Dufresne Furniture – Customer Service or Customer Obstruction?

The following is an account of my current experience with Dufresne Furniture in Winnipeg, Manitoba through the Ellice store location and call centre staff. It is a representation of my opinion and perceptions based on my experience.

On September 09, 2012 my family and I began our relationship with a furniture retail company, Dufresne. After visiting 5 different retailers we were happy to do business with them.

Our experience began at the Ellice location with a young man named Jessy who in my opinion was a fantastic sales person. He was incredibly knowledgeable about the products he was showcasing to us and genuinely listened to what our needs were. He was able to work with us to ensure we were satisfied with our decisions and alleviated any of our concerns.

One of these concerns was when he went over the terms of sale. He mentioned there was a 10% restocking fee on items after 24 hours that we might decide we don’t want after all. When I asked him, “what if the furniture shows up and it is faulty does that mean I can’t return it without a penalty?” Jessy assured me that if faulty furniture was delivered it could be returned without the fee, the fee was enforced on those who simply just didn’t want the furniture anymore for no specific reason. At the time, that seemed to make sense to me and so I signed the paper agreeing to that. He then told me we should get our furniture in about 3 weeks and someone would call us. I never would have thought to consult a lawyer regarding this before I signed it, but given the remainder of my experience with Dufresne I think maybe I should have.

We didn’t hear from Dufresne until we called nearly a month later and inquired regarding the furniture order.  It was at this point we were able to agree on a date for delivery. One month later to the day our furniture was delivered on October 9, 2012.

The men who brought in our furniture were very polite and professional. They assembled some of the furniture and left us to attach the hardware to some. It was while the delivery drivers were assembling the bed however they let us know the wrong parts were sent. They offered us the option of them taking back the whole order of just the wrong pieces and leaving the rest. Of course after having slept on the couch for the last while my wife and I said they should take back the wrong pieces and we would sleep on the mattress on the floor, but we were not happy about it.

The drivers also delivered a chair which wobbled back and forth. It was not a rocking chair by design but certainly behaved like one. The driver took a look at it and said there wasn’t any way for him to fix it on the spot. He asked if we wanted to send it back and so we did. He happily took the chair back and advised us to speak with customer service the next day to make the arrangements needed for the corrections or to return it.

At this point my wife and I were disappointed. We had been waiting a month already and still we were not going to be able to enjoy our new bed. Because the workmanship was not faulty however we decided that we would not return the bed and wait to get the right parts delivered. The chair on the other hand left us more disappointed. After waiting a month and seeing the poor quality of workmanship that went into making it we decided to return the faulty piece of furniture. We were not willing to have it fixed and sent back to us because we were not convinced the workmanship would be of value and we were not going to wait another 21 days to find ourselves again in these same circumstances. We also thought that given the conversation we had with Jessy that a faulty piece of furniture could be returned without penalty.

On October 10, 2012 I went to the store and spoke to the sales agent (Jessy) that sold us the product. When Jessy first saw me he was happy and greeted me again with a smile while referring to me as “bud”. When I told Jessy about what happened he led me to the “customer service” desk where we then discussed the situation with them. This is where the “customer service” desk informed me that there wasn’t anything they could do in the store and that I would have to call the customer service line to talk to the people who could help me. When I asked if a manger would be able to assist me they said no and informed me again that I would have to call customer service by phone. Jessy then reiterated what they said and then presumed the issue was closed letting me know I could finish my conversation with the young lady that was speaking with us and that he was going to help some customers that just walked in the door.

At this point I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under my feet. It became clear to me that although Jessy was a great sales person, he clearly did not understand how to manage conversations with people who were not happy with the service they received. I immediately realized that unless I was there to increase Jessy’s sales quotas and commission that he wasn’t really interested in helping me. Even when I said I wasn’t satisfied his response was that hopefully the young lady would be able to help me then because he had to go speak with these other people. I felt helpless and that relationship Jessy had gained via a sense of trust from the first experience with him was crushed. It was at this point that I left the desk that represented the illusion of “customer service” and moved forward by calling the people they suggested might help.

This same October 10th night I called the “customer service” line and my conversation began with a young man named Pat. I again explained how the delivery date unfolded and what my wife and I had decided. Pat’s response was that the chair was currently in service and they hoped to have it fixed and out to us within a few weeks. I was left wondering why that would be and let Pat know he must not have heard me properly, and then I explained again the decision to get the right parts for our bed and return the chair. It was at this point Pat had become defensive.

Pat informed me that the wrong parts were not sent to me. They were the parts on the bill of sale that I signed. Thus, I did in fact receive the right parts although the sales person may have ordered the wrong items. Pat also said that by signing the bill of sale I also agreed to a 10% restocking fee on the chair we were returning. I felt compelled to interrupt Pat at this moment.

My response to Pat informed him that Jessy had gone over the bill with me indicating what packages I was about to buy. I also informed Pat that I would not know if the individual items using the product codes were right or not. Nor did it really matter to me if it was entered wrong, or if they shipped the wrong pieces. What I couldn’t understand was why anyone would think an order for a bed with 2 foot boards would make any sense? Why wouldn’t anyone even question why there were 2 footboards? I was not willing to take accountability for an ordering system I didn’t understand or the delivery of items that clearly were out of place.

The other aspect that I brought to Pat’s attention was that I was under the impression if a piece of furniture was faulty I was able to return it. He did agree with me, adding “but there is a 10% restocking fee.” I then let him know that I don’t agree this situation warrants a restocking fee. The chair was in my home for a matter of a few minutes and was delivered in a condition that made it unusable and frankly left me not wanting the chair anymore do to the poor workmanship that was displayed. Pat then let me know that “there was nothing he could do about that because that was the policy.”

Understanding that in some businesses front line staffs are not empowered to make decisions regarding policy I simply responded by saying this, “fair enough, Pat if you are not able to make a sensible decision related to the policy then can you please give me the name and contact information of the person who can?” At this point Pat became more defensive and at one point rude as we spiralled into a circular conversation. I continued to repeat my request and he continued to tell me he would not give me any further contact information or allow me to speak with his team lead because they would just tell me the same thing. Finally I simply stated, “Pat I want to talk to your supervisor,” which is when after being put on hold he returned to let me know that Jeff C. would be contacting me in an hour and half. When I asked if there was any way I could wait on hold and speak to someone sooner he again got defensive and told me that Jeff would contact me in an hour and fifteen minutes. So I conceded to this point and waited patiently for the next call.

