Can Only Return Mattresses If Lump Is Bigger Than 1.5"

Buying a mattress is a confusing and dark art, but just try to return one. One family got a $2,500 Stearns and Foster mattress that had a hand-width-sized lump running from top to bottom. It was uncomfortable. Initially Sealy refused to accept the return, because the lump was not deeper than 1.5 inches. Their’s was only 1 and a quarter. What a weird rule, right?

The couple ended up complaining to the NYT’s Haggler columnist and after he prodded the company sufficiently for an answer, they decided to make an exception and replaced the mattress. Hoo-rah for threats of public humiliation.

For tips on buying a mattress, check out this Consumer Reports guide.

The Strange Return Policies at Mattress Companies [NYT]

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  1. chefboyardee says:

    *Theirs

  2. RickinStHelen says:

    Blame it on that darned princess and her Pea

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    If the lump was actually 3 inches deep, Sealy would have said it needs to be at least 3 and a quarter inches or deeper. HUZZAH for making up fake return policies and thank goodness they didn’t buy a new car from them.

    • He says:

      The exact measurements were disclosed to us when we bought our king size stearns and foster mattress (at sears of all horrible places). I guess we got a good salesperson.

      And it wouldn’t be that hard to leave an encyclopedia on it for a few weeks to get a qualifying defect if you’re really desperate and can live with yourself.

    • Julia789 says:

      Our Sleepy’s mattress came with a brochure stating how deep the measurement had to be for a return under warranty (see my comment below.) It was odd, but they were at least very up front about it. It was in the sales contract we signed as well.

    • SabreDC says:

      Except the Sealy/Stearns and Foster website clearly mentions that a mattress with “indentations or sagging (not associated with sag in foundation) of less than 1½” for Latex or Innerspring mattresses, or less than 3/4″ for Memory Foam mattresses, IS NOT COVERED.”

      It’s not as though they made up the 1.5 inch requirement on the spot, that’s their published requirement.

  4. Julia789 says:

    Oh all those companies do this. My Sleepy’s mattress came with a brochure about the “difference between body impressions and a sagging mattress” and a large warning that you cannot return a mattress for what they consider “body impressions” in soft materials.

    It said “Today’s new soft materials leave a body impression, this is not the same as a sagging mattress and not a legitimate cause for return.” It said anything below 1.5 inches or 2 inches (something like that) would be considered sagging and allowed to be returned for an exchange or refund.

    I don’t think mattresses should leave big people-size dents in them and be considered normal.

    • GrayMatter says:

      Well, actually they are talking about all the extra padding they are adding to the top of the mattress to make it more “luxurious”. This stuff is basically the same as the fluffed up fibers you find in some furniture, and this is what packs down.

      So, the mattress itself might not be sagging.

      (Save your money and buy the same mattress without the extra stuffing. After a short while that is what you are sleeping on, anyhoo!!)

      • Julia789 says:

        I was thinking that too (all the extra pillow top padding shifts around) so I bought a regular firm mattress, and added a soft 2-inch foam “topper” to it.

        If that soft topper smooshes or shifts after a couple of years, I can easily get another king size topper it for a hundred bucks or so.

    • Julia789 says:

      As I read the linked article, I noticed they mentioned that the lump was there even *before* they started sleeping on it. They figured the lump would settle in so they waited to complain.

      I wonder if that is because this is one of those “split mattresses” with a different softness or hardness on each side for couples with different preferences, and that lump was the middle area where it’s joined together?

  5. OnePumpChump says:

    You can only return your mattress if it has 8 or more dead pixels.

  6. Macgyver says:

    If they noticed the lump as soon as they got it, then why did they use it for a couple months?

    • hoi-polloi says:

      In the linked article the family said they thought it would settle. They gave it a couple months, but there was no improvement. If the bed isn’t comfortable and defect-free from the outset, I’m not interested.

  7. Bativac says:

    I need tips on buying a mattress but the link asks me to subscribe or register or something.

    So I’ll ask the hivemind. Are two thousand dollar mattresses really that much better than $699 mattresses from Costco?

    • Xenotype51 says:

      I’ve owned a couple of Costco mattresses and they all seemed fine to me (plus I prefer not to support the commission-style business model). I heard somewhere that people who buy expensive mattresses like Tempur-pedics and the like tend to be happier with their mattresses. If you get one without any major defects then you probably wont notice the difference between a Costco mattress and one of similar construction that costs a couple grand more.

