This consumer reports rant is from the lovely, Gari. It is too good not to post:
"WEST ELM------you've been there. We've all been there....walking around in DUMBO trying to find the place .......anxiously waiting for the Chelsea store to open.
Well, I'd like to give you fellow West Elmer's a heads-up on some lame furniture construction and even lamer customer service.
I purchased their wood frame bed in August of '04. Simple plan: bed frame. not a lot of money. good looking. (Plus, I just moved back from L.A. and had NO furniture, so it was key to get a bed ASAP!!) Anyway, I bought the bed and it came a few days later on the same day as my brand new mattress. I was happily in love with my new place of slumber and on to the couch project.
Just last week, which would make it about 2 months since the bed purchase, my back started hurting a lot. I chalked it up to the usual NYC stress and upped my chiropractor visits to twice a week.
My new boyfriend, however, informed of a startling fact late Saturday night whilst we were lounging - post-coital. He said, "your bed is broken." "What??", I responded, flabbergasted that my 2 month old bed could be nothing less than what it had been to this point - an oasis of slumber! "Yup. It's broken. Can't you feel it?"...
We immediately got up and lifted the mattress.....(think of the visual!) Sure enough, the wooden slats under the mattress had caved in and were no longer supporting the mattress. Horrified, I looked under the slats and found, much to my disappointment, the middle piece which is the ultimate support system of the bed, was completly bent and in a word: useless.
I know, I know, I thought the same thing....."Well, damn. We must've been getting it on quite seriously." And, in fact, we were. BUT, after further investigation, I found out that I was not the only one with a broken bed.
At first, I was adamant. "I can't believe the bed is broken. My friend has the SAME bed and believe you-me, she's been gettin' it on a lot LONGER than I have (on this particular bed)."
The following day, I called West Elm and spoke with a really nice sales person who without truly admitting it, implied that mine wasn't the first call she'd gotten RE: the bed. She offered to send me a new middle piece and assured me if it didn't work, West Elm would take the bed back and issue a full refund. I agreed and thought, "okay, well that was simple enough. I'll get the new piece and all will be fine again."
In the meantime, I called my friend with the same bed. She informed me that her bed, was in fact, BROKEN. Later that evening, I ran into my neighbor and we got to talking about apt. layouts. I showed him mine, he showed me his.......and suddenly, there it was: a WEST ELM BED. I HAD to ask....."Um, Mike...odd question for you. Is your bed broken?" "YES....it is.", he responded, "How do you know that??" I told him the whole story and asked if he'd received a new piece, but apparently, when he called West Elm, he was told that his "warranty" was up and he couldn't even get a new piece OR a replacement bed. So, how did he fix the bed?? Basically, he's got books underneath it holding the thing up!!
After that, I came to the sad realization that even a new piece would most probably not fix the problem This bed was just not made properly. Begrudgingly, I looked for a replacement bed and was disappointed to find other similar beds, at a much higher price....I kept hearing my father's voice, "OH Well. Ya get whatcha pay for!"
Today, I called West Elm and said that, given my recent discovery of all the people in Manhattan with a broken West Elm bed (add one more girl - who I met in a bar on Friday night), I'd prefer to just return the bed back to West Elm. She understood and we made arrangements for them to come and pick up the bed.
A few hours later, she called back to say that she's sorry to inform me, but I am responsible for getting the bed back to the store. Apparently, West Elm has had numerous complaints re: this particular bed, they've instilled a "new policy" which states, the customer is responsible for getting the bed back to the store, either physically or financially.
This bit of news was aggravating in that - Why should I, when West Elm has made not, one, but SEVERAL faulty beds, have to incur the hardship of returning this damn bed??
Just to be done with it, I agreed to bring the bed back myself however, I spoke with a friend of mine who encouraged me to talk with the Better Biz Bureau.
I share this story with all of you in the hopes that any others with the dreaded broken bed might have better luck than I did.
Who knows, maybe I'll contact NY1!!
(ReEdited from 2004-10-27 - MGR)