Bamboozled February 6, 2017: Parents-to-be get the runaround – and two broken cribs

Here’s a tale of maddening customer service.

Edwin Johnson of West Orange had been struggling to get a replacement crib for his soon-to-be-born first baby, but his dealings with Babies”R”Us weren’t easy.

“Our overall experience has been the textbook definition of frustrating, and each phone call would lead to another hurdle that was not explained in the previous phone call,” Johnson said.

Johnson and his wife Eileen received the crib as a gift from Eileen’s mother, JoAnne Kirk, in October. It was delivered to their home.

The crib, a DaVinci Autumn 4-in-1 convertible model costing $229.99 plus sales tax and a $45 delivery charge, remained in the box because the baby isn’t due until Feb. 13 and the couple hadn’t yet prepared the nursery.

That work started in December, and on Dec. 15, when the room was prepped, the couple opened the box.

There was “a significant crack” along the headboard, Johnson said.

boozle-Crib8.JPG
A handwritten log of calls to Babies”R”Us as Edwin and Eileen Johnson tried to resolve their crib purchase. 

“We also noticed on the original box that the crib had been shipped to someone and returned in late June 2016,” Johnson said. “We can reasonably believe that the crib was returned damaged the first time, but for an unknown reason it was shipped back out, this time to us.”

Johnson called Babies”R”Us.

The rep, Tonya, apologized, he said, and explained she’d email Johnson a return label. Once the return was received, the company would send out a new crib, Johnson said he was told.

Twenty-four hours passed and no return label arrived.

Johnson checked with his mother-in-law, and she hadn’t received the emailed label either.

He called Babies”R”Us again, this time speaking to a rep named Marvel.

Marvel said a supervisor needed to approve the return before the label could be processed — something Tonya hadn’t mentioned — and that hadn’t happened yet, Johnson said he was told.

Marvel said he would get it done so the issue would be resolved before the holidays.

By Dec. 23, the Johnsons still hadn’t received a label, so they called again, this time talking to Kelsey.

Kelsey shared a different story, saying the company needed to speak to the purchaser to get the last four digits of the credit card used for the purchase before the return could be authorized.

“We were told that someone from another department would be contacting JoAnne Kirk to verify that information and then the return shipping label would be processed and the replacement crib would then be shipped,” Johnson said. “Apparently, someone did leave a voice mail for JoAnne but the message was garbled.”

That was Dec. 26.

Proposed legislation would ban the sale of supplemental mattresses in New Jersey.

This time Eileen Johnson called, now speaking to Wendy.

She said Babies”R”Us was still waiting for the credit card information.

“My wife asked to speak with a supervisor and was informed that there was a one-to-three hour wait for a call from a supervisor as there was high call volume,” Edwin Johnson said. “My wife asked if it could be expedited as we were trying to resolve an issue from 11 days ago at that point.”

Three hours passed and no supervisor called. In the meantime, the Johnsons got the credit card information from Eileen’s mom.

The Johnsons called Babies”R”Us again.

Latonya, another rep, asked that they allow her to try to help before going to a supervisor, and they agreed.

They gave Latonya the credit card information and after an hour on the phone, Johnson said, everything was supposed to be resolved and the shipping label was supposed to be on its way. They were hopeful because they were given a new order number.

The following day, Dec. 27, Eileen Johnson got a message from a supervisor.

She returned the call, speaking to Kimberly. Kimberly was going to transfer her, but the phone call was disconnected. Johnson called back, this time reaching Kerry, who transferred her to Deleshia.

Johnson gave Deleshia the new order number, and there was some confusion because the order was connected to a Star Wars Lego set and not a crib. After some research, the rep said there was a holdup because the credit card information was incorrect.

They went through the credit card again, and lo and behold, the couple received the email with the return shipping label.

FedEx picked up the crib on Dec. 29 and it was received by Babies”R”Us on Jan. 3, records show.

boozle-Crib4.JPG
Edwin and Eileen Johnson said the second crib they received from Babies”R”Us was damaged and had a ripped box. 

“On Jan. 4, when I went home for lunch, much to my joy, the replacement crib had arrived,” Edwin Johnson said. “My joy was quickly squashed when I noticed that one of the corners of the box had been destroyed and was replaced with another piece of cardboard that was taped to the box.”

Johnson said he opened the section with the replacement cardboard, and he saw the foam packing material was missing.

One of the crib legs had chips, cracks and scuff marks, he said.

Another damaged crib.

He contacted customer service, this time speaking to Ganessa.

Johnson requested a refund and said they’d get a crib elsewhere.

“Ganessa offered a $50 credit but then advised me that she would need to personally speak with JoAnne Kirk since she purchased the item in order to process the credit,” Johnson said. “Another phone call, another hurdle in resolving this issue.”

Johnson wasn’t able to reach Kirk right away, so that night, the couple made their tenth phone call to Babies”R”Us, speaking to Patty.

“Patty did not require any information such as credit card validation, and said she would promptly have a return label shipped emailed to us,” Johnson said.

But the shipping label was never received.

That’s when Johnson asked for Bamboozled to help.

ROCK-A-BYE BABY

We reviewed the Johnson’s timeline, call log and paperwork, and we asked Toys”R”Us, the parent of Babies”R”Us, to review the case.

A few hours later, the Johnsons got a call from Pete, a new contact.

Pete apologized and offered to be personally involved in the shipping of a replacement crib to make sure it was thoroughly inspected before shipment, Johnson said.

Johnson declined, saying he’d rather pick up a crib himself because the baby’s due date was fast approaching.

“Pete was going to process the refund for JoAnne Kirk back to her original payment method and also gave Eileen and myself a $200 gift card as a gesture to help restore our faith in the brand,” Johnson said.

The couple was told they could toss the damaged crib so there would be no more waiting for return labels.

Pete also said the company would review the situation and make any necessary changes at the call center, Johnson said.

We checked in with Toys”R”Us.

“We sincerely apologize to the customer for their experience, and this isolated issue with the customer has been completely resolved with a refund provided,” a spokeswoman said.

They’re still waiting on the refund, Johnson said, but they did receive the promised $200 gift card.

The Johnsons are considering donating the damaged crib, but they first need to determine if it’s usable.

They’ve since purchased a new one — one they could take home with them to avoid a delivery problem.

The only delivery they’re waiting for is their baby.

Have you been Bamboozled? Reach Karin Price Mueller at Bamboozled@NJAdvanceMedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @KPMueller. Find Bamboozled on Facebook. Mueller is also the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Stay informed and sign up for NJMoneyHelp.com’s weekly e-newsletter.