Mattress stores can be horrible or great. The most important thing is how much risk they transfer to you when something doesn’t work out well. Too many mattress stores have policies that burn the customer when something goes wrong.
In this article, I share what you need to know so you don’t get caught in the finger pointing trap many mattress customers who buy a bad mattress from a middle man endure. We also provide a downloadable worksheet you can use to make the buying process less confusing. Use it whether you’re shopping online or at a furniture store. It helps keep all the factors that should be considered organized.
I’m going to break down the things you should watch out for when shopping for a mattress at a mattress store. Most furniture stores are nothing more than middle-men who add a layer of cost to the process and provide a barrier between the customer and the manufacturer. When you deal with a retail mattress store, you don’t have direct contact with the manufacturer of your mattress before you buy it.
After reading thousands of reviews, complaints, and the responses to the complaints from furniture and mattress stores, we know their tricks. This article will help you avoid being tricked. We all spend about 1/3 of our lives sleeping. You shouldn’t have to spend that time on a mattress you don’t like because you weren’t able to return it. If you choose well, you’ll spend between 20,000 and 30,000 hours on your mattress. If you don’t choose well, you’ll want to buy a new mattress sooner—maybe in just a few months. Buying without a sleep trial can mean you’re out the price of a mattress and you still don’t have a comfortable bed.
This was not an enjoyable article to research because so many of the policies and practices at bricks and mortar mattress stores don’t treat customers ethically. “Legal” and “ethical” draw two different lines. Most mattress stores design their policies to be legal but don’t bother with ethics. That’s why I can only recommend two of the 27 mattress stores I reviewed. Compared to the policies at direct to the consumer mattress manufacturer sites where most work hard to be trustworthy, it is very disappointing that mattress stores in our own communities don’t treat customers better. The policies at most mattress stores suggest they don’t believe in the products they sell. If mattress stores don’t believe in their mattresses, why should you take the risk?
Reading the reviews of mattress stores often made me angry on behalf of people who were treated poorly. Providing you with information that will help you avoid those problems feels good.
Sleep is so important to our health and there were many stories where the customer’s well-being seemed to be callously disregarded. The first thing I am going to do is provide a quick summary of cautions you should be aware of before you buy a mattress. If you don’t do anything else, be sure you read this list of things to be careful of and download the chart we made to help you compare mattresses. More information about why each factor is important is provided after the reviews of 27 mattress stores.
If you don’t read anything else, you need to know this:
There is no warranty for floor models, clearance sales, and open boxes.
If your mattress is stained, they will deny warranty coverage even if the mattress has a manufacturer’s defect.
Many mattress stores charge a restocking fee that can add up to hundreds of dollars on returns and exchanges.
Most mattress stores charge a new delivery charge on exchange even when the mattress they sold you is defective.
Many mattress stores require you to pay an independent inspector to evaluate whether your mattress has a defect.
Even if you get lucky and get a refund, it can take weeks after it is approved to receive it.
Deliveries of multiple items are often scheduled on different days, requiring you to be at home for four-hour windows that the mattress store chooses.
The independent inspectors you are required to hire if you want to report a defect that is covered under the warranty may require you to be home the entire day.
Communication about deliveries is poor at many companies.
If the set-up of the bed (frame, etc.) appears unsafe do not use it. At least one bed assembled by the delivery crew collapsed while a pregnant woman was sleeping on it.
Do not ever accept delivery on broken, damaged, stained, or substandard products. Once you accept delivery many mattress stores resist exchanges and deem your acceptance of the delivery as acceptance of the item AS IS unless there is a manufacturer’s defect.
If you can keep your old mattress for a while, do so. The availability of a fallback bed can be invaluable if the new mattress is uncomfortable. Many sleep trials require you to sleep on the new mattress for 30 days. If you’re unable to sleep or waking up in pain it is not in your best interest to continue sleeping on the offending mattress.
