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Complaint against Exel

1 September 2005

Customer Services
IKEA Distribution Centre
Kingston Park


I am writing to complain about Exel's disgraceful performance in executing delivery of the above order, which relates to two bespoke worktops.

The sequence of events is as follows.

When I paid for the worktops [comment: on 10 July] I was told to expect delivery in early August, and that I would be telephoned to agree a delivery date closer to the time. Sure enough, Wednesday 10 August was confirmed as the delivery date, in a phone call from Exel which took place midway through the preceding week. IKEA subsequently also rang to confirm that a date had been arranged. However, I was told on the afternoon of 9 August that the delivery would not be able to go ahead as the suppliers had not delivered the worktops; they would be arriving around the 19th.

(I fail to understand why Exel decided to arrange a delivery date if they did not have the items to deliver. I had already made arrangements planning around that delivery date, which I was then unable to unmake. So my day was effectively wasted.)

I contacted Exel again on 19 August to see whether the worktops had reached them yet. I was told that they had, but that they could not deliver before 30 August, even though I had already had to put up with one missed delivery date. They telephoned again on 25 August to confirm the delivery date; again, IKEA rang on 26 August to reconfirm.

On 30 August I rang Exel (Tracy Whitehouse) at about 1500 to check whether delivery would be going ahead, given that there had been a major accident on the M25 earlier in the day. They undertook to call me back. I called them at 1640 to see what was going on, but there had been no progress – but again I was assured that someone would call back. I phoned yet again at 1930 to find that the delivery could not be made – the reason was unclear, but the representative I spoke to (Alison) suspected that the worktops had been mislaid in the warehouse. She told me that someone would be in touch with me to explain what had happened.

On 31 August I phoned Exel at 1200 to ask what was going on. The representative (Rose) told me that the delivery team had not yet been debriefed, but that someone would be in touch as soon as they had been. She also confirmed that the worktops had been logged as having been received from IKEA in pristine condition. I asked her to ensure that my case was dealt with urgently, as I had already suffered two failed deliveries. She said it would be.

At 1700 Exel phoned me. Their representative (Shaun) told me that the worktops were not in stock! I pointed out that I had already been told on 19 August by Exel that the worktops had arrived with them; and that this had been reconfirmed by the phone call I had received earlier that day. He told me that the delivery team had still not been debriefed. I asked him again to ensure that the case would be dealt with urgently. He told me that a supervisor would be in touch "within 48 hours". (This hardly suggests any sense of urgency.)

Immediately afterwards I phoned IKEA to explain the problems that Exel were causing and to ask if they could intervene to move things along any more quickly. The representative (Pauline) promised to do what she could.

This morning at 1000 I phoned Exel yet again. I had still had no information from them as to what had gone wrong; could someone please do something? The representative (Vicky) took my details (again) and promised to call me back. To my surprise, she did, at 1050, to arrange a delivery date of 6 September – no earlier date being possible. Again, IKEA (Sabrina) phoned shortly afterwards to reconfirm. I asked whether anything could be done to bring the date forward, but it could not.

The final insult came at 1200 when Exel (Rose) phoned to say that delivery would take place on 7 September. I pointed out that both Exel and IKEA had already confirmed delivery as taking place on the 6th. She told me that the delivery routes did not cover my area on the 6th and that the 7th was the earliest date possible. The delivery could be arranged for some time on the morning of the 7th; the delivery team would phone an hour beforehand. (I retorted that they had failed to do so when delivering an off-the-shelf worktop in July.)

Exel's performance throughout has been disgraceful. They have failed to keep me informed of developments at all, let alone adequately; they have made promises which they have failed to keep but which have caused me to waste at least three days waiting for them; and they appear to have no adequate arrangements to ensure that their consignments are tracked properly.

Most importantly, the delays are causing us financial loss. We wish to sell our home but we cannot put our house on the market until it is refurbished to a fit state for viewing. Exel's failure to deliver our worktop is now causing a severe bottleneck in this process.

I sincerely hope that IKEA will not renew their contract with Exel. My wife and I have been very happy with IKEA's service and products in the past. It is a shame that a contracted company should be allowed to tarnish an otherwise excellent record.

In the meantime, I would be grateful for anything you can do to bring the delivery forward, even at this late stage. [Contact details deleted].

I am sending a copy of this letter to Exel at their head office in Bracknell.

Yours faithfully

[signed] Dr D J H McMahon

Back to Part 6: Fixing up our house

On to Part 7: Selling the house

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