Tuesday, August 13, 2013

JCPenney Keystone Kop Kooks! Avoid them like a plague.

This would be funny if it happened to someone else.
In 2008 we bought this very comfortable love seat recliner - pictured below. It is called, by Caye, Phundamental Console.
 You will please observe that the left footrest is extended - this is important. It was manufactured by Caye Upholstery, LLC.  Avoid them too.

In January, 2013, we purchased a single recliner.  The model is Jillian. It's a piece of doodoo but I blame myself.  I sat in it for about 20 seconds on the store floor. It was well used and the recliner control was worn and easily manipulated.  When I got the new one,  the control was so stiff that I had to call a neighbor to help me manipulate it.
Note that these two pieces of furniture look nothing alike and, even without the model numbers and names, a verbal description on the phone should clearly distinguish them; like red vs brown, single vs double, etc.

In April, the cable on the console broke.  It is a tiny cable, about 8-10 gauge  and it connects the finger pull on the arm to the ratchet release that pushes the foot rest out.

The only way we can use it extended is to turn the sofa upside down and release the ratchet manually. In the picture it is so positioned.  The problem is that every time some sits in it, they push the rest back and it is locked in the position shown on the right seat. 

I called JCPenney and they were very courteous. By way of side-note, they are always courteous.  When they end up telling you they have just ripped you off, and no one will, or can, help you, they are extravagantly apologetic.  Their employees get minimum wage and are incapable of deviating from their script regardless of the degree of outrage you express. Anyway, they gave me the phone number of their service department. I called them.  I couldn't give them the exact date of my purchase but I didn't expect it to be under warranty and was willing to pay for the part and the service.  I gave them the model number, manufacturer and serial number.  I was placed on hold, for a long time.  Then the agent told me that the piece was no longer under warranty but the part was.  I was elated. It was probably worth $5.  They told me that the part would be shipped and as soon as it arrived, I was to call them back and they would send a technician out to install it. I was even more elated, the entire process never took much longer than two hours!

As the date approached for arrival, I got a phone call from JCPenney service and the woman asked me for clarification,  "was the part  a cord or a cable?" I was confused.  "I don't know what terminology you use for it but it is a metal cable to me,  a cord implies a rope, string or electric." She replied that she was referring to an electric cord.  "This is a recliner," I told her, "how could you possibly think it was a cord and not a cable? "Some of the new advanced models have electric cords," she told me somewhat pedantically.  I was getting a little annoyed.  It was clear to me that the part had not yet shipped. I reminded her that they had the model and serial number as well as the manufacturer and there shouldn't really be any confusion.  She must have been a higher paid employee because she digressed from the script and told me in what could only be described as a snotty manner that  she just wanted to make sure I received the right part. She didn't know when it would be shipped - that wasn't her department!

After I hung up, I called the first number I had called and related the call.  The agent had no idea who had called but assured me that they knew what part to ship and it should have been shipped two weeks ago.  She told me she would call the manufacturer and call me back.  She gave me her name and the order number.  The day ended and no one called me back.  The next day, I called and related the order number and it was as if they had never heard of me.  She asked me the date of purchase, etc. and placed me on hold.  Twenty minutes later she told me that the sofa was purchased from their outlet warehouse and that the sofa was no longer under warranty.  I asked to speak to the Valerie, the agent who I had talked to the day before. Valerie was on break but they would have her call me back.  The day ended and Valerie never called me back.

I called again the next day and asked for Valerie.  I finally got to talk to Valerie and she had things under control.  She told me to just ask for her because she was on top of it. She told me that she couldn't call the manufacturer the day before because they were closed but had talked to them today and the part would be shipped the next day and I should have it in two weeks.  Don't forget to call us as soon as it arrives, she reminded me.  I was still a little concerned but happy.  The arrival day came and no part.  I called and was assured that it had been shipped and to be patient.  I was running out of patience and told them so. 

The next day I received a call from the same woman I had talked to earlier about "cable or cord."  She once again wanted to know whether it was a cable or cord.  I lost it at this point and my voice was elevated (my wife was worried about disturbing the neighbors).  She hung up on me and when I called the number she had called from, no one there knew who or what I was talking about.  I called Valerie and she had no clue as to who had called me but the part  was shipped and not to worry. The part arrived the next day. It was neither a cable or cord.  It was a handle!! It was a handle that might be for the red recliner pictured above.

I was livid at this point and called Valerie.  She was very apologetic and exuded efficiency. They would replace the recliner with a brand new one.  Three delivery dates came and went and no recliner. Now we are in the month of July, late July, six months later.  Finally I was given the exact day for delivery.  The trucking company had no instructions for picking up the old one but I got that cleared up. The day of delivery came.  The driver called me early in the window I was given for delivery.  He would be here in five minutes.  He was. A knock on the door. I answered. They were delivering the Jillian - the red one pictured above.  I felt my heart fibrillating, or something.  I knew I had to kill someone, but I wasn't sure who.  Surely not the two polite young men who were just doing their job. He made some calls and told me that the order number they gave me was for a Jillian.  I told them to take it back to wherever they got it.  They took it somewhere. 