Many bricks and mortar mattress stores do not offer a comfort guarantee. Those that do offer one may:
Require you to sleep on an uncomfortable mattress for 30 – 120 days
Charge a fee for the exchange (most do)
Charge a new delivery fee (usually do)
May charge a restocking fee (most do)
Will refuse the exchange if there are any stains or soiling on the mattress
Will not refund your money—most will only allow you to exchange for a bed that costs the same or more
Some will not allow you to exchange for mattresses that are offered at a sale price
Most (All?) limit the sleep comfort exchange to one per mattress purchased
If the Law Tag (Do not remove under penalty of law) is removed it voids your warranty
Keep your receipt; some won’t honor an exchange or warranty without your receipt
Customers at Bricks and Mortar mattress stores whose trucks also pick up old mattresses when they deliver new mattresses report higher incidents of bed bug infestations following delivery of their new mattress. Think twice about whether you want your new mattress from a truck hauling someone else’s old mattress.
Before you buy, search “Store Name Mattress return nightmare stories”
Photograph the mattress you are buying in the store including the codes on the Law Tag. Compare it to the mattress delivered to you. There are many claims of the mattress purchased at a mattress store that is delivered being different from the one purchased. A photograph can be useful in proving that the mattress you received is different from the one you tried in a mattress store.
If you have any special requests that are agreed to in the mattress store, write them on the receipt and have the salesperson or the store manager sign agreeing to them.
If you reside in a state where it is legal to record a conversation as long as one party knows it is being recorded, you may want to use your smartphone to record the promises being made to you by the commissioned salesperson. A good way to do this is to make a note about anything that seems too good to be true and before you buy ask to go over your notes and record the process. If your state requires both parties to know they are being recorded and you ask to record the conversation, if they refuse, you’ll know that they didn’t intend to honor what they were telling you. I know it sounds like I’m saying mattress store salespeople are dishonest. I’m sure there are many honest ones but there are some bad eggs who are charming before they earn your business.
Some mattress stores that offer a sleep guarantee only offer it on mattresses above a certain price. Other mattress stores only provide a sleep guarantee if you pay extra for the assurance.
Sleep guarantees almost always apply only to the mattress. Frames and adjustable beds are excluded from sleep guarantees and they are often not returnable. Sleep guarantees only apply to your original purchase. Being able to return a mattress instead of being limited to an exchange gives you more opportunities to get the perfect mattress for you.
Buying a mattress may not seem like a risky activity. Many of the mattress stores are household names. The store you trust to treat you well when you buy a blouse might treat you very differently when you buy a mattress.
Many of us are familiar with price match guarantees. If I buy something at Kohl’s and it goes on sale, getting credit for the difference is easy and fast. A price match guarantee on mattresses is trickery designed to make you feel comfortable making a purchase decision; it doesn’t provide any real protection.
Details about why a price match isn’t useful are provided below, after the individual store reviews. The following chart summarizes the amount of risk you take when you buy a mattress from each store. The risks I considered include problems thousands of people have experienced including the risk that:
This can be because no returns or exchanges are available, or
Because you can only exchange one time and you’re stuck with the second mattress whether or not you like it.You won’t be able to return or exchange a mattress that is uncomfortable, damaged, defective, or causes you pain.
You won’t be able to get service under the warranty at all. (Your claim will be rejected for a bogus reason.)
If you need warranty service or replacement, exercising your rights will cost you more money.
Returns and exchanges cost you more money out of pocket. The higher the potential increased cost, the greater the risk you’re assuming.
You will miss work waiting for deliveries that don’t show up on time.
The more you understand about the factors that are important when you buy a mattress, the less risk you’ll take.
You do not want to roll the dice on your ability to have a comfortable night’s sleep.
Star ratings in the following chart are based on these explanations:
I wouldn’t buy. Too Risky
Be aware that you’re buying at your own risk. Might be worth the risk under some circumstances. Only an educated buyer will know for sure.
You assume some risk (non-refundable deposits or re-stock fees on returns or exchanges). This can be hundreds of dollars.
You’re probably okay; the risk of a problem you can’t get fixed is small or the potential cost is very small (such as delivery charges for a return).
Safe (if you know and follow the rules at the store). If you don’t know the store’s rules you might make a costly mistake.
I’ve reviewed dozens of companies that sell mattresses online. Their regular policies are more customer friendly than what I found at mattress and furniture stores where you interact with the staff in person.
