Don't Put Too Much Faith In Select Comfort's 20-Year Warranty

If you’re thinking of buying a Select Comfort mattress, you might want to budget in an extra $200+ every couple of years to replace the controllers that let you adjust the bed. That’s the commitment Henry seems to be stuck with. Although Select Mattress keeps telling him it’s a rare occurrence, it’s happened twice now with him with both controllers, and he’s not the only one.

What’s really upset Henry, and other customers who have complained online, is that they were sold the mattress with a 20-year warranty spiel. It’s true the mattress has a 20 year limited warranty, which means that after two years, the customer has to pay “20% plus 4% of price for each year from original purchase date” for any repairs.

Here’s what Henry’s been going through with the company’s poorly made controller/air pump units:

I purchased a model 7000 bed from Select Comfort on June 5, 2004.

July of 2006 — I noticed that the digital display on one of the 2 controls that show the “sleep number” had a missing segment on the number (the numbers are formed by combinations of 4 “lines”, any one of which can apparently disappear). It was a minor issue and I ignored it.

January 17, 2007 — the display on the control for my wife’s side of the bed now was missing so many parts of the numbers that she could no longer read the numbers and the controller on my side was nearly as bad. I called Select Comfort and suggested that we got a defective unit and asked for a replacement. It turns out they made them so you have to replace not only the controls, but also the pump. They said it was past the 2 year free period (it started going bad a month after that), and that I would have to pay $133.42 (prorated). They said it was a rare problem. I paid. I assumed my new unit would have the same full warranty.

February, 2009 — both the digital displays on our bed started to have problems again. Note that this was almost precisely the same amount of time as before (25 months).

As of 2 weeks ago, both our controls are unreadable and my wife’s unit does not properly inflate her side of the bed. I called Select Comfort and they repeated the same line — this is a rare problem. The prorated cost this time would be $220 plus tax and shipping. I was angry and did not agree to pay.

July 11, 2009 — I did an internet search to see if I was alone with this problem. I discovered many other people are having the same problem and that Select Comfort has not acknowledged any problem.

I called Select Comfort back and asked for a supervisor. I spoke to “AJ”. He repeated the same party line — that this was a rare problem, not a pervasive defect and that all the company would do would be to follow the terms of the warranty and I would have to pay $220 plus tax and shipping for a new unit.

I pointed out that I could not afford to spend this kind of money on my bed every 2 years and that I thought a digital control should be able to take being used more than 20-30 times (we do not adjust or check our bed using the control more than once every week or two). Plus, it was not just one, but both our controls each time that had gone bad. Did he not think that was defective merchandise and that the company should help out? He said what the company would do is honor its warranty and that I had to pay the money. I told him “good day” and said I would pass the word that it was very expensive to own a sleep number bed.

I don’t know how you feel on this but I feel ripped off. The bed cost us thousands of dollars, far more than a new mattress set. To then have to pay hundreds more every couple of years seems not to fit what they are advertising… specially when the dealer showrooms emphasize not having to worry because there is a 20 year warranty. Perhaps it would be worth warning other customers. Feel free to check for yourself online. You will find others like me. I think Select Comfort should recognize they have used faulty parts and offer free replacement to those like me who have had them fail. At the very least, they should cover the costs after the first one is replaced!

We found similar complaints from angry customers at ConsumerAffairs.com and epinions.com. It seems some people just don’t find them comfortable, or say they’re just expensive (but cheaply made) air mattresses with foam covers, but one recurring complaint is that customers are told they’re covered by a 20 year warranty and are unpleasantly surprised to find out that they’re going to have to start paying for repairs after 2 years. Here are some quotes we pulled from those complaints:

“Now after 2 years and 1 month, the LCD displays on the controls, which show the the bed or mattress pressure, have disappeared. Select Comfort is very stern in saying ‘no exceptions’ to their two year warranty.”

* * *

“The pump for our Select Comfort Mattress stopped working for the second time a few days ago. The first time it was replaced, but 1 1/2 years later the new one is also defective and I was told that even though it is only 1 1/2 years old it goes by the original date of the bed purchase (2002)and I would have to pay 48% of the cost to replace it, which is absurd.”

* * *

“Just after 2 yr warranty expired, my pump and hand held remote failed. Now just after two years, I am expected to “pump” more money into my mattress that I paid 1500 for.”

* * *

“My pump is bad and now I have to pay the prorated price. I was told the new pump would only have a 30 day warranty!”

* * *

“We purchased a Sleep Number Bed Model 5000 and had problems with the air pump within the first month. Which they exchanged free of charge. Less than two years later the pump has had the same failure. Their customer service department has said that this particular pump has had problems and that they are moving all replacement pump customers up to a new wireless model due to the wired units failing. The new pump is costing me 132 dollars to replace with a 30 day warranty and Chad stated that if it goes bad after 30 days I have to buy another one at that same cost.”

* * *

“I also had to e-mail select comfort to exchange the foundation of my mom’s bed because this newer plastic frame was breaking at the spots that lock it together and the panels where starting to come apart. I feel bad because I am the one that recommended the Select Comfort bed to her. As for me, the last response from select comfort was that my bed is now pro rated @ 70% and it will cost me $120 plus tax and shipping to get the new and improved foundation sent to me.”

The lesson here: never take a salesperson at his word on what the warranty covers. Always ask for a copy of it first so you can read the fine print, and if necessary ask him to leave you alone while you read it so you’re not distracted. And take Select Comfort’s commitment to customer service with a grain of salt, because they don’t seem to be the type of company to go above and beyond when customers repeatedly suffer from manufacturing defects.

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