My call with Jeff C. was more productive. He was not defensive and more willing to provide explanations to what he was conveying to me, although it was the same information that Pat already indicated. He also made it very clear that he was not empowered to make a decision to waive the 10% restocking fee. One of the questions I asked Jeff C. was this, “We spent a significant amount of money with Dufresne. Why is it that the company is willing to through away a future customer relationship over $25 (the 10% restocking fee for the chair)? His response was that there are shipping costs to account for when faulty furniture is returned and should we choose not wait for it to be fixed then the cost of returning it is placed on the customer. I clarified that even if the furniture was faulty when it arrived that 10% restocking fee could not be overlooked? Jeff C. responded, “That’s right.” In the end, Jeff C. and I agreed that he would discount the cost of delivery due to the mishap with the bed parts and the chair would be returned for the full amount paid minus the 10% restocking fee for now. Jeff C. indicated that refunds are processed on Thursdays and so if I did not see the refund on October 12, I would certainly see the refund reflected on my account by October 19, 2012.  I asked Jeff C. if there was some way that I might contact the person he reports to regarding his performance and this situation. He said, “No, I am the last line of communication for customers,” but I could instead send a letter to an email address that goes to various people in the company custsatmgr@dufresne.ca. I let him know that I would be sure to do so and thanked him for his time.

On October 19, 2012 our account had not been refunded, so I called back to “customer service” at Dufresne and asked Ugo if I could speak with Jeff C. He responded letting me know that Jeff C. was gone for the day and that he would read the notes on the account and try to assist me. After enjoying a few songs being played as hold music Ugo returned to the phone to let me know that they were still waiting for the parts that were ordered. I asked, “Those parts are for the bed right?” After checking again Ugo returned to the phone to let me know the parts they were waiting for were for the chair.

Yes, they were still waiting for the parts for the chair that Jeff C. told me he would return more than a week ago. I also explained that Jeff C. had indicated to me that the correct bed parts would arrive within 21 days. I asked if that process had begun. Ugo let me know that Jeff C. would not be able to put through a refund on the returned chair until the service parts were cancelled and that it did not seem as though any further communication was made regarding my phone call with Jeff C. after we spoke. Ugo did find in the notes that Jeff C. was going to refund the delivery charge and the cost of the chair minus the 10% restocking fee, but short of typing in these notes it would seem Jeff C. (the Customer Service Manager) did nothing else over the week and a half that passed to further the process.

Again I explained my frustration to Ugo and asked if there was some way to contact Jeff C.’s boss in order to explain my frustration over the lack of action the customer service area was able to make. Ugo informed me just as Jeff C. had. Jeff C. was the last contact for any customer. Ugo also provided the same email address I received from Jeff C. and indicated it would also go to Jeff C. but wasn’t aware if it went to any leadership beyond Jeff C.’s level. Ugo did offer however to speak with Jeff C. the next day and then call me to update me on the progress or what further steps had been taken. I ended the call by letting Ugo know that I appreciated his non-defensive nature and the empathy he displayed via our phone call, but I did not hear from him the next day.

At this point I am unsure if there is a solution on the horizon to remedy a situation regarding products through Dufresne that I paid for in full. I am now left with products that are incomplete or without the product I returned and still have not been refunded the money that was promised. The staffs at Dufresne seem to believe it is ok to lead a customer to believe one thing and then take actions that contradict those impressions. In my opinion they provide the illusion of customer service up front only to deliver what I would describe as “customer obstruction”.

Dufresne also seems to be a company that is governed through policies driven by budgets and accounting principles rather than best practices in maintaining customer relationships. It’s through the actions of their staff regarding these policies that I have come to the opinion that the leadership of Dufresne is out of touch with the needs of its customers. In my opinion the leadership of Dufresne don’t seem to care about their customer service levels, and frankly it would seem they don’t even care to hear any concerns or ideas as they lock themselves away from the public through policies that prevent open communication and discussion. Dufresne currently has in place a customer service manager who in my opinion seems to have little accountability to anyone as it would seem feedback is not welcome beyond his ears.

So why is it then that I take the time to write this if I don’t believe the leadership of Dufresne welcome any feedback? The answer to that is simple; part of me believes that perhaps they are ignorant to the ramifications and perceptions these policies so closely guarded by their staff portray. The other reason I write this is as a challenge to any of those who may read this and find they are able to pass on my experience to the leadership of Dufresne through their networks of people. I would encourage you to do so. Another reason I write this is so others may take into account my experience thus far and hopefully learn from it what you might expect if you decide to do business with Dufresne. It is now October 21, 2012 and I am still waiting for a phone call that was not returned, a refund that was not applied, furniture that was not delivered in full and I am waiting to be treated like a customer that matters.

UPDATE:

Today is October 22, 2012, and I finally received a call back from Dufresne via Norman, a manager within the company. Norman explained that he read about my experience and felt the best way to begin our conversation was with an apology. He acknowledged that after looking over my file it certainly could have been handled better. He was also dismayed that our perception of Dufresne had obviously been tarnished and assured me that Dufresne believes very strongly in providing a positive experience for all its customers.

Norman was empathetic to the situation that took place, and his tone of voice depicted his sincerity while he explained how this entire situation began with an order that was entered incorrectly. He also explained that despite how I might be feeling about my experience with Dufresne he would appreciate the opportunity to make amends and provide options. My response was that this is what I was asking for to begin with. He responded by letting me know how embarrassed he was that the situation reached the point we were at and wanted the opportunity for Dufresne to do what was right.

Norman then explained what steps he had taken immediately upon learning of the situation. Dufresne refunded the total cost of the faulty chair without penalty for restocking fees and it seems he did not have to wait until Thursday to achieve this. He let me know they also refunded back to me the cost of the delivery fee and offered a transaction number for my satisfaction.

