Can't get through on Ikea's recall hotline? We tried 35 times. Here's what happened.
Hours after the unprecedented recall was announced Tuesday, frustrated customers took to social media to complain they couldn't get through or talk to a person on the hotline. The Inquirer tried 27 calls to the hotline between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon. They all ended the same way - disconnected.
Ikea's massive recall of 29 million dressers was designed to be consumer friendly.
Can't bring your unit to a store? Ikea will pick it up.
Want to keep it? A crew will come anchor the dresser to the wall.
But getting to that point - or even reaching an operator on the recall hotline - requires persistence.
Hours after the unprecedented recall was announced Tuesday, frustrated customers took to social media to complain they couldn't get through or talk to a person on the hotline.
So the Inquirer tried on its own. Twenty-seven phone calls to the hotline between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon ended the same way - with reporters being disconnected.
>>Video: Why recalled dressers are so dangerous
A few other times, callers made it to the queue waiting to talk to an Ikea associate. Just once did a call end with a company staffer coming on the line.
After 80 minutes.
Ikea spokeswoman Mona Astra Liss on Wednesday said the company was taking "multiple steps" to address the problem.
"We are grateful for the overwhelming response to yesterday's announcement and are doing our very best to respond to every consumer in a timely manner," Liss said in a statement. "We know that some customers are having trouble getting through to us on the phone. IKEA apologizes for this inconvenience and thanks them for their patience."
>>What to do if you own an Ikea dresser -- recalled or not
The recall, sparked in part by the deaths of three toddlers in two years, has been described as one of the most comprehensive safety remedies in U.S. history. It applies to 29 million products sold by the retail giant over the past two decades. More than 100 Ikea product lines are included, some with multiple sizes of dressers on the recall list.
The remedy was negotiated between Ikea and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission over the course of months. And its announcement was carefully coordinated and included a demonstration of toppling furniture.
But in the hours since, scores of customers have complained online.
"I have been trying to get through to someone all day and each time I call I'm told that all of the lines are busy and then disconnected," Annalies Tallack Morales wrote Tuesday afternoon on Ikea's Facebook page. "I have two of these dressers and would like to speak with somebody as soon as possible."
In response, Ikea told many customers to email the company with their name, mailing address, phone number, and a photo of the dresser.
In most of their calls to the recall line, Inquirer reporters heard a brief automated message that provided details about the recall and said call volumes were high.
"All lines are busy at this time. Please try again later. Goodbye," the message said before disconnecting.
There was no option to leave a message.
The problems also go beyond the technical.
Ikea initially listed an incorrect email address on its website, causing emails from customers to be bounced back.
"Hi Allison, the email listed on our website was incorrect," Ikea wrote to one customer who complained on Facebook. "Please email email@example.com. Thank you!"
Ikea had initially listed the address as firstname.lastname@example.org, dropping an "e."
Asked about the delays, Scott Wolfson, spokesman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said in an email it would be best for Ikea "to provide comment on what they are doing to address any call volume issues."
Reporters Daniel Block and Grace Toohey contributed to this story.