Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Williams-Sonoma Home Synonymous with Poor Quality, Worse Customer Service

I have an issue with Williams-Sonoma and its sister companies that you might want to hear about and please feel free to share your own experiences.  Like many of you, in the past few years I have done much of my shopping online.  Williams-Sonoma, WS Home, Pottery Barn, PB Kids are all online stores I have bought from and I have had issues with the delivery of each and every purchase of their products... from damaged merchandize, to missing parts, to wrong selections... the spectrum of their inability to provide quality has no limits.  

Of all of these, WS Home has the highest price point.  One would assume the company would be interested in providing the best product and service to their high end customers.  This has NOT been my experience. 

For Christmas 2007, I put together a home office for my husband.  I envisioned a dark room with metal tile ceilings, gorgeous leathers, layers of rugs, black crystal, a photographer's lamp, and a beautiful desk with just the right amount of reflection to pop out of its surroundings.  I was inspired by this room from Ralph Lauren Home, which for some reason I can no longer find online. I found the perfect Mason desk at WS Home. 
 
At about two grand, I thought about it twice and decided it would be perfect.  I called them, they took my credit card, and I sat and waited for my beautiful new desk.  When it arrived a few days later, I couldn't help but notice to my dismay these stress fractures...

I called them right away and explained the deffect.  They apologized and scheduled a new delivery... Weeks went by, I got another desk, WITH THE SAME DEFFECTS.  Called them back, they set up new delivery... A couple of months went by and here is the third version of the same deffect.  Another phone call followed by an email with the above pictures requesting a fix or a deep discount.  They suggested someone would stop by and PATCH IT UP.  Hello...?!  This is obviously a stress problem with the wood that no amount of patching up would fix if I had to move the desk again. 

Here is the tops:  when asked to reduce the price of the product to reflect its discount store quality, they told me that WS didn't  want a reputation of doing that.  Well, I guess they'd rather be known for poor quality and worse customer service?

They were nice enough to keep me informed via a monthly phone call that they were looking into it and trying to fix the problem.  It is now August of 2008.  They have had my money for a good 8 months.  And I had a broken desk to show for it.  Then I get a phone call:  "Sorry Mrs. Hopkins, WS has decided that we won't be doing more replacements for your desk .  Here is your money back."  It has been a while, and I never got anything in writing, but I hung up that phone thinking oh ok they couldn't fix it and are pulling the desk out.

September came along, and my son was born.  Williams-Sonoma who?  Someone came picked up the desk, I got the credit on my Amex.  All is good UNTIL I noticed the new catalogue in my pile of unread mail...  You know it.  There it was in all of its glory, the now hated mason desk.  I was too busy to do anything about it.  And what was there to do really?

But now I feel it is time.  This blog has given me a voice.  And even if it is a very soft, often unheard voice, it is here.  Black on white, or whatever color scheme I might be fancifully writing in at the moment.   I doubt I am the only one who has had this kind of experience with WS and its sister companies.  It is really a loss for me, because I do love their design.  But just like avoiding "made in China" products, I have been steadily and unwaveringly avoiding Williams-Sonoma's.  Besides, Restoration Hardware is all but a click away.







20 comments:

Raina Cox said...

Oh Honey, that is HEINOUS customer service. Just despicable.

I've never purchased anything from them (always out of my budget), but I will be unsubscribing from their emails.

P.S. Mazel tov on the new baby!

The Shiny Pebble said...

Thanks, Raina. You rock!

Herself said...

Well... Now that you mention it...
I DO LOVE Restoration Hardware!

The Shiny Pebble said...

Hi, Herself! I also just became acquainted with a new WS-esque store out of France that opened up here in the States: www.flamant.com

Acanthus and Acorn said...

Hi!
Saw your note on A.D. and I think you may be thinking of a Grant Gibson post from a few weeks ago...

Anyway, I have ordered many, many things from WSH over the years and agree that there can and has been problems with some of the wood pieces. Especially the PB line. I personally had a problem with an upholstered bed that took plenty of time, calls and emails to get resolved!!! But as far as WSH for linens, glass/metal pieces, ottomans, lamps and accessories it's been good.

The bigger issue for me has been their white glove service or lack there of...and I file a complaint everytime there is a problem. I once refused delivery for a client because the driver was so smelly/sweaty and arrived without the required blue shoe protectors!!! Couldn't risk her carpets being soiled or his dirty hands touching the newly upholstered chairs.

I think any company must understand good customer service and professional delivery are almost as important as the merchandise they are selling.

Be patient, another suitable desk is out there somewhere!:)

Mary said...

I love this!! You are so eloquent when you are angry. I'm sorry you had this horrible experience!

The Shiny Pebble said...

Hi Acanthus and Acorn. Thanks for sharing your experience. It is good to know I'm not alone. As far as other stuff from WSH, I only remember the failures (unfortunately). Once I ordered a shell on a stand, and they sent me one with the soldering (sp) all apparent and messed up. So I sent it back and the replacement was acceptable. Don't you hate the hassle?

The Shiny Pebble said...

Hi Mary, I was holding back!!! LOL
You should read my entry on Veranda's March issue http://theshinypebble.blogspot.com/2010/02/take-shelter-dawn-of-dark-age.html
Oy!

Maria Killam said...

Love the name of your header and the photo! Sorry to hear about your desk.

The Shiny Pebble said...

Thanks Maria... All is well that ends well. I did end up moving and didn't have a place for a second desk. :)

Struggler said...

That's horrible service, certainly. So far I believe I've only purchased a single pillow from WS Home, but certainly, at their prices, they should be doing everything perfectly. Another friend of mine said she had concerns about Pottery Barn's sofa quality too, but, again, I haven't ventured into those waters.

The Shiny Pebble said...

Hi Struggler! Shoot yes. That's what I'm screaming.

Design Darling said...

i agree — well said! be the change you wish to see in the world, right? loving your blog already, please check mine out if you get the chance! great post :)

The Shiny Pebble said...

Thanx Design Darling... heading over to your blog right now. :)

AB HOME Interiors said...

I agree as a designer I have turned to them many times to get things quickly but for the price point the quality is not there. I would rather purchase something from my own vendors and wait so I get the quality I expect.

The Shiny Pebble said...

Hi AB HOME Interiors. Thank you for sharing. I truly appreciate you all taking the time to reinforce the point I have been trying to make.

Pemberley said...

I love looking through the WSH catalog, but WAY too expensive. So I have never ordered anything from them. I think they are too big and while WSH might be the upscale version of Pottery Barn in my life I have gotten quite a few things from them and I have to say the quality is poor. I'm done with PB and PB KIds too. I will continue to get ideas and inspiration from PB kids and PB teen, but that's it.

Pemberley said...

P.S.
Are still looking for a desk like the one on your blog?

The Shiny Pebble said...

You are right, Pemberley, we can still use them for inspiration. I actually moved out of State into a home whose layout doesn't afford me the luxury of a second office. So MY office is set up already with another desk I had... My husband can work out of his man cave upstairs. The darnest thing.... he NEVER sits at a desk to work. I did see that Ethan Allen had a similar looking desk, but by that time, plans had changed.

Dovecote Decor said...

It is a little after the fact, but what do you think of this one:
http://dovecotedecor.com/products/Glass-Table-Adjustable-Desk.html
It also comes with a grayscale wood base. I would hate to make you mad, but they deserved it!!
Liz

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