When the delivery men were setting it up, they noticed that my first bookcase was wobbly and had been assembled improperly by the first delivery crew. So they attempted to fix it after they assembled the other unit. Everything appeared fine and I signed off on it. But after they left, I discovered that the top section of the unit they "fixed" was now rocking back and forth and the second unit was lopsided. So both delivery crews screwed up and now I had to wait home of third time for someone to come and fix them. But when the service man finally came, he said that one of the top sections was defective and had to go back. In addition, there was a missing bracket used to hold the two units together. So now I had to wait home a fifth time for the bad top section to be swapped out.
Remember that $50.00 refund that Vicki had promised me? I had to call and give her my credit card number THREE times over the course of a month before my Amex card was finally credited. But once again, no apologies and no regrets.
I wrote a very polite letter to Ira Baer, the owner, and expressed my disappointment with my purchase experience. My main complaint wasn't all the screw ups but rather the way in which they were handled. Whether I spoke with Vicki or someone in another department, nobody seemed to give a damn about anything. In fact, this is the first time I have ever written a complaint letter to a company and not even received the courtesy of a reply.
At my insistence, Vicki talked to Mr. Baer about giving me some additional compensation due to everything that had gone wrong since being promised the original $50.00 credit. He agreed to do so once everything had been settled. But I had to call Vicki no less than ten times "to remind her" to speak with the owner about the amount of the compensation. The final offer was either another whopping $50.00 or a discount if I came back to buy more furniture. For them to even entertain the idea that I would ever shop there again, shows just how out of touch they are with their customers. Needless to say, I took the $50.00. But just as with the prior $50.00 credit, I had to call more than once to get the actual credit. Once I received the credit,
I went to one of their nearby competitors to get the rest of my new furniture. I would no doubt have gone back to Baer's if I had not been treated like a red headed stepchild.
I realize that all businesses occasionally make mistakes. But what separates the good companies from the bad is what they do to make it up to the customer. This is where Baer's gets an F in my book. Never once, in my numerous phone calls with Vicki did I ever get any empathy such as "Mr. M., I'm so sorry that everything seems to be happening to you." Instead, whenever I spoke with Vicki about any problem occurring, she down played it and would typically say, "It's just another LITTLE thing."
Customers routinely have problems with all kinds of businesses whether it be with an airline, a moving company or a contractor. But what people really want, besides compensation, is for someone say how much they care and that they're going to do what it takes to make it right. But if you expect to get any empathy at Baers, think again. All you will get from them is apathy.