Question from a desperate reader: Is a new mattress considered a used mattress if it gets returned?
I'm wondering because I have been sleeping on my new Simmons Beautyrest Allegheny Extra Firm mattress for two months. I sleep ok but it is super hard and I think I would feel more comfortable if it were a bit softer.
I paid $1,400 which was more than I expected to pay but I thought I would be helping my health.
I only have a few days left to return it but they want a 15% restocking fee plus $60 pick-up fees and I do not want to spend more money but I hate this mattress.
Sorry to ask you all this but I am desperate to make a decision.
Kay G., March 7, 2015
Rich Silver’s answer:
Your dilemma is one that is common and frustrating to countless numbers of mattress buyers. You've purchased a mattress that just isn't right for you and now you are stuck facing more fees to get the darn thing returned.
In my opinion...
It's unbelievable to me that mattress sellers would take back a mattress, repackage it, restock it, and then sell this used mattress again. The big problem I have with this is when some of these hucksters try to pass these mattresses off as new. It really fries me because…
Yes, it happens. It's one of those "dirty little
secrets" of the mattress industry. I for one would not want to buy a used
mattress that I thought was new.
Sure, I’ve slept on my share of used mattresses—short-term house rentals, hotels, and visiting family or friends.
But nowadays, with the threat of bed bugs or other little critters that can crawl inside a hole in a mattress, we have to be careful bringing a used mattress into our homes.
I realize mattresses can be sanitized. I realize mattresses get dumped in landfills. I realize some people can't afford a nice, new mattress. But those are issues for another time.
My point is clear: If a mattress store is charging a restocking fee, that means they intend to restock it, as in, resell it.
So yes to your question: If your new mattress, that you slept on for two months, gets returned, it becomes a used mattress.
And if the store isn't restocking it, then why are they charging a restocking fee? See what I mean? It's a bunch of monkey business if you ask me.
That's why it’s vital to know the return policies of any mattress you buy. Read all return information carefully. Warranties too, by the way. Good companies will say up front what the deal is on returns.
Some companies will state they don’t take back used mattresses. They have no trial period for you to sleep on it at home. Now you know and can decide if you want their mattress bad enough from that company.
The key is, what do you want and what do you need?
I’ve purchased some great stuff from companies that have restocking fees. But I knew exactly what I wanted, and I knew I would never return what I bought from them.
Now let’s look at what I would suggest you do. This goes for others in your situation if they’re stuck with a mattress they don’t want.
Option 1: You keep this Simmons mattress.
The benefit of keeping the mattress is you don’t have to pay $210 in restocking fees and $60 pick-up fees. You could use that money to go out and get a brand new memory foam topper to make this concrete slab of a mattress you have more comfortable.
I think that option stinks.
I think option 2 is better.
Option 2: Return this brick and pay the price. The benefits of doing this are, in my opinion, better than the benefits of keeping the mattress. Here’s why.
It is unlikely you will ever be able to sleep on this mattress without the aid of an excellent memory foam topper. Another thing…
It’s hard enough to get a good night’s sleep. And if you start thinking before you go to bed that you hate your mattress, this really can lead to insomnia.
You become almost afraid to go to bed at night.
From a financial standpoint, if you send the mattress back, you will have $1,130 cash back in your purse ($1,400 purchase - $270 cost of sending it back). Yes, you are out $270 and you’re bummed out that you lost that money. However, you have cut your losses and now:
By the way, in general, yes, I do think thinner people will find an extra firm mattress less comfortable than a firm or medium firm. Everyone is different however so there is no set-in-stone rule on this.
Most states in the U.S. have strict laws for selling used mattresses or mattresses with used materials. I selected three at random to see what I could find: Texas, California, and Massachusetts.
It’s clear from my reading each of these state’s literature that any company must have a license to resell used bedding.
California calls mattresses that have used materials, rebuilt mattresses. These mattresses will have a red tag. A yellow tag is for a used mattress that has been sanitized.
California’s Department of Consumer Affairs warns people that buying used mattresses from companies that are not certified increases the chance of bringing bed bugs home.
Massachusetts also makes a big deal out of mattress sanitizers being properly licensed.
Of course, the chances of a name-brand mattress maker stuffing their new mattresses with used materials is non-existent. Not gonna’ happen.
Look for a white “Under Penalty of Law” tag on the mattress. This tag will say something like “this mattress contains all-new material consisting of...”
Then it goes on to say where and when it was manufactured and have a bunch of numbers on it. It is illegal for a mattress retailer to sell you a mattress without that white tag.
The bottom line is, if you want new, buy from retailers who only sell new mattresses. And always look for that white “all-new-mattress” tag. If you see a colored tag—or no tag at all—run the other way!
Ask the people at the mattress store if what you are buying is brand new. That means:
As to your question about restocking fees, this all comes down to how a company wants to do business.
Different companies have different business models. Some have a mattress trial period. Some don’t. Some have restocking fees. Some don’t.
A company has every right to charge a restocking fee if they want to. Maybe they feel they’ll lose a fortune if they don’t because they’re afraid of too many returns.
As for your memory foam topper questions, I’ve received several similar questions recently. Check out some of the topper articles on my website. I’ll be posting more soon too.
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