Yes! Meticulous Record-keeping & Savvy Shopping the Key to Ordering Furniture off the Internet
One of the best things about the Internet is that it’s created a virtual shopping center that makes locating almost any kind of product you want a reality – even furniture, fabric, or artwork for your home or office. While previously we’d been previously limited in our décor choices to what’s available locally, with the Internet, finding the styles you crave is now only a click away.
Recently, I wanted a good quality futon for my office. As a stand-in for a regular bed in case guests dropped by, and as a place to sit and read, a futon was just what I needed. Not finding anything I liked locally, I turned to the Internet.
My computer screen displayed the futon I was looking for: sleek and trendy with beautiful dark walnut-stained rattan arms and a bright red cover. It was perfect. I clicked, and it was ordered, just like that.
Nothing beats being in person
Of course, when it comes to purchasing furniture, nothing can compare to being there in person, which is why I always try to buy in person first. Local furniture stores are happy for you to sit in a recliner, stretch out on a mattress, or check the joints on wood furniture – something you can’t do when you’re surfing. This makes being in person preferable to ordering blindly. But, if you know what you’re looking for, and you’re confident in the site you’re visiting or the manufacturer you’re ordering from, making furniture purchases from the Web can be a positive experience.
Drawbacks to buying off the Web
Not all Web-buying experiences are positive. Remember that futon I mentioned earlier? Well, as it turned out, it took three orders to arrive intact and undamaged. The first time it arrived, it was severely damaged, which I couldn’t see until the package was opened. Typically, whenever you receive a shipment, you are giving your “acceptance” of that shipment.
Some companies insist that if you receive a shipment that’s obviously damaged, you shouldn’t accept delivery citing damage as the reason. Other companies say that if you accept the shipment, and that even if it’s damaged, you accepted it and you are not entitled to an exchange or a return.
In the case of my futon, acceptance was made when I was away from home and only after I returned did I notice the
damage to the box. So I immediately took pictures with my digital camera and contacted the company where I ordered the futon.
My contact at the furniture store called the shipping companyand they agreed to send me another new futon rather than
just replace the damaged pieces.
Then, when the second shipment came, I noticed the box was again damaged, as was the futon inside. Again, I got out my digital camera and took photographs of the futon with the delivery man in the picture and then declined the shipment.
I contacted the furniture store again and sent pictures of yet another damaged futon. My furniture store contact sent the photos to the warehouse and the shipping company and demanded better packaging and care in shipment. Well, the third time’s the charm in this story. On the third delivery, the futon arrived in perfect condition.
Rules for Ordering Over the Internet
Make sure you keep meticulous records of all transactions. A file just for Internet purchases is a good idea. Keep all related paperwork together and file hard copies of your Internet receipts or keep them in one place on your computer.
Next, make sure you understand the shipping policies. Inquire about what the company will do if you accept shipment and then discover damage, being sure to write down or print out these terms and conditions. Once the shipment arrives at your home, inspect it thoroughly and document the condition. I order off the Internet a lot, and my futon order was an exception.
Fortunately, the furniture company I worked with was terrific and wanted to see me satisfied. For that reason, it’s a good idea to check around for names and Websites with good reputations. Remember, bad things can happen to otherwise good companies. I’d order again from this particular furniture company because it was the shipper that was
If for some reason your order does arrive damaged, do make an effort to document it on the shipping label, marking that the box was damaged or that you could see damage to the contents inside, and take photographs. It’s still true that a picture is worth a thousand words of damage description. Will this happen to you? Most likely not. But, if it does, you’ll know what to do.
One of my rules for ordering from furniture sites is that they have a physical location and telephone numbers where I can contact them if there is a problem. Or, check with national stores such as Rooms to Go, online retailers such as Amazon, or national retailers, such as J.C. Penney or Sears. Armed with this information and what to do if there’s a problem, you can proceed confidently in ordering furniture successfully off the Internet.