Norman then asked me if I was still interested in the bed my wife and I had chosen and explained that if we were he certainly would like the opportunity to prove that Dufresne can provide the furnishing needs of their customers. At this point I explained to Norman we certainly were still interested in the bed because we want a bed to sleep on. Unlike the chair we have not seen any faulty workmanship with the pieces we have received and would prefer to just get the rest of the bed so we can sleep in comfort.

Norman exceeded my expectations at this point letting me know he has been in touch with the manufacturer of the bed parts to see if they can be delivered under the 21 days it would normally take. He also let me know that in light of the situation at hand Dufresne would like to offer to refund the cost of the parts we are missing. Of course I accepted this, and certainly appreciated the effort Norman was taking to rectify the sour situation that was left behind through the previous staff.

The last item that Norman wanted to convey to me during our conversation was, “Thank you.” He went on to say that through the analysis of the situation and the notes related to my transactions with Dufresne he was able to identify 5-6 areas where Dufresne clearly could have performed better in handling themselves. He acknowledged the time I indeed spent outlining the situation and appreciated the detail I was able to provide. He said it was the type of feedback that clearly displayed how Dufresne could improve its processes and fulfill its goals to action items in order to make them right. He even added a comment recognizing that another major retailer is about to open shortly in Winnipeg and that situations like this are not going to assist Dufresne retain the client base they currently have.

My response was simple, I explained that providing feedback was part of what I was trying to accomplish from the onset however with everyone making it clear that Jeff C. was the last point of contact I was allowed to converse with it made it impossible. Norman again acknowledged that the situation was not handled properly and apologized again and then reassured me that he would make it right. He also offered to follow up with me in the next couple of days to provide an ETA from the manufacturer regarding the parts for the bed.

So now I wait in anticipation of the next phone call from Norman hoping that this time the phone call will come as promised. Fingers crossed.

UPDATE:

On October 25, 2012 Norman did contact us. He informed us that the pieces for the bed would not arrive until the week on November 20, 2012 because they had to be made. He offered us to be able to choose a new bed or have an “on loan” bed sent to us in the meantime if we prefer. My wife and I declined the new bed option as it too would likely require 3 weeks for delivery. After discussing the “on loan” option, we thought it would be more inconvient to require being available for extra delivery times and having people setting up and taking apart furniture in our home, thus we declined. Instead we have opted without satisfaction to continue sleeping on a matress on the floor. Hopefully the furniture arrives on time.

UPDATE:

Well, it’s November 16th today and at last we received the remaining pieces of our bed. The delivery guys again were polite and professional. They put together our furniture and left everything in good order.

Norman also contacted me again today to follow up and I let him know that we were happy to finally have the product that we expected. Again I had to add how disappointing it was to see the extent of what it took for their product to meet our expectations, but after sleeping on the floor for two months I am glad to finally have this situation resolved.

Norman added how appreciative he was of our willingness to work towards a resolution and informed me that the detail contained within this blog certainly assisted Dufresne in realizing where some changes needed to be made.

I suppose the only thing I can say to that is this; you’re welcome and the refunded product cost almost covers what I normally would have charged as a consulting fee. Thus, Mr. Dufresne, you are still the one who has been able to make good on this whole experience. Hopefully this experience has left yourself and your organization with some good ideas of how your organization can implement changes to improve your customer relations. Otherwise let us not forget the many other options available in Winnipeg.

Hopefully no more updates will be required.

Was my experience able to assist you in some way?

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60 Responses to Dufresne Furniture – Customer Service or Customer Obstruction?

  1. Natalie says:

    Thank you for sharing this story, now I understand I am not the only one who thinks that specific store (ellice) is in dire need of “Customer Service” training, starting with the lady who answers the customer service line.
    I cancelled one item, kept the other three and went straight to Kern Hill on Nairn.
    Eleanor has been a pleasure to deal with even after we changed on our minds on a couple of items, she took care of it immediately without a hassle. I am furnishing my home from top to bottom with Eleanor’s help (Kern Hill), as we all know this is quite an expense, an expense Dufresne missed out on.

    • Colin Finlay says:

      Thank you for sharing Natalie. It always amazes me when organizations that typically rely on return business because of the low volume items they stock treat customers in this fashion. It’s counter productive towards meeting goals that would encourage future growth. I think your comment speaks well to that. Thanks!

  2. Leona says:

    Your story is very similar to someone else’s that I have heard of recently.I have purchased a washing machine from them, but picked it up and installed it myself. Having heard theses stories, I will not make future purchases there.

  3. So sorry to hear about your lack of service & what they advertise !!! – not “a better experience like they advertise!!” We have never purchased there & have considered checking them out – but customer service is “the key to success in ANY business” & they will not get our business after reading this ! Thanks for sharing your story – sorry for the lack of customer service you have received – or should I say ” not received!!”

  4. Lynn says:

    One of many horror stories that come from Dufresne’s lack of Customer Service. My suggestion is to submit a complaint to the Better Business Bureau. Even if Dufresne is not registered with the BBB, they still go after them and the complaint can be seen by everyone. I have gone after a major jewellery store and got a very quick resolution. They don’t like the possibility of the story going to the newspapers either. If you do some research, you can usually find the owners or GM’ s or Board of Directors names and contact info. Good Luck.

  5. Patrick says:

    Holy Crap! I am printing this off and taking it to Panet Road. I HAVE THE EXACT SAME PROBLEM WITH JESSY AND THEIR SUPPORT – I am currently trying to return a coffee table. I literally took the exact same actions you did, and received the same unprofessional suppor

  6. Lynn says:

    After some snooping round, I found the name, phone number, fax number and website for the Dufresne Group whose headquarters are here in Winnipeg. Mark Dufresne is the new President of the company as of Oct 19, 2012. The address is 116 Nature Park Way, Winnipeg, R3P 0X8. Phone 204-989-9898 and fax is 204-989-9885. http://www.the dufresnegroup.ca. Mr Normand Hernadez was the VP Customer Care and Info Technology. Try quoting their Guarantee- “We guarantee the merchandise will be in showroom condition upon delivery. After delivery, we guarantee our furniture for one full year against manufacturing defects, or we will repair or replace the item at our option. Excluded from this guarantee are “as is” merchandise and other specifically marked final sale items.” You can also try using their Ethics, Values, Integrity and Trust statements about the kind of people they hire. ” Adheres to an appropriate and effective set of core values and beliefs during both good and bad times; acts in line with those values; practices what he/she preaches. Is widely trusted; is seen as direct and truthful; keep confidences; admits mistakes; doesn’t misrepresent him/herself for personal gain.” By the sounds of it the company does not follow these values at all. Mark Dufresne or the company is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and that may be a route to lodge a complaint. Tried to find a good place to write a testimonial but no luck, however I did see one that said she had trouble getting her deposit back and that was this past June.