      • Bativac says:

        That is what I was looking for. My current mattress was my brother’s when I was in high school. I graduated 13 years ago so I have a feeling there are college students who are older than this mattress. Given that, anything is probably going to feel like an upgrade.

        I’m with you on being anti-commission.

    • delicatedisarray says:

      I bought a $500 mattress from this random store down the street from my house. It’s super comfy, pillow topped, and has a good warranty. They delivered for free and hauled off my old one for free. I haven’t slept on a $2,000 mattress, maybe it is amazing, but my $500 has suited my sleeping needs just fine.

    • SabreDC says:

      I never had a Costco mattress, so I can’t really speak to those. But I do have a Tempurpedic memory foam mattress and I absolutely love it. They’re not for everyone so people may have complaints, but I get a good night’s sleep on it.

    • cristiana says:

      I bought the $600 queen size memory foam mattress from Costco, and it is the most comfortable mattress I have ever used.

    • DewBerry says:

      My $400 king size from Ikea is fine. 90 day no-questions asked return policy too. I can’t imagine paying $2500.

    • kmarple1 says:

      I recently picked up a queen-sized Tempur-Pedic, and I have yet to regret spending more on it. It’s the best mattress I’ve slept on, by a long shot. As for the $2000 traditional mattresses, those I can’t speak for.

    • EcPercy says:

      You should go to one of the Original Mattress Factories if you have one around you.

      http://www.originalmattress.com/

      I went there last time I bought a mattress and was amazed at the poor quality of the so called “name brand” mattresses. They had cut away models of some of the most popular mattresses and you could see that even the $2500 mattress used the cheapest materials they could find.

      Also, don’t ever fall for the no flip or never turn mattresses. This is another gimmick. They don’t put the materials on the other side of the mattress so you can’t flip it… but it saves the manufacturer money because they don’t have to put any material on the other side and it will wear out faster bringing you back to get another one.

      If I remember correctly I was able to pick up a pillowtop queen box spring and mattress set for under $700 and have it delivered. They also have a flip reminder you can set yourself up with on their site so that you get the most out of your mattress. Their mattresses have the same materials on both sides so you can turn and flip the mattress.

      Oh and the mattress was the nicest one I have ever owned. :D

    • whitecat says:

      I ordered my mattress set online from Costco without even trying it. They delivered it for free, removed my old set to the alley, and installed the new one. All for free. If I’d had a problem, they would have come and picked it up for return and refund, for free. It’s a great mattress and a great deal. I’ve had it for almost three years. I couldn’t be more pleased.

  8. ArizonaGeek says:

    Next time get a Select Comfort!

    • redbess says:

      If you like sleeping on a glorified air mattress, get a Sleep Number (by Select Comfort) bed. Worst purchase ever.

  9. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    That’s standard, We had similar issue and the mattress store rep. came out to the house with a measuring tape. Claimed it was within tolerances.

  10. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    It’s really not a “weird rule”… every company that makes goods like this has to set a limit somewhere as to what constitutes “defective” and what is “within normal tolerances”. It’s a little arbitrary, and probably more generous to the manufacturer than it should be… but it’s not weird, IMHO.

  11. Hi_Hello says:

    i think the whole mattress stuff is a scam.

  12. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    The warranty on my mattress is 3/4″, but the paperwork at the mattress store said 1.5 inches unless Tempurpedic, then 3/4″.

    The sales person went through all of this and had us initial.

    This was targeted at the sagging mattress and body impressions, I wouldn’t have expected it to apply to a lump though. Clearly a defect.

  13. ellemdee says:

    Mattress companies proudly tout their warranties, but then make the rules for what qualifies for warranty replacement so restrictive that they know people won’t qualify. A friend’s mattress sagged so bad in the middle not long after purchase that two people sleeping in the same bed would pretty much roll into each other. The mattress company sent someone out with a long straight edge/yardstick that he pressed down into the bed and then measured the deepest depression from the bottom edge of the yardstick. There was some ridiculous multi-inch requirement before they’d consider it defective and whaddayaknow, their mattress didn’t sag quite enough to qualify.

