IKEA prides itself on providing designer kitchens at affordable pricing but there’s the lowdown on all the shit you probably didn’t know about IKEA and the way its kitchen sales are being operated here in Singapore and I’m here to help you save a truckload of heartache , money and possibly a lot of pain . This is going to be a long rant guys so go grab a drink and get comfy.
When we collected our keys , Sarah and I were so excited to see everything get up to speed on our first home together. We don’t have a lot of money and Sarah has major trust issues with interior designers and contractors so we both decided that to the best of our abilities, we’d DIY everything ourselves.
We also weren’t keen on the idea of getting a home renovation loan from the bank as we wanted to start our new lives together as debt-free as possible. A kitchen would usually form the bulk of the house’s renovation costs as its one of the few things that you can’t really stroll into a departmental store and get it off the shelf you know what I mean?
I wasn’t exactly keen in dipping in our already non-existent savings, so when I found out that I could get an awesome looking designer kitchen from IKEA on a 2 year interest free installment plan? I was simply ecstatic!
Bearing in mind that we didn’t go for the cheapest everything in IKEA (The cheapest kitchen system costs I think $899 but it’s really a crap piece of work) Our total kitchen was approximately a cozy 15ft top and bottom with a nice finish and a decent solid top , total (approx 4K)
Clearly I was wrong cos more than a month later , staring at my unfinished kitchen makes me wish I could KICK MYSELF over and over again in my balls.
So here are some of the many things you don’t know about just how fucked up things can get summarized when you get an IKEA kitchen, step by step, in the order of my sad realization.
1)Pointless ‘site measurement’ fee
You need to pay $40 for IKEA to arrange for a ‘site measurement’ of the space available in your home. According to them ,its compulsory and you can’t go around it even if you brought your floor plan to them.
If you want an IKEA kitchen, You need to make a trip to IKEA and book the appointment physically and pay on the spot by nets/cash before they will arrange a date for you which can take up to 2 weeks for them to come to your home.
Unlike the other IKEAs in other countries, for Singapore this cost is not refunded to you when you decide to purchase an ikea kitchen.
2) Long waiting times and lack of help
You then need to wait another 1 to 2 weeks for them to send you the drawing before you have to proceed down to IKEA to choose and plan your kitchen. There are only 1 to 2 IKEA kitchen planners in the kitchen department at each time which results in very very long waits just to see them to get stuff planned out.
I waited for about 1.5 hours despite having an appointment and calling ahead to inform them that time was tight. (my file had a huge post it on top to remind the consultants that I’m coming at 11am
3) Solid Tops and cabinets can actually be more expensive in IKEA.
Something interesting to note. Even though the pricing of the cabinets may seem affordable at first cos of the installment plans. There are truckloads of things that cost way more than outside contractors. For example, a typical solid top from a contractor can cost at the cheapest I found, $65 per foot run with a gazillion colours and designs. IKEA charges at cheapest $115 per foot run for a plain white one acrylic top with no backslash. A decent looking one would cost between $115-$135 per foot run from IKEA.
This does not cover the cost of installation which is $30/foot which means that if you have a 30foot kitchen top and bottom you would need to pay:
30foot X $30/foot = $900
installation of sink and tap = $120
installation of hob and hood = $50
Site measurement = $40
Some stupid charge of Additional extension of PVC water piping which i refused to pay but they claim its compulsory cos ikea sinks are not suitable -_- = $30
4) Long waiting time for installation date
After planning everything with the IKEA kitchen planner, We paid for the items and we arranged for an installation date, they claimed it was all full up so the earliest slot was in almost 3 weeks. FYI Ikea delivered the unassembled cabinets and everything the next day. So it sat in my kitchen for almost 3 weeks collecting dust and taking up space while waiting them. I was also given a ‘tentative installation date’
5) Shocker number one- IKEA isn’t the company that fixes up your kitchen!
Here’s when things start getting interesting. Apparently there are 2 different companies and its those left hand don’t talk to right hand kind.IKEA apparently hires an outsourced company called ARTBUILD to manage its kitchen installations.
ARTBUILD is run by a boss named Li Daifeng and 2 very hardworking employees in a small office in IKEA . I am not going to name and shame the other 2 cos they are really really nice people and are clearly overworked folks who didn’t piss me off. Can’t say the same for Li Daifeng though, will get more to that monkey later.
