Monday, August 1, 2016

The Bravery of IKEA

This weekend I returned two Ikea chest of drawers, which could have been any weekend for any family. But this trip warranted a blog post on the bravery of Ikea.

As you may have heard about in the news, Ikea is voluntarily recalling many of the chest of drawers produced since 2002 because of the risk of tipping over and harming or even killing children.

Safety recalls are a regular occurrence in the retail / consumer products world so why is this one so special? It really comes down to the unprecedented response by Ikea on the issue.

Most people recognize that this isn't an issue that is specific to Ikea, but haunts much of the furniture industry. And despite many efforts to educate consumers and provide anchoring brackets with their products they went to unprecedented lengths to keep additional children from harm.

Included in the options provided to consumers were the following:

  • Free wall anchoring kit
  • Free installation of the wall anchoring kit on existing products
  • Free pickup of existing Ikea products
  • Full refund without receipt with clearly identifiable products (requires a bar code still be attached)
  • $50 in-store credit for non-marked products

I received $265 in cash for the two products, both of which had been damaged over time by my young children.

As I remarked to the Ikea associate during my return process, this is the first recall or class action type situation where consumers actually won. Typically many attorneys get involved and consumers only see a fraction of the sum paid out by the company.

A fearful company would have continued to offer the anchoring kits and refused to do anything which could have offered a hint of responsibility for the deaths but Ikea went above and beyond the call of duty and set a new standard for how to handle product recalls. They truly put consumer safety above the bottom line. But I would say they still put the long-term bottom line first as they continue to acquire and retain satisfied customers that are loyal and will continue to buy their products.

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