Consumer NZ is warning retailers that it is unreasonable to be made to wait months for products without warning after an Auckland woman's new sofa still hasn't been delivered four months after she paid for it.
Elinor Dallow, 36, spent almost $3000 dollars on a new Freedom corner sofa at the beginning of August but four months on is still waiting for it to arrive, leaving her with only her floor to sit on.
At this point she has been told it won't be arriving until the end of December - but there are still no guarantees it won't be further delayed.
Freedom says the delays are out of their hands and are due to the ongoing global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting global supply chains across the retail industry being made even worse by capacity congestion at local ports.
Dallow, who has two children and is eight months pregnant with her third, said when she first ordered her dream sofa at the Westgate store in August she was not told the sofa would not arrive until October until after she had swiped her card.
But when she called in October to find out where it was she had been told another two weeks and then another two weeks.
When she chased Freedom again on Monday and told them she planned to make a complaint under the Consumer Guarantees Act they offered to give her a refund. But Dallow said she didn't want a refund - just something to sit on before her baby arrived in mid-December.
The couple moved into a new house earlier this year and decided to get new furniture at the same time so for four months had nothing to sit on.
Dallow believes she is not the only Freedom customer facing long delays.
"Freedom are not advertising this delay and continue to take people's money. They blame issues at the ports and Covid but it's simply not true as other stores aren't experiencing this issue.
"I feel New Zealanders have a right to know this as the store continues to advertise sales on TV without disclosing this hideous delay of four or six months."
Dallow said to make matters worse she saw the same sofa was $500 cheaper but the store has refused to refund her the difference.
Her work mate had also ordered the exact same sofa from a different branch a month after her and received it two weeks ago.
"I told the manager that unfortunately I don't buy the idea that this is a shipping issue, I think this is misallocation and incompetent because my friend bought hers one month after us and here is a photo of it in her house."
Her and her husband had also begged to take a floor model - but were also refused.
"They said 'no, we need it for other customers so we can sell it' - but we were like 'you don't have it to sell. You are just tricking more people with it.' It's just a yucky situation really."
Freedom NZ managing director Debbie Ridling said not all customer orders were impacted and the retailer also aimed to hold stock of many of its key ranges so these were not delayed.
Many of its made-to-order sofas had a lead time of 12 to 16 weeks and the current issues with shipping were adding an additional four weeks onto this before they arrived into NZ.
Ridling said some of the delays became apparent after customers placed their orders and staff were now making every attempt to contact those customers. It had also revised its quoted lead times to reflect the global shipping delays.
"We also have put in place notices of shipping delays at our counters in-store and on our website for general awareness."
Customers who did not want to wait had the right to cancel and receive a full refund.
Consumer NZ head of research Jessica Wilson said retailers needed to be upfront if there was going to be a delay in getting a product to you.
"If they give you a time frame and don't meet it or can't actually give you a date when your order will be available by then you would probably have grounds to cancel and get a refund."
If the retailers was also delivering the item then under the Consumers Guarantees Act it needed to be within the agreed time or if not agreed within a reasonable time.
Consumers would generally expect a few weeks for a big item but not months and months, she said.