    I come from many years in the Customer Service industry and it infuriates me when it is nothing but lip service.

    Don’ t give up or give in to them. Without the customer they have no business at all.

  7. Bob marquardson says:

    This is a long overdue article,our experience was like yours but worse,we will never ever step foot in that store again!! I have warned many people about there lack of service and defective furniture.
    “Dufresne,an awful experience”.!!!!

  8. Colin,

    I think your article, your explanation and experience shows that giving up is not an option in life. I am proud to say your my / our son and have learned to reach out when someone or some business has neglected to satisfy you as a customer. We all, in today’s society earn a fair wage and want to be able to spend our money without extra expense for our needs and our family’s needs. There are many organizations, businesses and companies that need to learn and train their employees on customer service and hopefully Dufresne will follow up on your situation. In this case policies, procedures and inappropriate untrained customer service methods do not out way fairness.

    When you first told me of your situation and the lack of understanding regarding the information given to you, professionalism came to mind. When speaking to a supervisor or manager of customer service, you should have actually had your situation handled without going any further. I was perplexed that the so called customer service employee stated that he was the last in line to customer service in dealing with your situation. Well, let it be known, those particular employees are mistaken, they too have supervisors or owners that they must be accountable too.

    I must say through this experience that you and your family has been put through , has left a bad taste in your parents mouth. Thus, both your mother and I will not be doing business with Dufresne ! I must add though that we had made purchases quite often at Dufresne for furnishings for our home in the past, but will no longer be associated with this business.

    You see son, this is what Dufresne and their staff members may not be considering in the business world today. That even though someone may not have had the same experience as you. It may come down to this, through commentary, references or word of mouth, a person, company or a family may not like how another person or family has been treated, thus will not support a community business like Dufresne that has these practices in customer service.

    I do hope for Dufresne that this situation will be corrected for you and your family, so you may get on with life in comfort.

    We will be passing on this message to our frinds.

    Dad

  9. Cindy says:

    Great information
    Same problem here. We bought 10,000.00 worth of products a few years ago and mattress set is now being replaced however Ashley 3 piece couch that there repair technician just examined and said needed to be fixed cannot be fixed as it is 6 days past warranty which is bull as i called company on ellice three months ago asking what could be done and they said not much. Never never again. I am pursuing Small claims court route and also taking advice from this site to complain to Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce. I guess when you get to big you loose touch with your customers and how you got to that point.

    • Colin Finlay says:

      Hi Cindy, thank you for sharing and I certainly am glad that my experience was able to help in some way. I wish you every success in resolving your challenges with Dufresne as well.

    • Judy says:

      Did you have any luck with the BBB? I’ve had there’s couches delivered and now they are telling me I have to pat the restocking fee for my refund?

  10. Anna says:

    We have the same problem at the same store. It’s been a 2 months and nothing has been resolve. Our furniture got replace 4 times and nothing has been resolve. We are to the point of returning the sofa we purchase but like you they are slapping us with the restocking fee to a product that was bad to begin with. Why penalize us we have been very patient and understanding with them. One thing we know for sure there’s no way were going back to that store again ! Customers be aware!

    • Colin Finlay says:

      Hi Anna, I would suggest writing to the email included in my blog and in the CC: field include the better business people. Might be worth reminding people that Ikea is in town now too. There is plenty of competitors to choose from in Winnipeg. Best of luck to you, and thanks for sharing!

  11. Sheri Cheys says:

    Our Dufrense experience is so similiar! My husband and I splurged on a king bed costing 4400.00 with moveable bases. The sales person was also extremely knowledgable and wonderful to deal with. The sales person told us it would be one week until delivery, it took over a month for our bed to arrive. Once delivered our problems continued. Once we put in the batteries we discovered that the bases do not move together which poses a problem as we bought one mattress and not 2. We immediately called the customer service where we were completely unsatisfied. it has been over two months now, they keep saying they haven’t heard back from the manufacturer yet. How long does one, after spending a ridiculous amount of money, have to wait? They have lost us as customers. We will strongly discourage anyone from making any purchase through this company that does not back the products they sell. I strongly recommend that everyone research the company they plan on purchasing anything from. Buyer beware! If I had I would have paid 300 dollars more and bought the bed and bases through sleep country.

  12. Melissa says:

    I really wish I had seen this forum before I plunked down $3000 on a brand new bedroom suite. My kingsize bed came with a twisted headboard which did not fit together correctly with the side rails etc. The delivery guy just said, “Not my problem, it’s the manufacturer’s problem. We’ll have someone call you in the next hour or 2” After chasing them, they sent out a tech person who they said, “I’m sure it’s something he can fix right away” The tech guy came, took one look and scoffed “I can’t fix that!, I’ll notify my manager and we’ll call you in the next hour or 2” No phone call (of course), so on the 3rd day I called the store manager. He tells me, well the screen tells me they are planning on calling you today. He also tells me to go ahead and set up my bedroom and if something breaks, the responsibility will be theirs, and they’ll fix it. I told him I’m not touching it until it is fixed now, because it now it sounds like you have no plans on fixing it at all. I just bought a new house and still have 3 more rooms I’m buying new furniture for, and you can bet I’m not going to Dufresne for any of it. I’ll also be taking Lynn’s advice and contacting the owners.

  13. Susan says:

    I am supposed to have something delivered from Dufresne tonight. I have already experience terrible customer “service” so I tried to cancel my order this morning (I am getting nervous about what how I might be treated if I have problems with the item.) I was told that it was too late, the item was already on the truck. Would you recommend that I not receive the item?