  14. Rachacha says:

    I had a similar thing with a mattress purchase where the mattress was sagging less than 1 year after purchase. I called the company up, and they sent someone out to take a measurement. I knew about the 1.5″ rule, and we were right on the edge, so I made sure that I jumped really hard on the bed right before the company rep showed up, and allowed the kids to jump on the mattress all morning. I came in at 1.52″ so I was good for a replacement.

  15. wild7s says:

    1.5″ is the mattress warranty standard, any stole which sells mattresses will inform their customer of that. It’s shitty, but true. Next time, buy a foam mattress, the standard warranty is half of that.

  16. hammond egger says:

    I was lost after the $2500 for a mattress part.

  17. Scorps1 says:

    I work for a retailer who sells, among other things, mattresses. The best mattress for you is the one you can lie on for awhile and it feels the most comfortable… doesn’t matter what the price is and quite honestly I don’t know why someone would shell out 4k for a mattress.

    If you have your bed delivered inspect it carefully and assuming the delivery company sets it up, lie on it BEFORE you sign for it. If you don’t like it send it back. If it has a cosmetic flaw call the retailer and perhaps they will make you a deal on the spot to keep it. (remember you cover it with a sheet).

    While mattresses are a small part of what we sell we only have a warranty issue every couple of years. It just isn’t that common. One critical thing to remember besides keeping your receipt is to NOT remove the law tags on the mattress. While it is not illegal for you to do so, for several mattress companies it will void your warranty.

    And yes, check out the mattresses at the warehouse clubs. Never expect to be able to compare mattresses based on the “name” the manufacturer assigns. They tend to change the names for each retailer to make price comparisons more difficult.

  18. BoredOOMM says:

    We paid almost as much from a local crook retailer. He KNEW because he delivered the set that we opted to NOT take the frame. When we complained 4 months later that the bed was not what we expected for almost $3 Grand, they sent an inspector out. Since it was not on a frame, and not on a raise platform (yes they said a platform would have been fine) they said our 10 year warranty was voided.

    8 years later I am going to get a $700 Costco set when they are $100 off and sleep well again.

  19. BurtReynolds says:

    I used to work at a service dept. that did furniture repair and our techs would do mattress warranty evaluations. The 1.5″ rule isn’t “wierd”, its just the standard Sealy sets for what “normal” variations are. This threshold is pretty standard in the industry.

  20. StanDirko says:

    If I am not mistaken, I believe I have seen billboards throughout the country for Holiday Inn having Tempurpedic in all rooms. If you want to try one, take a mini vacation for a night or two and give one a shot. Personally, I can sleep just about anywhere, so no matter to me. I am one of the lucky few, I guess.

  21. ousterj says:

    We bought a foam mattress from CostCo mainly because of CostCo’s unconditional satisfaction guarantee on everything. CostCo has always given us great customer service. So far the mattress is great too.

  22. tinyangel says:

    I had to return a 2 year old pillow top mattress last year because the entire mattress was collapsing to one side by 5-6 inches and had severe lumps/valleys in it. (and, no, we are not huge people). The first question CS asked was “is there any stains on the mattress”? “What does this have to do with structural integrity?” was my question. She informed me there is a little known clause that if the service tech finds any mark or stain, no matter how faint, it will automatically void the warranty. I always use a mattress pad along with the rest of my linens but you can be sure I inspected that mattress with a magnifying glass and light before my appointment.

    They did replace the mattress but I had to pay the $75 delivery charge. But here it is a year later and the top is again lumpy and starting to lean to one side again. :(

  23. tinyangel says:

    I had to return a 2 year old pillow top mattress last year because the entire mattress was collapsing to one side by 5-6 inches and had severe lumps/valleys in it. (and, no, we are not huge people). The first question CS asked was “is there any stains on the mattress”? “What does this have to do with structural integrity?” was my question. She informed me there is a little known clause that if the service tech finds any mark or stain, no matter how faint, it will automatically void the warranty. I always use a mattress pad along with the rest of my linens but you can be sure I inspected that mattress with a magnifying glass and light before my appointment.

    They did replace the mattress but I had to pay the $75 delivery charge. But here it is a year later and the top is again lumpy and starting to lean to one side again. :(

  24. AllanG54 says:

    So…how can a lump be “deeper?” I would think a lump would be more convex than concave. If it was concave then maybe it would be a trench or a depression but I don’t think “lump” would be the correct term.

  25. mamacat49 says:

    Costco FTW. I bought a memory foam type mattress from them; had it 6 months and returned it, no questions asked and got a full refund.