I called the service department and Valerie was on her day off.  I gave them the order number and the woman started all over - when did you purchase it. I lost my cool.  My voice wasn't elevated but it was deadly.  It dripped with venom.  Let me talk to the boss, I hissed.  Can you hold please?  Twenty minutes! Finally a woman answered.  How can I help you, she asked.  My voice became a little more elevated and still dripped with venom.  I gave her a brief rundown and she was quick to respond.  She was a FLOOR SUPERVISOR!. A brief conversation and the problem was solved. I was to go to the nearest JCPenney store and buy a recliner of my choice, someone would pick up the old one and I was to get a refund for the purchase price of the original. It would be a check in the amount of $702.  I thought I had payed more but I'm not complaining because it was out of warranty and all I wanted originally was a $5 part.  JCPenney has come through! I asked the FLOOR SUPERVISOR how the store would know what was going on and she said give them the order number.  I told her that the order number last time got us a Jillian replacement.  No problem, she said, I will know!  I will personally make sure you are reimbursed the day the old one is picked up.  To be sure, I repeated that the old one was made by Caye and was a console two seater. No problem.

The very next day, early the very next day, we drove to Montclair and went to the furniture department of the JC Penney story where we had bought the Jillian.  The only problem was that they had no recliners and no store in the area had any recliners and they didn't know when they would get any.  It was the same woman that had sold us the Jillian.  I told her the situation and she told me she would call the service department and ask them what to do. The FLOOR SUPERVISOR I had talked to was not at work yet.  I was to go home and wait for them or the Montclair JCPenney to call me.  No one called. I called the service department.  The FLOOR SUPERVISOR was not available.  I'm on the edge.  Someone needs to help me, I hissed.  I thought I was quite scary.  Finally, I talked to someone higher than the FLOOR SUPERVISOR. That order number is for a Jillian recliner she told me. The console was bought years before from our outlet store and there is no warranty. Now I'm over the edge.  I was so loud and angry (no profanity) that I was scaring my wife.  "ALL I EVER WANTED WAS A STINKING PART FOR THE STINKING CONSOLE SO I COULD GET SOMEONE TO FIX IT"  I screamed, "AND I WAS TAKEN DOWN THIS SIX MONTH PATH OF BROKEN PROMISES AND FRUSTATION." 

The JCPenney super supervisor was above the fray - obviously paid over the minimum wage.  She told me that all they could or would do for me is to refund my money for the Jillian. I screamed some more but decided that I hated the Jillian so I would take the deal.  The Jillian was to be picked up on a certain date and they would put the refund on my CC.  I don't have that card anymore, I told her.  Major problem. Since I bought it with my CC they could only refund it via my CC.  How about my new CC. No, it has to be the same one. I demanded to talk to someone else.  I seemed to me that the JCPenney inflexibility was not possible.  She told me that she would check further and then call me back.  I screamed NO, that nobody from JCPenney ever called back and I want an answer now.  Twenty minute hold.  OK, she said, we CAN give you a refund by check.  It would go out on Monday.  OK.  Five minutes later she called back and told me that the check would go out the next morning. I'm so beaten that I actually felt like I had won.  OK, thank you.

The next day, I received a call from JCPenney.  We can only pay you the price in cash, the tax will have to be a gift certificate. I'm fighting a desire to hit someone. No one is around. I finally agreed.  This time I never said thank you.  I said I'm going to give it to the closest drunk in the area of your store and tell him it has to be used that day.  She laughed.

Here's what I am thinking of doing.  If the check comes before the pickup, I'm going to show them the console as the piece they are supposed to pick up - or not answer the door when they come to pick it up. I'm sure they will never know the difference.  Is this dishonest?  



  1. I'm so frustrated for you after reading this story! I can't believe you didn't kill anyone before 6 months! Oh...my...GOSH! Soooo frustrating!!!

    SC Lisa

  2. My God, Brooks! I haven't laughed so hard in I don't know how long! Beautifully written. This was the most human situation to get caught up in a corporatocracy whirlwind. How do these companies stay in business? They wear a person out! The only other account that is so amazing was in WOUNDED CIVILIZATION by VS Naipaul and he got his Scotch confiscated when he entered India by cruise liner. He was given a receipt and told he could get his Scotch back. He decided to enter the bowels of the Indian civil service to get his Scotch back the next day. You would not believe all that happens. He suddenly realized that no one had ever tried to get their confiscated liquor back. Bill