6) Illogical operational flow.
Imagine after paying for your kitchen , you should know the measurements and the work that is supposed to be done immediately right? after all what did you pay for when they did your ‘site measurement’ ? you know that the kitchen is maybe 20ft and it would cost $30 per foot run etc. I thought that I could immediately make payment and book an installation date but no , I was asked to return home first and come back again in a couple of days to make payment when they eventually emailed me the quotation.
7) Shocker Number two! – Nobody told me about the date change!
ONE day before the supposed kitchen installation date, I received word that my father had passed away in Bangkok. So I flew down immediately with Sarah and my sister. My future in-laws very kindly applied & took leave to oversee the installation and open the door for artbuild. When I reached Bangkok in the late afternoon, my gut feeling told me better call and confirm everything for the installation tomorrow.
So I did and surprise surprise , the staff told me that daifeng (boss) had conveniently decided to push my installation date 1 day later but forgot to inform me. She apologized wholeheartedly and I accepted it even though it was real fucked up thing to do. (would you have accepted it if your wedding venue decided to push your booking one day later and not inform you?)
I took the heat and apologized wholeheartedly as well to my future in-laws for their wasted time & effort.
8) Shocker number three! – IKEA screwed up my kitchen measurements
The next day came and installation went on with Sarah’s mummy supervising the installation when
The kitchen cabinets were miscalculated by IKEA and now the hood of the stove could not fit in! and even if it did, it couldn’t line up properly with the stove! This wasn’t what we signed up for! It was the fucking ENTRANCE to the gates of hell when I saw what the picture of the hood and stove misalignment. It’s not like a customized cabinet when you can suka suka move the stove, cos IKEA builds its kitchen by the cabinets , you can only put in within the constraints of 1 cabinet length and not in between 2 cabinets.
**update: we had to make another trip to ikea and we spent about 3 hours sorting it out with the kind ikea consultant. Who offered 50% off to purchase the necessary filler boards and a slightly longer cabinet to make the hob fit in and align correctly with the stove. She was patient and nice and I love her to bits even though she screwed up the measurements. Point to note , she was sorting it out together with us , even till 10.30pm at night! I appreciated it even though it was illogical that we had to PAY MORE MONEY to rectify their mistake!
9) Enough shockers! – BUT There’s ANOTHER 2 companies involved in this entire process!
Concurrently, I also realized that there is a 3rd contractor Involved! Called luxx newhouse who is in charge of the solid top installation. Who would take a couple of days to arrange a measurement date followed by another 1-2 weeks to install the solid top before I had to contact artbuild again to come down to install the hood and hob I had purchased from IKEA. The whole reason why I was convinced to purchase the hob and hood from ikea is because they claimed it would safe and easier for them to install it under one roof. Lo and behold, my worst nightmare came true.
the 4th company involved is of course, whirlpool. The Ikea agent that sells the hob and hood on behalf of IKEA. so far no problems with them but imagine the inconvenience of having to go through so many people for a simple job!
10) Why call yourselves ARTBUILD when the only thing you can build is really… well.. nothing.
LO AND BEHOLD installers from artbuild came about 4 days later to fix in the new cabinet and also said that no way it hell the filler-boards can be installed in. which means the wall would still have the gap there even though the IKEA consultant says that it could be filled up. I don’t know who is telling the truth now really.
It was also then that I realized that the electricity was not connected up to the hood. I called Sarah (I was out for a shoot) who informed me that artbuild received no instruction from me to do electrical work when in fact
Despite at least 4 separate occasions AFTER the site measurement, including one email to daifeng to let them know that the power point for the hob is situated far away. To which he emailed to say that a casing would be needed to connect up the wiring. Daifeng told Sarah that it was my fault for not informing them that an electrician would be needed to install it. thus they did not arrange it and new charges would be needed to arrange for a separate day for an electrician to come down
Artbuild also decides to charge me $75 to $85 plus a $40 transport ($125) charge to fix up the casing separately. During this time, he insists that I signed on the dotted line to say that the installations only cover x and y and doesn’t cover the simple electrical job. Which is true to my full understanding.
Which made me realize hard that they’ve been skirting this issue the whole time that i was there and told each of them upteen times of the electrical work. They just didn’t seem to want to do it and hoped that i would overlook it.