    • Colin Finlay says:

      Hi Susan. I am not in a position to make any recommendations and I would hope given the feedback that was provided to Dufresne that improvements to their service and processes would be made. Should you have an experience you feel is worth sharing though I would encourage you to do so openly so others may take that into account when deciding to do business with them.

    • Colin Finlay says:

      Hi Susan, I’m not in a position to make a recommendation of any sorts here because I don’t know your personal situation. I would suggest you take into account all the information you have and do what you think is best in your own circumstances. I do hope however that the many experiences people share help others with their decision. Best of luck!

  14. Bev McNeil says:

    My husband ordered a bed for over $2000 On Oct 22 2013. He ordered a double bed & they only had Queen in stock. November 6 the bed arrived-Delivery crew are excellent ( I think they are subcontractor not Dufresne employees) Double mattress -Queen size box spring. The delivery crew took the box spring back & my husband heard them call Dufresne to have the old bed picked up.. Now at this point you would think Dufresne would be calling us to let us call know how they were going to fix their error-THAT IS WHAT GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE WOULD DO! After a couple of hours we call them. We need a box spring where are we to sleep. If we put the mattress on the floor it would void the warranty. We got no strait or answers from customer service. Our Daughter called the Nairn store asked for Ray, the manger that sold us the bed. Was told he was busy & would call us back. After 30 mins our Daughter called back & stayed on hold till Ray was available. She demanded a loaner box spring-was told they do not usually do that- Our Daughter is a very determined person & the loaner box spring arrived before 8pm.
    The next day still no call from Dufresne about what was happening & how they are going to fix this.
    I called them That is another story this is not over yet

  15. GM says:

    I went into Dufresne in Ottawa with my sister to look at couches at the end of September. I spotted two leather couches (in a muddy brown color) that seemingly fit my taste and needs but did not like the color and I still was not sure of the demensions. I was told that I could use my credit card and put a deposit down of 30% as a price retainer, We negotiated a price and a credit card deposit (price retainer) was made but told several times that I could cancel the order at any time. I was glad to hear that because I was undergoing renovations and had no idea as to when I would be finished. That was okay according to them. I borrowed two samples of leather from them so I could show my husband and promptly returned them to the store 3 days later, but NEVER finalized or instructed anyone to proceed with the full order. At the desk, with the help of a salesman, it was noted I returned the sample and I mentioned I would probably order it in black. No one asked me to finalize a payment nor was there any discussion as to the color or when I wanted it. A month later I noticed the credit card statement showed they had processed the deposit which I found rather strange but since I was about to put the official order through for a black couch anyways, I let it go. Then, two weeks later I returned to the store to officially order the couch and was told it would be ready for delivery that week. It has to be noted that the financial clerk never confirmed with me the color but certainly was quick at processing the payment. Wow, I thought….how fast was that to already have the black couch on stock. The delivery truck arrived saturday and before the first couch even left the truck, I realized ….whoah, it was the wrong color. Despite me telling the delivery crew to return the couch, they insisted I take the two of them and that the manager would call me on Monday. They also mentioned the couch had a broken leg in the back. How could someone make an error like this of delivering the wrong color? Why wasn’t it confirmed I wanted black. I was not happy and very disappointed as Christmas is only 3 weeks away.
    And so, the manager never did call me on Monday. I waited until Tuesday afternoon and then called the store myself. I told him about the wrong color, the broken leg and they it was quite larger than I anticipated. Nonetheless, I knew he had to pick up the couch from my home given it was the wrong color, and in doing so, I was re-thinking if I had ordered the right. I told him I was prepared to either find something else in the store more suitable and if not, I would have to consider cancelling the whole order. That is when he told me quite blantly that he could change the color for a black or find something in the store of the same value but if I cancelled, I would have pay the transportation fees plus a restocking fee of 10% (that would have meant paying out $500) just for cancelling. I was very upset to hear the least and he was adamant about the policy and protecting his staff saying they did no wrong and followed instructions. Then all of a sudden the phone went “click”. I checked my phone to see if it was the battery – no. I checked to see if someone had picked up the phone and put it down to disconnect me – no. It had to be the manager. I never did get a phone call back from him.

    I waited another day and still no news and so I called the store and spoke to the lady who answered and asked her to check my order on her computer to see if indeed there was an order for black leather couches, and she replied that she saw my order but nothing was outstanding. What?!! I asked her to check it out and to call me back. Well, she was kind enough to have done that but I was very surprised to hear that the order for two black couches was just made and it would be another 6 to 8 weeks.

    So bottom line here is that why was the manager so blatant, rude, insistent and threatening that if I cancelled the order entirely, I would have to pay a restocking fee when the couch had not even been ordered? And why would he also want to charge me transportation costs when it was them that brought the wrong color couches and would have to come and get them.

    Now I really am having doubts on this furniture store and their service. Once you are reeled into the store and your credit card shown….you’ve been had. Do you think I should be bringing this up to head office and is it worthy of persuing a small compensation for the disruption all of this has caused. Sorry about the long-winded story but will appreciate your views / comments.

    • Colin Finlay says:

      Thank you for sharing GM. My experience has always led me to believe there is no more harm that can come to me by sharing my experience with the organization so long as it is done objectively, constructively and truthfully. I hope you are able to find a solution that works well for you in your circumstances.

  16. Lynn says:

    To GM, I doubt that you’ll have any success in getting any compensation for the problems they have caused. However, I think it is most definitely worth the effort to notify the Head Office AND the Better Business Bureau. There are phone numbers for the HO listed in a comment above. Good Luck.

  17. SN says:

    What is it with big box furniture stores these days? I’ve just recently had an awful customer service experience with the Brick on Hunt Club Rd in Ottawa. It was on the same lines as the original account and I was considering going to Dufresne. But it looks like they’re all cut from the same cloth! The sales team is only interested in getting you to put that money down, and then customer service does whatever they can to keep the money and never give it back and take no responsibility for the sales rep’s mistakes. Its surprising how many people it takes at a furniture store to get one customer’s problems resolved. Its like they purposely do a shi**y job so you’re given the royal runaround and they get to keep their jobs.

    I have complained to BBB for other businesses – to be honest, I didn’t find the process to be very effective. They “try” to resolve matters….but they can’t force the business to do anything at all. Good luck to those who are trying that route!

