IKEA has a wide range of affordable furniture and home decor. However, as with any store, there is always a risk that an item you purchase is damaged.
Many people consider IKEA’s return policy to be generous, but returns at any store can be fraught with difficulties. As you’re already dealing with the fact that your new item is damaged, I’m hoping to make the return process easier for you by providing you with all the information you need in one place.
Unopened items can be returned within 365 days of purchase. Opened items can be returned within 180 days of purchase. Certain items are excluded and cannot be returned. All returns must take place in-store, even if the item was purchased online. Only items damaged before purchase can be returned.
IKEA’s Return Policy
On the IKEA website, they say the following regarding their general return policy:
“If you’re not totally satisfied with your IKEA purchase you can return new and unopened products within 365 days, together with your proof of purchase, for a full refund. You may also return open products within 180 days, with your proof of purchase, for a full refund.”
In addition, they outline the following exceptions to the previous statement:
“We do not accept returns on plants, cut fabric, custom countertops and as-is products. We are unable to refund or exchange your items if your merchandise is found to be modified from its original form when purchased, dirty, stained, or damaged. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
Damage is Unsatisfactory
According to the previously mentioned guidelines, anything unsatisfactory about the item is plausible grounds for a return, and damage to the item would certainly not be satisfactory.
Therefore, you have a valid reason to return the item, and you may do so within a certain time frame from your purchase of the item.
For items that have been opened before damage was discovered, you have a full 180 days from the day it was purchased to return the item.
For items you know are damaged before opening them, such as items with clear packaging or damage you can hear (like broken glass inside a box), you have 365 days to return them.
Is There Some Leeway to the 180-Day Rule?
180 days is equivalent to six months, which should be plenty of time to discover that something is broken.
However, in cases where the 180 days have passed and you have just discovered the damage, you will likely need to prove to them somehow that you hadn’t opened the item until after the 180 days.
If the product doesn’t look like it’s been used during the six months and you successfully convince them you didn’t open it until after the 180-day window, they may accept the return.
In any case, it’s important to remember that policies are policies, so even with substantial proof they still may not accept the return if the 180-day rule is broken.
“Unable to Refund Your Items if…Damaged”
At first glance, it appears the IKEA return policy states that they won’t accept any returns that have any sort of damage:
“We are unable to refund or change your items if your merchandise is found to be…damaged.”
However, this is not trying to convey that if you buy a damaged item, you are out of luck.
For example, if you bought a bed and found that the frame was cracked, the policy isn’t saying this wouldn’t be approved for a refund.
Upon closer examination of the policy, you will see that they are referring to damages that may happen to the item after it is purchased.
This part of the policy exists to prevent people from trying to return items that they have damaged.
A few examples of this are damage to furniture when attempting to put it together or an item that was stained after it was purchased.
The bottom line is this: if you damage an item after opening it, you can’t return it. If the item comes damaged, you can.
What About Damage to Non-Accepted Returns?
In the return policy, IKEA has some items bolded that are excluded from the refund policy. This includes plants, cut fabric, custom countertops, and as-is products.
For plants, it is highly unlikely that damage will be an acceptable reason to return them. This is partly because there’s no clear definition of what a ‘damaged’ plant is.
In addition, it’s hard to return a plant that is dead or withered, as there are responsibilities the buyer must take after purchasing to keep it alive. This includes watering the plant, putting it in sunlight, etc.
As for the plant’s pot, it’s unlikely a return for damage will be approved, as a broken pot is noticeable before ever purchasing the item, and it can’t be proved that the pot wasn’t damaged by the buyer.
When it comes to fabric, the item can’t be damaged without your knowledge, as the fabric is typically rolled out, checked, and cut with the buyer present.
Therefore, the buyer should be aware of any damages before or during the sale, and for this reason, a refund due to damage is not possible.
According to the IKEA terms and conditions for the purchase of a custom countertop, the buyer must sign a completion certificate to prove that the countertop is up to standards.
