Beware of Used Mattress and Return Fee Rip Offs

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.

Here are five more questions

  1. Why do they charge these restocking fees?
  2. Are extra firm mattresses a bad idea for thin people?
  3. Should I stay with this extra firm mattress and not risk making a mistake if it is"OK"?
  4. How can I know if I’m getting a new mattress and not a used mattress?
  5. I have a memory foam topper and tried it on top of the mattress but didn't like how soft it became. What’s a mattress foam topper supposed to do anyway?

Sorry to ask you all this but I am desperate to make a decision.

Kay G., March 7, 2015

Rich Silver’s answer:

Hi Kay,

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...

Restocking used mattresses is a big rip off!

American Made Luxury

Try out a new, best-priced luxury mattress in your home for 75 days and never worry about return fees. See the link below that says discover these amazing mattresses.

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.

We are talking here about a new versus used mattress and restocking fees

Quick Tip

Before you ever buy any mattress, make certain you understand those return fees.

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.

  • Do they offer a money-back guarantee?
  • If you return it, can you get cash and not just an exchange or store credit?
  • If you have to do an exchange, does their store have anything you would want to exchange for?
  • If they don’t charge a restocking fee, do they charge an exchange fee instead?
  • Do you have to sleep on it for a month before you send it back?
  • Will they pick the mattress up or do you have to pack it up and ship it back?

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.

The pros and cons of returning a mattress

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…

Sleeping on a bad mattress is a cause of insomnia and back pain

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.

Not good.

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:

  1. Got rid of a mattress you don’t like and that is uncomfortable.
  2. You got a big chunk of your money back.
  3. You have another mattress in a spare room that you find comfortable and can sleep on for a while if it is not too old and sagging. (And perhaps put a new memory foam topper on it.)
  4. You got rid of a mattress that could potentially lead to back problems. When you sleep on a mattress that creates pressure points, you can end up having back pain even if you never had back pain before.

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.

How to know if you’re buying a new…and not used mattress

California warns people that buying used mattresses increases the chance of bringing bed bugs home.

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.

A new mattress must have this on it

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!

Here’s another way people can tell if they’re getting a used mattress


Ask the people at the mattress store if what you are buying is brand new. That means:

  • It is not a restock that someone tried out and sent back
  • It has not been sanitized
  • It has not been rebuilt
  • It is not a floor model that everyone and their brother flopped on in the store

Why some companies have restocking fees

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.

Okay, let’s wrap this up. The good news is, if you don’t want to worry about return fees and restocking fees, you won’t have to pay them because…

Here’s how to buy a luxury mattress at a discount…and never pay return fees

You may be surprised to know you can get a finely crafted queen mattress for only $899. A luxury twin is only $599. Plus…

  • You can try it in your home for 75 days. You’ll keep it after you sleep soundly on it. However, if you want…
  • You can return it without worrying about restocking fees or pick-up fees. You would have saved $270 right there!
  • You can get all your money back (minus the original delivery fee)

These are American made mattresses.

This is the future of mattress buying in America.

And thousands of people are finally getting the sleep they've been craving.

So there you have it Kay. Now you’ll never get stuck with a used mattress or hundreds of dollars in refund fees. Click here to discover these amazing mattresses... and read reviews too.

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