As-is items from IKEA carry the possibility of problems. Here are some questions to ask before you buy.
BUYER BEWARE | For years, although I popped into IKEA’s as-is section every time I visited the store, all I’d ever bought was a $10 lamp. Then recently I came across a Karlstad corner sofa in Isunda grey (like the one pictured above), usually $1,199, for $899. I had been thinking about buying a sectional for some time but never did anything about it. Now here was the very one I’d been eyeing for $300 off.
I asked why it was as-is and was told it was a return. Nothing seemed amiss: no snags, tears, stains, dents or sags. The Richmond IKEA has furnished its returns waiting area with Karlstad sofas in the same slipcover and they seem to be holding up well, plus a friend of mine has bought two as-is sofas from IKEA with no problems. And there it was, assembled and ready to go. I bought it.
Here are the questions I wish I had asked.
1. What sort of warranty would it normally have? New Karlstad sofas have a 10-year limited warranty. As-is items have none, including coverage for any damage that might occur when using IKEA’s delivery service (regular-priced items that arrive damaged are picked up and exchanged at no extra cost). Since you don’t arrange delivery until after paying for the item and as-is items are final sale, by the time I found out it was too late to reconsider. The legs of my sofa, perfect when I purchased it, were nicked and scraped when they arrived.
2. Are there any tools or instructions it would be useful to have? I found out at the store that the arms of the Karlstad can be switched to change the sectional’s configuration, but when I did this I had trouble tightening the bolts attaching the arms to the seat and back. One worked loose and ground the particleboard around it to sawdust so the arm can’t be firmly attached. Eventually I downloaded the Karlstad assembly instructions from the Internet and discovered too late that there is a special tool for tightening Karlstad bolts.
3. Can you get spare parts? IKEA supplies some missing parts but will not sell a new Karlstad arm even though the sofa is sold in pieces to be assembled. The options are to hope a Karlstad arm turns up in as-is when I next happen to be there, get my carpenter to fix the arm for a minimum of $80 or buy a Karlstad chair for $299 and cannibalize it for parts—giving me two spare arms and four extra legs for the same price I originally saved by going the as-is route.
There is always a risk with as-is items—that’s why they are discounted. The question is the extent of the risk. For a $10 lamp, it’s minimal. For a sofa, next time I would pay the full $1,199 rather than risk $899 along with all the problems I’ve encountered. —Alex Moore
For more on the Karlstad sofa, visit Ikea.ca