There were multiple reports of customers in mattress stores who became so angry there were raised voices involved in the exchange by customers and store staff alike. I don’t think it is worth the hassle. Buying from a company with customer friendly policies and strong guarantees that ensure I will be able to sleep on a mattress that is comfortable and safe makes more sense.
You’ll notice that almost all the mattress stores that allow returns or exchanges require the returned mattress to be in pristine condition (no stains, marks, and the Law Tag still attached). They require this even when the mattress has a manufacturer defect that a sleep inspector determined was a valid reason to return the mattress. None of the mattress stores said what they do with returned or exchanged mattresses. Almost all the manufacturers donate returns to charity. What happens to mattresses returned to furniture and mattress stores? Why do they care so much if they look new?
Even though a mattress protector is recommended and sometimes required by online retailers, they don’t require their customers to buy their version at an inflated price. They just want you to protect the mattress. Mattress protectors are available at very reasonable prices on Amazon. Plush Beds will allow you to return the mattress sooner if you pay a $99 fee for an early return.
If you still feel buying your mattress from furniture or mattress stores is better for you, I’ve reviewed 27 furniture and mattress stores to help you avoid the ones that are most likely to result in a frustrating experience.
Spend time educating yourself before you shop for a mattress
Remember: mattress sales in most mattress stores pay the salesperson a commission. Their income is dependent upon you buying a mattress. They are not unbiased. If you don’t buy a mattress from the store, they don’t make a living.
The pressure experienced while buying a mattress from a commissioned salesperson can feel a lot like buying a used car. It’s not comfortable. Researchers have found that laying on a mattress in a store doesn’t result in a good mattress purchase.
Caution: Things to watch out for in Brick and Mortar Mattress Stores
I’ve read thousands of stories written by people who bought a mattress at a furniture, department, or mattress store who were unhappy and even some who were distraught about the way they were treated after the sale. I don’t want you to experience what those people went through—all they wanted was a comfortable mattress.
Caution: Trying a Mattress in a Store doesn’t Replicate the experience of Sleeping on the Mattress
Sleep researchers found that mattresses that lead to less movement during the night improve sleep quality. They then had study participants choose a mattress in a mattress showroom. They found that:
“When allowed to test mattresses in a typical showroom experience, individuals choose a mattress that does not minimize overnight motion or maximize perceived sleep quality.”
In other words, laying on the mattress in a store did not optimize the choices people made about which mattress to purchase.
The researchers used an actigraphy to track the actual sleep quality individuals experienced on their chosen mattress versus other mattresses. They also compared the results of actigraphy (a device that studies movement during the time someone is in bed) and the sleepers own reported sleep results. They found that the sleepers’ reports about their quality of sleep and the results of actigraphy were consistent.
Less nighttime movement led to reporting better sleep quality. If you have a home trial, you can use actigraphy that is available for home use on a number of devices including the Apple Watch, FitBit, Garmin vívofit 2 Activity Tracker, Xiaomi Mi Band 3 Fitness Tracker, and even the inexpensive Mi Band to scientifically measure the quality of sleep you experience on the mattress. You miss this opportunity if you don’t have a free sleep trial. With the liberal return policies and free shipping options, provided by direct manufacturer sites you’ll be able to identify a mattress that you know is good for your health.
It’s difficult to get a good sense of how the mattress will feel while you sleep with someone like this standing over you.
Even if you don’t use a fitness tracker to scientifically test the quality of your sleep, the researchers found that keeping a journal about the perceived quality of sleep was accurate when compared to the results of the actigraphy data.
None of these methods are available when you lay on a mattress in stores. Because many mattress stores charge for delivery and make returns difficult, trying a mattress bought online provides your best opportunity to test the mattress under real sleeping conditions without a hassle. We’ve already researched most of the mattresses for you and the chart at the beginning of this article describes the current sleep trial for dozens of mattresses. Choosing a great mattress, the first time, is less of a hassle than going through several sleep trials.
Make sure you have a sleep comfort guarantee. Ideally, you’ll be able to get a refund, not just an exchange.
Some mattress and furniture stores do not offer refunds or exchanges. No refunds or exchanges at all!