  18. Megan says:

    Hey Colin, I worked at Dufresne customer service for over a year. I know Norm Alegra and Jeff Couture, I worked with them on a daily basis. Nothing was done by your contact with Norman, let me assure you. He tells the guys on the phone to stop the customer from reutrning at all costs and to deflect any situation so a “super visor” or himself do not have to take a call.

    Dufresne orders the majority of their stock from China, they do not own a parts warehouse so every item that needs repair is either done in a room beside the warehouse or re-ordered from China. A lot of times, damaged stock that was promised to the customer to be new, is refinished damage product done at the warehouse on Panet RD.

    Jeff C is about 5’2, short and bald and hits on all the young women who come in as customer service reps. They normally end up being 20 years younger or so.

    Norman talks like the most compassionate caring person on the phone, then generally mocks the customers after the call to the entire staff. His voice tone and actual tone are completely different. The only reason you were contacted by Norm is because you insisted on calling back and blogged about it.

  19. George says:

    I wish I would of found this site , about Dufresne earlier , on June 28th / 14 purchased a sofa ,+ 2 recliner chairs. put $1000.00 down payment ,was told 4-6 weeks delivery by the Salesman John Kelly in Thunder Bay latest date Aug 14/14 for delivery on the bill , well that date came and gone . Tried calling to see when our furniture would be delivered , what a joke that was. Furniture still in Winnipeg oh ok , can u find out when it will be shipped to Thunder Bay , here comes the good part , well it still might being manufactured they might of taken a week of for summer holidays huh “. Better half didn’t like the colours of the display model so she ordered different colours fine by me ” . But we were told 4-6 weeks . Last week we were told the furniture would be delivered to the house Aug 28/14 , to expect a call first thing in the am today , well no call came. We had made arrangements the other day to have our furniture removed , old furniture gone for the new . Better half is fuming now sends me to the store , big mistake . I go to the store see this Kelly idiot standing around the desk with 2 other sales man I gather no balls , well they sure took off in a hurry asking Kelly where in the world is our furniture , what time today are u going to deliver it .Well we tried calling but we don’t have a # for u . HUH You try calling without a # how does that work i ask .Full of sh*t about the # because the store has returned her call , new trick i guess of Dufresne is to say they don’t have a #. So u tell female customers what they want to hear furniture be here certain date , that date comes and go’s then just pick a new date . Gets better so when is the furniture going to get delivered , might be next week still in Winnipeg by the end of next week huh . We gave away furniture , NFL pre-season game on tonight and no recliner , long weekend is here no furniture GRRR , ? is it made don’t know , more words came out voice getting louder and customers are leaving the store . Drive home scared to tell her about the new date lol , the french be coming out , we go shopping for furniture , purchase another sofa and 2 -recliners from another retailer delivery Friday in stock
    colours she is happy with . Drive back to Dufresne tell them to shove the furniture u know where , 25% restocking fees , I don’t care the lady then tells us both 8-12 weeks for delivery if not more huh not once was 8-12 wks mentioned to either of us , so it cost me $543.75 to restock something i never got.
    I for one will be telling everyone about this incompetent retailer and sales man , even the twits at the desk .

  20. Tamara says:

    Just wanted to share my experience. I bought a living room set from dufresne about 10 months ago. I leaned on my chair and the arm broke and the springs and seat cushions on the couch are already shot. My furniture is brand new. I talked to the manager (ryan) and they are replacing the chair and cushions. The problem with this is that I’m going to keep having the same problems because the quality of what I bought is horrible. I paid almost 2400$ for what I thought was good quality furniture. So what they’re doing is putting a band aid on the furniture until the warranty is up and I’m not longer their problem. I’m so disappointed with dufresne and with this furniture. I work so hard for my money and spend months shopping around for the perfect set. I would never buy from dufresne (Ashley furniture) again and would never re come d them to anyone!!

    • Bev McNeil says:

      We just spent 5000 on furniture & You can bet I never spent one cent at Dufresne or Ashley. Our experience with Dufresne The 1st time ensure no one in our circle would buy anything from them. To bad they do not monitor this site. Doug Dufresne should be ware of how many customers are disgusted with them & take the time to let others know

    • lorraine klymko says:

      hello Tamara,
      I understand your feelings. It is upsetting to feel that your hard earned money has been spent on an inferior product. I am going shopping today for a new washer and dryer and I will not be going to Dufresne. It is the only way to make our voice heard. Take heart and know you are not alone.

  21. Larry Vermeersch says:

    After spending over $15,000 at the Regent Avenue and Kenora stores this past summer, we will Never walk into a store again. Doug Dufrensne the impression of customer service but has forgotten what that means. WE WILL NEVER PURCHASE ANOTHER ITEM FROM THEM!!!

  22. lorraine klymko says:

    It is so sad to hear of all this dissatisfaction and to realize that everything you have written is true. I have shopped at Dufresne for over thirty years and was a loyal customer. My latest purchase was in September, 2014 and it has been fraught with anxiety and despair. I purchased a Canadian made sofa and loveseat and I know they are Canadian because they sounded like Canadian geese whenever you sat or stood. I called Dufresne, they picked up my geese and returned them to me in a timely fashion, still honking. So we did it again. They did repair them and did return them. Also at issue was that not one cushion aligned with another. This was not repaired although they are very sympathetic and agree with my cause for unhappiness, they themselves would not accept such a product (but they will sell it). After close to ten telephone calls, some calling me to ask if I am satisfied with customer service) I have given up. My sofa and love seat are hideous, it gives my frequent guests something to chuckle about but I make sure to mention I got it from Dufresne and that it is my last purchase from them.

  23. fanny says:

    I am in the middle of a similar situation with the Regent store and so far haven’t had one nice experience. The service guy had reported back to the office as “furniture fixed” both times he came to our house to just look at the furniture. He would complain about dufresne customer service to me to get me to trust him but when I called in each time, our furniture apparently had been fixed. Haven’t had a “Norman” (good) experience. Thank you for sharing.

