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FRANCE

Ikea ‘spied’ on angry customers: report

Shortly after allegations that it had been snooping on its staff, Swedish furniture giant Ikea in France is in hot water again, this time accused of spying on dissatisfied customers, prompting a police search at the company's French headquarters.

Ikea 'spied' on angry customers: report

“No company has ever treated us so badly,” wrote a woman known as Hanna F. in a letter of complaint to Ikea, French website Mediapart reveals. Hanna had bought a kitchen and beds for her country house at an Ikea store in Evry, in the outskirts of Paris.

Ikea delivered the items two months after the agreed date, meaning Hanna and her family had to stay in a bed and breakfast near their home in the French department of Finistère.

Hanna wrote a letter of complaint to Ikea asking for a refund of the extra cost. But what Hanna did not suspect was that the company then allegedly started an investigation into her background.

According to Mediapart, Ikea contacted a private detective to find out details about the dissatisfied customer.

Ikea allegedly investigated another client known as Jérôme P., a real estate agent, who complained about a faulty wardrobe he had bought.

On Friday, French police searched the headquarters of the company in France and the home of the employee responsible for Ikea’s risk management policy, following allegations of illegal surveillance.

Employees working for Ikea have previously filed a complaint against the company for allegedly spying on employees.

The management of the company in France said it was taking the accusations “very seriously”.

“The respect of privacy is amongst the most strongly held values of the group and we strongly disapprove of any actions which call that into question,” the company said in a statement.

The Local France

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IKEA

Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price

In the run-up to what would in normal times be the festive season sales rush, Ikea has vowed to buy back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price
Got any pieces of Ikea furniture at home? You may be able to get rid of it and get money back. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Ikea, the world's largest furniture chain, said Tuesday it would begin buying back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

The “Buy Back Friday” scheme, timed to coincide with the “Black Friday” pre-Christmas retail frenzy, will run from November 24th and until December 3rd in 27 countries.

“Rather than buy things you don't need this Black Friday, we want to help customers give their furniture a second life instead of making an impulse buy,” said Stefan Vanoverbeke, deputy retail operations manager at Ingka Group, Ikea's parent company.

To address concerns its affordable, flat-pack products encourage overconsumption and waste, the Swedish company had previously said it would start renting and recycling furniture as part of an eco-drive.

Under its buyback scheme, the group said that “anything that can't be resold will be recycled or donated to community projects to help those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“Some countries like Australia and Canada for example are currently testing different buyback services, but BuyBack Friday will be the first time that 27 countries do this together,” the statement added.

The Swedish giant employs over 217,000 people and has more than 50 outlets. Its annual turnover is around 40 billion euros ($46 billion).

The group did not specify how it would determine the price paid for second-hand furniture and customers will receive a voucher, not cash, for their products.  

As part of efforts to reduce waste, Ikea has already begun repairing and re-packaging products in every store that have been damaged in transit, as well as allowing customers to return products – including furniture – for resale or donation to charities.

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