Pottery Barn delivers furniture before house is built

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The stress of buying furniture may be matched only by the stress of having it delivered. The right time, the right care, and - the right place?

A Bay Area resident Cecilia Richardson who was moving 1000 miles away to Montana, tried to control all of that. But then, there's the fact so much that can go wrong.

"I was shocked and surprised because I had no idea any of this was happening,'' she recalls.

Richardson was building her own home on 40 acres in rural Montana, a sweeping view of the Mission Hills Mountain Range in her back yard. She had designed the home, hired her crew and ordered all the furniture ahead of time, from the Pottery Barn in Palo Alto.

She had arranged to have the furniture delivered after the house was completed, with "white glove service" that included special care and professional assembly.

"I was living in a trailer on my driveway,'' Richardson says, recounting her days roughing it on her vacant land while overseeing the construction. Everything was going well, until last May. The house was about half done. She got a call out of the blue.

"It was Pottery Barn, The delivery of furniture was here. This was at 9 o'clock at night, Mountain Time."

But, the house didn't exist yet. It was still under construction. Bulldozers and dirt piles surrounded her skeletal house. There was no power, no lights, just her iphone flashlight.

The crew arrived anyway, and in the dim light of her iphone, deposited $20,000 worth of furniture in her unfinished garage - it had only a roof and two walls.

"It sat there for months while the house was still under construction,'' she says. "It ruined the upholstery of the couch and none of the other furniture was assembled, just all in boxes."

When the house was finished she had to hire her own crew to bring in the furniture and assemble it. She was left with a bill for the extra labor and a damaged couch.

Richardson tried contacting the sales person who sold her all the furniture. She was promised immediate help - but says no one came through.

She contacted 7 On Your Side and ABC 7 reached out to Pottery Barn's parent company, Williams Sonoma. It delivered her a new couch, paid for the extra labor costs, and sent gifts and appliances for her troubles.

The company said: "We at Pottery Barn, are committed to providing our customers with premier services, and are disappointed that Ms. Richardson's experience did not meet our standards. We have been in contact with Ms. Richardson and have apologized for her experience and are working to make sure she is well taken care of as one of our valued customers. We take great pride in taking care of our customers and hope that we have addressed the concerns to her satisfaction and restored her confidence in our company. "

"Thank you very much, or it wouldn't have happened.''

Takeaway: You don't have to accept delivery of merchandise if there is a problem with it. Richardson likely could have turned the delivery truck away-but says all's well in the end.

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