Post Your Problems / Lawrence Walsh: She got a new box spring complete with stink bugs

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Hey ladies, what did you get for Valentine’s Day?

A romantic card, a box of candy, a bouquet of flowers?

How about two stink bugs trapped inside the sealed plastic cover of a new box spring?

It’s certainly not what Shawna Williams expected when she had to miss a day of work to wait for the delivery of the box spring, a mattress, headboard and carpet from Home Décor Liquidators in the Strip District.

It turned out Ms. Williams, an office assistant for the Pittsburgh Housing Authority, could have gone to work that day. The delivery truck didn’t show up at her North Side apartment until 8:45 p.m.

After the truck driver and his helper left, Ms. Williams spotted the stink bugs, one of which was alive. She called the store but it was closed. She called the next morning, a Saturday, and said she wanted the buggy box spring replaced with a bug-free model.

You might think the store would apologize for its failure to deliver a bug-free box spring and its failure to inspect the box spring before it left the store. You also might think it would offer to replace it with a box spring of equal or better value, especially when its corporate Website said it “is committed to customer satisfaction.”

But, in this case, you would be wrong.

Ms. Williams said the manager, who identified himself as Ryan but refused to provide his last name, refused to replace the box spring.

“He told me he was from down south and didn’t know what stink bugs were,” she said. “He said the company doesn’t have stink bugs and that’s why it couldn’t replace the box spring.”

She said she was pleased when Ryan called back about 20 minutes later and said he would replace the box spring with a better one. But, when nine hours passed with no word from Ryan about a delivery time, she called him.

“His whole attitude had changed,” she said. “He said he was doing me a favor because company policy is not to replace such things. I told him the stink bugs are sealed inside the plastic cover and had to be sealed in there prior to delivery.

“Ryan said he would deliver a new box spring on Sunday (the following day) or Monday. He said if I complained to (corporate headquarters in Johns Creek, GA), he would not exchange it.”

She reminded him that she had no box spring for her new mattress and that she had lost a day of work waiting all day for her new items. She said Ryan told her he would send it out immediately and that it would cost her another $120 - $80 for the delivery charge and $10 for each of four flights of stairs up to her apartment.

When the box spring didn’t arrive on Monday, she called company headquarters. She said a customer service representative told her the company doesn’t replace box springs. “[He said] he would contact the factory to see if it had a stink bug problem.”

“All I want is for them to take the infested box spring away and give me another one,” she said. “I don’t want to risk infesting my apartment. If I take the plastic off, there may be more stink bugs in there. I spent $1,000 with them and did not get what I paid for.”

I called the store. Ryan answered, but said he was “too busy to talk. I’m just swamped. We are extremely busy. You’ll have to talk with corporate about this.”

I called the company and spoke to Dan Shaw, the customer service manager. He said he was familiar with Ms. Williams’ problem.

“It’s not that big of an issue,” he said. “Trust me, I’ve had people who have freaked out over lady bugs. Obviously, we don’t want bugs of any kind in or on any of our products. The stink bugs somehow, some way, snuck into the box springs delivered to Ms. Williams.

“We will rectify this situation immediately. We will check our inventory of box springs to make sure there are no stink bugs in them and make arrangements to have one delivered to her.”

I’ll keep you posted.


Lawrence Walsh can be reached at pyp@post-gazette.com and 412-263-1488. Please include your day, evening and/or cell phone number(s). Due to volume, he cannot respond to every email or phone call.

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