I reminded him that we have had several conversations together about the electrical point over the phone as well as in emails as I had repeated asked for it to be connected up (i had simply assumed that it would be connected up for us since we are being charged for the hob and hood installation right? and that maybe his guys would only be able to tell after they had installed the kitchen where exactly the power points are etc .
Whats the point of pa ying $40 for a site measurement or paying for contractors to install a kitchen and then leave it there without power or any mention of it? Am I going to find out that there is no electricity connected to it when I start cooking? he claims he doesn’t recall. I wonder if he can recall anything that isn’t stapled to his shirt by his mummy before he leaves the house every morning.
11) I’m sorry, say what??
Although it was a very sensitive discussion as I was very angry with everything that has been going on since day 1. I maintained my composure & stand when I expressed how unhappy that I had to pay the $40 charge . I was polite, didn’t raise my voice and I’m not like one of those little kids making a ruckus out to get a freebie or two ( I didn’t mind paying the clearly overpriced $75-$85) and told him it was just very very unfair to charge me more money to come back and finish the work properly.
I asked daifeng to really reconsider his stand on this , after all I just want my simple kitchen to be done up properly and nicely and it’s not my fault in any way that his guys had to come down twice to do it properly but somehow his stand is that it is my responsibility and me being picky that’s why his guys had to come down again at his income loss
12) You called my kitchen a shit JOB??
I was very taken aback when he referred to my kitchen as a shit job. $40 is not a lot of money but it’s still money and I absolutely hate the idea of giving it away unfairly.
I was clearly at a loss on what to do and very very upset. I’m quite proud of my new first home and to have someone refer to it as a shit job must really be a special child of God not to his limbs amputed by a bunch of wild dogs . Being a fair man who fully empathized with a hard role of dealing with customers who may be difficult, I still tried to be patient and asked him.
” Mr Li, I do you would take some to reconsider what you are asking me to accept. you’re asking me to accept that Its my fault that i’m getting a crappy job and to pay for this mistake”
” Mr Ng, our stand is very clear. you signed on the dotted line and its all in black and white . I hope you know where I am coming from Mr Ng, I could be doing new projects but instead i’m stuck here with your shit job”
I gave daifeng some time to reconsider his statement and to make an apology for his remark when i hung up. to clarify too, I wasn’t rude in ANY way. I sat there for a long time thinking on how to rectify this situation but he never did call back. Luckily enough ,I got advice from sarahs uncle who called and offered to help us do the wiring and not to give another cent to these monkeys.
Artbuild called me the next day to arrange to take back the unused furniture which made me even more confused, why are they taking back the furniture which I paid for? They said they’d check and get back to me. At night after office hours, the ikea consultant called sarah apologize for the inconvenience and to return the unused cabinets and filler boards for a gift voucher. Artbuild called again in the morning to clarify this and after understanding the situation they said that I would need to return it myself in this case. So this means im going to lug a whole cabinet back to IKEA myself.
13) To Sum it all up!
I don’t care i’m going to lug it down so that I can throw it at someone there. Maybe it can finally be noticed that there is a customer here who has had it up to here with all the incompetency so far.
Luxx house came to measure today and would only be installing the solid top in about 2 weeks. Which brings the total count from the site measurement day to now about 2 months plus
I’m still waiting for more surprises to come but I wouldn’t be shocked at all and would find it perfectly normal if IKEA sends a couple of one eyed chimpanzees with tools to fix whats left of my kitchen and along with it , whatever hopes I had dreamed up. For eternity as I stare at this monstrosity as I prepare dishes for my dinner guests, I’d always be reminded of this shit
ARTBUILD is actually the sole reason why I’m so freaking pissed angry. Make no mistake, ARTBUILD is part of IKEA and therefore when I look at it, I look at it as IKEA who screws up since everything is purchased through them even though when things go wrong , everyone keeps insisting on passing the buck.
I can only keep my fingers crossed that everything else will go smoothly. In the meantime folks. Please spend your money elsewhere and not on IKEA kitchens. IKEA, I’ve really lost my faith in you.
I’m a very very easy going man and this is my first and possibly only negative review because you guys screwed up big time.
*** UPDATE 15/nov 14: i’ve posted twice on IKEA Singapore facebook page but they keep deleting the post. Instead of addressing my concerns, you decide to skirt the issue yet again. well done!