Because of this, any damages will be addressed before the transaction is fully complete, as the buyer must inspect the counter and sign the certificate acknowledging their satisfaction with the project.
Finally, as-is products are excluded from returns in general because they are usually discontinued products that the store doesn’t carry anymore.
Furthermore, they are fully on display for you before you buy them, not enclosed in a sealed box, so you have the chance to check for damage beforehand.
For any products damaged during the delivery process, IKEA directs customers to reach out to both a customer service representative and the delivery driver to resolve the issue.
Can Online Purchases Be Returned?
When it comes to online purchases, you are still able to return these items if you aren’t satisfied with your product upon receiving it.
However, to process an online purchase return you will need to go to one of the physical store locations to arrange the return.
From there, the return process follows the same general guidelines. You have 360 days to return an unopened product, and 180 days to return an opened one.
In addition, you will still need to show some form of proof of your purchase, which could be a confirmation email, digital receipt, etc.
If you don’t have any proof that you purchased the item, be sure to have the card that you used to purchase it on hand, as they may be able to use the number to find your purchase.
If you are unable to make it to a physical store location for any reason, IKEA encourages you to utilize the chat service on its website to explore other possible options.
Damaged Items Return Requirements
You will need to bring some sort of proof of purchase, whether it be a receipt or an email confirmation. This is to prevent people from committing fraud.
Another thing you will need is a valid, government-issued ID. Stores require this when an item is returned to keep the buyer’s information on record so that fraudulent return patterns can be identified.
If you don’t have proof of your purchase anymore and you paid with a card, be sure to bring the card you used for the purchase, as they may be able to find your purchase in the system using the card number.
You will, of course, need to bring in the damaged item so that the store can assess the damage and determine whether or not they will approve the return based on the item’s condition.
You are not required to bring the item’s original packaging to return it. However, if you still have it you should bring it along because it may be useful in the return process.
Finally, if you are returning furniture but you have already assembled it, you are still able to bring the item in as-is and return it.
For larger items, IKEA offers a pickup service. To arrange for a pickup, you will still need to go to the store in person.
How To Return a Damaged IKEA Product
To make any kind of return at IKEA, it is required that you go to a physical store location to go through the return process. It cannot be done online, even if your damaged item was ordered online.
On their website, IKEA offers a helpful search tool for finding a store location in your area or as close to you as possible.
Once you’ve found a store, make sure you bring all of the items required for a return (proof of purchase, ID, payment card, the item, and its packaging), which I talked about in more detail in the previous section.
Upon entering the store, there will be several signs posted to point you in the direction of the exchanges and return counter, which you should follow.
Finally, once you make it to the exchanges and return counter, you can sign up to claim a spot in the line and wait for your turn to go over your return with an IKEA employee.
IKEA Can Offer Part Replacement
In some cases, there may be damage to only a small part of the item. If this is the case, IKEA can offer a free replacement for the damaged part.
For example, small parts such as pegs or screws that are easy to lose will likely be replaced for free and won’t require any proof to receive a replacement.
If a large part needs to be replaced, proof becomes more important as there may be a fee charged to you if you can’t provide proof of purchase.
In addition, you will likely still need to show the damaged item and a valid, government-issued ID for the replacement to process.
For the best chance at avoiding a fee, you should show all of the aforementioned items, as well as prove that the damage was IKEA’s fault and not yours.
Can You Opt for Return Instead?
In addition to offering part replacements, IKEA also offers returns or store credits for damaged or unsatisfactory parts.
It’s important to note that this is mostly allowed for smaller parts, as proof is needed to offer returns, refunds, or replacements for larger parts.
According to their policy, IKEA issues all refunds in the same form of payment that was used to purchase the item in the first place. Depending on the form of payment, the refund can be immediate or take up to ten business days.
Again, to arrange a return you will need to go to a physical store location and bring all of the items I’ve mentioned for the return to be processed successfully.