  24. Gail says:

    I also have had terrible experiences with Dufresne. I bought a couch and loveseat coffee and end tables. When they were delivered I looked them over and they seemed okay. When the delivery guys left I noticed that the material on the couch and loveseat was coming apart. I called the ell ice store right away.They told me they would send out a technician to come and inspect them . I replied that they were just delivered don’t they just give you new ones . They don.t replace but will fix them. Calls to customer service was useless. They absolutely do not stand by their products!! Their customer service garantee is a joke. I received no satisfaction whatever and will never go to Dufresne again

  25. Joanne says:

    We purchased a bedroom suite from the Dufresne, Ellice location in August of 2014. When it was delivered on September 10th, the chest and dresser were both scratched, damaged or the drawers did not fit and did not close properly. They replaced the damaged on Oct 15th, Nov 25 th and Nov 28th always with equally or more damaged items. Finally, I spoke to Sarah Ann at Customer Service, who assured me that she would personally check the items before it went on the truck and I accepted a final delivery on Dec 13th, 2014. This furniture was damaged and a piece of the wood fell off during the delivery. Upon closer inspection, I realized that this item had been previously damaged and the wood had been glued on so that it would not be noticed. Are they selling used furniture? How can it be so defective? My old furniture, that I gave away, was in better shape than what I purchased from Dufresne! I tried on numerous occasions to get the name of a superior or manager, as I think these are serious matters of honesty and integrity that any management would want to be aware of, but to no avail. I have been unable to get the name or number of anyone in any position of authority. Sarah-Anne at Customer Service is very protective of that information. I am now awaiting pick up of this furniture. They promised me a refund which remains to be seen, but they have refused to refund the $89.99 delivery charge + tax. I’ve wasted so much time on this furniture with numerous phone calls and now 6 delivery appointments of damaged items. My clothing will be stored in boxes on the floor where my furniture should be until I get delivery of my new furniture from a reputable company. We will no longer be shopping at Dufresne!

  26. Cheryl says:

    I wish that I had read your article before purchasing my washing machine there. Poor customer service is something that most people want to know about. People just want businesses to treat them respectfully and fairly. They don’t seem to really care if you have to wait and wait for things to come in. They don’t follow up when you call with a concern. We kept getting promised that our washer that we desperately needed would be in by this day and then this day. When we called the receptionist was rude and disinterested. The same thing happened to us when we went to pay off the remainder because we just wanted to put a deposit down until it actually arrived. Then after going in to complain it magically appeared to have come in. While waiting for another rude receptionist to take our money I could hear the “professional” manner speaking about me to another sales person. What are we? 5? I said loudly that I could hear him. Then he moved away and never even came back to make sure that everything had been taken care of. I thought this store was going to be above the standards of warehouse stores and big retailers like the Brick. However this was proved false. I was very disappointed with my experience at this store especially when I could have gone to another store and bought the same washing machine for close to the same price. So much for customer service at this business.

  27. Joanne says:

    Here’s an update to the above situation. The furniture was returned and I have since contacted my salesperson. He apologized for this whole fiasco and after consulting with his manager was able to refund the entire amount. I am satisfied with this outcome and appreciative of our salesperson, Daniel who was able to rectify everything compassionately and effectively once he was aware of the situation. Lesson learned, don’t waste your time with the Customer Service people go back to your salesperson for any problems.

  28. Darren says:

    We bought a trundle bed for the kids a few years ago that arrived scratched in two places. It took 3 visits to determine that one piece would be replaced and the other could not be repaired as the part was no longer available. Dufresne offered to return the bed but we would have to pay a 10% restock fee. I said that was ridiculous and thought a cash discount would be more reasonable. It took 5 months of fighting but they finally did give us the refund.

    Fast forward a year latter………we purchased a sectional couch ( because we are suckers for punishment ) with extended warranty ($190). It is now 2 years after that purchase that the couch is cracking. I called customer service and a technician was booked. About a week later they cancelled. When I called to reschedule they said a tech would not be coming out as our couch was not covered for cracking. When I demanded a supervisor, I spoke to an arrogant gent who was almost laughing when he told me that the only thing my extended warranty covered was the couch frame if it was a manufacturers issue. I said why would I spend close to $200 to warranty the frame only? He said well it could happen to be defective. Ya, right!

    I will follow up with the BBB (slightly optimistic) , the owners as given above, and small claims if necessary. And I will NEVER purchase from them again

  29. Ken Dressell says:

    May 2013 My wife and I purchased two bonded leather swivel recliners from Dufresne Furniture in Brandon, Manitoba. Shortly after a year the chairs started showing small white spots on the cognac “leather”. Less than two years from purchase the white spots have increased in size and it is obvious that the leather is delaminating. Having been in touch with Dufresne via e-mail we received phone call from a Brandon representative. We were told that nothing could be done for us as we did not have the extended 1 year warranty ( problem manifested itself just after 1year). Dufresne advertises quality furniture. This is obviously not quality. They did nothing to make us satisfied customers even though warranty had expired . We have other faux leather furniture which is over 10 years old without any of the problems. Having now done research I would not purchase any furniture labelled as bonded leather made China nor would I purchase from Dufresne in the future

  30. A an More McCarville says:

    We are another victim of dufresne in ottawa. Beware even if you buy their insurance..which is not honoured. We purchased a leather chesterfield set made by palisade…over $3000 what a big disappointment – it was garbage, from the first month we had it. Yes they came out to replace the cushions and to look at the scratches it made on our floor and yes they coloured the leather that had the colouring removed and yes they did other things before taking pictures last fall to take to the company. You sat down and the wood framing was sticking into you so bad and the leather had holes in it. Yeah we have an 18 year old. By christmas we went to them and purchase another set and was assured by the salesman they had our back and if the insurance company would not do anything they would because the salesman had an in and they wanted good pub licity from their good customers. In 5years we bought 2 french doors refrigerator with freezer on the bottom, washer and dryer -not bottom line machines.a kitchen table 3 chesterfield sets an electric stove.a bedroom set 3mattress sets 2dishwashers. Well they delivered the new chesterfield,set in December and took away the one. In Feb still nothing except they were looking into things and not to worry they had our back. Then in March we were told they had an open ticket and had a new piece to install but nobody advised us….I question if they screwed up or were covering up.. Then they were going to talk to the company. After many calls today we were offered $50 compensation….most appropriately my spouse told them where to put the $ 50 These people are not to be trusted unreliable definitely should be stayed away from. We are done with these rats. They have very poor business practices and lie. Our satisfaction is we tell everyone our story showed all who came to our home about the couch and now plan to publicize how terrible palliative products are and how terrible Dufrenses. Are to do business with. Please be good to your friends and coworkers and share the news about these companies

  31. Dena Roberts says:

    I wish I had read this before I ordered a chair, a futon, a TV, a bed, and a sofa-bed from Dufresne. The “rocker/recliner chair doesn’t recline. The futon takes 2 very strong people to open and close it. The TV has a very bad pixelated picture. The memory foam mattress makes my back hurt. And the sofa-bed is so extra firm, that no one wants to sit on it, and the mattress is so thin, that you can feel every support bar under it. I am not happy with anything I received from them and will shop elsewhere in the future.

