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Office Furniture

We had a pretty bad experience to get our office furniture for the new Spill Group Asia office. The desks and chairs were ordered through a furniture factory in Hangzhou. I have used this factory before when ordering furniture for another office, and they make good quality products and are very reasonably priced. For 2 big desks, 6 cubicle desks with dividers, one reception desk, 8 office chairs, a small meeting table with 3 normal chairs, and 8 sets of drawers we managed to negotiate a price of about EUR 2500.

The sales person of the factory came to our former office in mid-March to take our orders, and we paid him EUR 1000 in advance. The goods were supposed to be delivered when we moved into our office early April, but they were not finished on time. I was not too happy with that, but we managed to borrow some other furniture from Jiaotong University, and it would just be for a few days.

But it took longer than that: we called the sales person each day, and each day he said the furniture would be delivered the next day. But always something came up why he could not deliver. After several days of going back and forth with him I got a bit suspicious, because this was not normal anymore. So we finally called the factory owner. He was very surprised, because the sales guy had been fired several months ago……

Oops, it seemed we had a problem. I suspected the guy tried to run off with the money, or at least had used it for something else. But luckily we found out his home address through a friend, so if worst would come to worst there would always be an (unpleasant) solution. We called him again on his mobile and confronted him with what we found out. He tried to talk himself out of it, but that did not really work. But he still promised to deliver the goods to us.

From the factory we then found out that he placed the order on April 10, more than a week after the furniture was supposed to be delivered. He probably got scared because of our many phone calls. But the factory told us he did not give them the deposit, so they would not deliver to us. Many days of fights over the phone followed, but we could not find a solution. Being without furniture for a few days is OK, but after a few weeks it becomes a serious problem, so we started to put more pressure on them.

On Sunday the sales person suddenly did not pick up his mobile phone anymore. The factory could also not reach him. At that point it was clear to me we had to get the police involved and start a court case. We wrote an SMS to the sales person about this on Sunday night, and told him if he did not contact us by Monday 10 AM we would go to the police.

And that worked: Monday he called us and promised to deliver everything that same day. I did not believe it anymore, but at 10 PM an open truck with all our furniture arrived at our office! The sales person himself even showed up, and pretended that nothing had happened. All the furniture was put together and after that, around 3 AM (!), we decided to get back at him by re-negotiating the price. After lots of shouting and haggling we agreed on a price at around 4 AM.

However, we were told by the factory not to give him the money, but to give it to the driver. This made the sales person extremely angry, and he called the factory owner and the head of sales of the factory (they both answered their calls at this time as if it was the most normal thing in the world). But they did not change their minds, so the ex-sales person had a huge loss of face in front of all of us. That gave me a good feeling. All staff had stayed in the office to avoid that things would turn violent, and to help with the negotiations. Luckily there was no fight (except for loud verbal communication), and we all could go home around 4:30 AM to catch a few hours of sleep.

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