  32. Paul says:

    Well, close to 4 years have past since the original posting. I wish I had seen it earlier. Our experience with Dufresne has been nothing short of intensely frustrating. There is a total lack of accountability right from sales to customer service to store manager to shipping. I would imagine everyone who has made the mistake of purchasing large appliances or furniture through Dufresne have experienced all levels to which I refer above.

    Our wonderful shopping experience began early at the end of June. We had decided to purchase all new stainless appliances. After shopping around we happened to be passing the Dufresne on Ellice store. It was a quite weekend and that was demonstrated by the group of sleepy looking sales reps sitting in the appliance section. One fellow got up and probably made the easiest sale of his life…we knew what we wanted and the whole process to purchase 4 new appliances took all of 40 minutes. I have to admit we were tired of shopping around and wanted to get this taken care.

    Beautiful, sales guy Paul is happy, we’re happy, and we were given two delivery dates. Range and dishwasher, and microwave July 22nd and fridge would be July 25th. That sounded reasonable so I paid in full and we went happily on our way. One less thing to do in finalizing our kitchen reno.

    The range and the dishwasher showed up on the date promised July 22nd. That was a good sign. July 24th rolls around and we get a call from “Barb” saying the fridge would be delayed a few days until July 29th but they would be happy to deliver the over the range microwave in the meantime. I graciously said ” oh no, don’t bother with that, just bring it with you when you deliver the fridge”. I reminded her that it was the long weekend and that we would change our plans to ensure we were home for the delivery. “Absolutely they would do that and once again sorry for the delay”.

    Well, sometime Thursday evening the day before the fridge was to be delivered we get a voicemail saying that the “we’re very sorry but your fridge will not be delivered until Saturday July 30th. We began wondering what the disconnect is between Dufresne and the appliance manufacturer LG and their warehouse. Do they make these things one at a time in some obscure Asian province and then haul them on the backs of donkeys to the waters edge for shipping? Strange that the day before a delivery, they don’t even have the appliance in a warehouse and someone, somewhere, stumbles on the answer at the last minute that – no indeed there is no appliance for you and therefore no delivery.

    Friday morning I go to the store to talk to customer service. I get the run around for a few minutes and quickly decide I had better speak with the manager. Gille was pleasant and assured me that the delivery would be only a matter of a few days. I tell him about the rescheduling and delays and he offers me a $220 discount. I wasn’t exactly thrilled with this discount after spending several thousand dollars on our appliance purchase but thought what the heck. Maybe Gilles will get this thing back on track.

    Saturday morning we get a call that the fridge would not be delivered. I hadn’t mentioned that we had donated our existing fridge and other appliances to a local charity two and half weeks ago in anticipation that our new fridge and other appliances would have arrived. My wife calls me with the “angry voice” and basically conveyed the message to me that our fridge will now not be delivered until August 13th. The guy on the phone with her actually said something about the $220 discount in waiving the delivery fee as this must have had something to do with it. They could have kept the $220 bucks if that was the case, we’d like our fridge thank you.

    I happened to be near the store so I barrel down there and ask to speak to the manager Gilles. Gilles assures me that there is nothing they can do at this point and this is a delivery problem with LG. I tell Gilles I find it unbelievable that a company could remain in business for any length of time with that type of working relationship with their suppliers and customers and told him the level of accountability throughout the ranks is quite simply dumbfounding. I call my sales guy Paul and ask him if there is anything he can do. He basically answers that he understands if we never do business with Dufresne again but there is nothing he can do. Can’t believe someone who is dependent on sales would actually say something like that. It’s a sad culture there. I’m really concerned about next August delivery date – they have my money and my fridge. If they don’t make that date I’ll take legal action to get my money back and buy elsewhere.

    • lorraine klymko says:

      your story is not an unusual one when it comes to dufresne’s. after a horrific couch experience two years ago I promised myself I would never deal with them again. I am in need of a new fridge but would rather build one with Styrofoam and string than deal with them again. I am surprised they remain in business. pleasing the customer is not on their list of priorities.

      On Mon, Aug 8, 2016 at 8:37 PM, Colin Finlay, CHRP wrote:

      > Paul commented: “Well, close to 4 years have past since the original > posting. I wish I had seen it earlier. Our experience with Dufresne has > been nothing short of intensely frustrating. There is a total lack of > accountability right from sales to customer service to store ” >

  33. DJ says:

    I have dealt with Dufresne furniture for many years and haven’t had a problem until now. We purchased a sectional couch and at the time of purchase the salesman made a great sales pitch about the extended warranty. He stated that if the warranty was not utilized after the 3 year period we would receive the full amount in a store credit. However, he neglected to tell us or provide any documentation stating you have to purchase a minimum of 1,000.00 in regular priced furniture or appliances in order to use the credit. By not disclosing all the information about the terms of the extended warranty and not providing documentation at the time of purchase, this has resulted in a loss of a long time customer and negative feedback to potential customers. I do hope the $149.99 was worth it to Dufresne. Buyer Beware!

  34. Jan says:

    I have had similar nightmare experiences with both Ashley Furniture and Ashley! Same company. I will NEVER deal with this company again and will tell everyone I encounter to save others from the same frustration I have experience. 6-7 months to get the first issue sorted out. The second issue began in October. It’s now May 31 and I am no closer to resolving the problem than I was in January.

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