Most mattress and furniture stores only allow you to do an exchange and won’t give you a refund. Once you give them money, don’t expect a refund. Only two of the 27 companies I reviewed would give you a full refund.
Some stores that only allow an exchange:
Only allow you to exchange for a mattress that costs as much or more than the one you don’t like ;
Only allow you to exchange one time. If the second one doesn’t work well for you, too bad.
Some mattress stores change the terms of the warranty or void the warranty if you buy:
A mattress that is on sale
A mattress that is on clearance
A discontinued mattress
A floor model mattress
How Good is the Warranty?
Whether a warranty is any good is in the details.
Some mattress stores dishonor the warranty because the customer’s base or bed frame wasn’t one of the recommended types. The customers who were upset about this mentioned that the salesperson knew the way their bed would be set-up and didn’t tell them the warranty would be void if they used the type of frame or box springs they were planning to use. This could be a training issue caused by mattress stores not adequately training their staff on the details of the warranties. Online purchasers can see right on the website what types of support the mattress needs. I understand that customers who shop in brick and mortar mattress stores expect to be told things that will help them. Isn’t that one of the points of shopping in person?
If there is a return privilege, it may not include the base. The mattress and frame may have different rules. Read the contract for each one.
In one case, the customer bought one of the more expensive brands when it was on clearance. She was advised her warranty would only be 10 years; not 25. Three years later she was told she had to pay the difference between the regular and clearance price, or the warranty wouldn’t be honored. Who would pay more than $1,000 more to exercise a warranty on a 3-year old bed that is failing?
At least one company asks you to have an independent photographer come to your house to take photographs for just $80 instead of accepting pictures taken by the owner of the mattress.
In another complaint, the customer reported that the store manager agreed the mattress should be returned but the mattress store had no control over the warranty. Remember, a furniture store is a middle man.
If you exchange a mattress purchased at a mattress store, you may have to pay delivery charges again.
In one case, the discount price increased if the mattress wasn’t paid in full within 90 days.
Restocking fees up to 25% are charged when you exercise an exchange or return a mattress.
Ask if they require you to pay for a mattress inspector if you need to file a claim under the warranty.
The cost can be almost $100
Some of them require you to be home the entire day waiting for them because they do not provide a window when they will arrive
Some attorneys are looking for claimants for a class action suit as a result of this practice. If they are successful, the practice may change, or it may be disclosed in the original contract.
Don’t rely on a price match guarantee!
Photograph the Mattress You Purchase in the Store
Complaints are full of customers who believe they received a different bed than the one in the showroom. The typical response is that it feels different because so many people have laid on it. Protect yourself against bait and switch with pictures of the mattress and the Law Tag.
Clearance Mattresses, Floor Models, and Discontinued Mattresses
All sales are final! Check all sides of the mattress in the store before you sign the contract. Take photographs to ensure the mattress is delivered in the same condition it is in when you purchase it.
Sleep Trials and Warranties are VOID on clearance mattresses, floor models, and discontinued mattresses. If the salesperson tells you otherwise, get it in writing signed by the store manager (not just the salesperson). Salespeople in mattress stores do not have the authority to approve changes to the warranty. Get the manager’s business card. If possible, record the conversation and keep the recording.
If you want to compare mattresses the right way, you have to compare the features that matter the most. You can download our checklist to help you compare various mattresses. It’s a useful checklist, whether you’re shopping in mattress stores or online. It includes:
Sleep Comfort Guarantee (Sleep Trial)
Delivery fees and increases
Require mattress protector
Required wait time
Quality of coils
Material coils are made from
Type of coil
ILD Weight (important for durability)
Depth of Core Foam
Weight of other foam layers
Depth of other foam layers
Cost of Mattress Inspectors?
Fee to exchange defective mattress?
Air Flow – Sleep Coolness
How big are delivery windows?
On time delivery stats for store
Are delivery driver’s paid per delivery or by the hour?
You’ll also want to ask mattress stores to explain the following:
Does the store charge restocking fees on exchanges or returns?
How long do you have to cancel without penalty?
Are there fees associated with deliveries if the mattress is defective?
If you exchange for a less expensive mattress, can you be refunded the difference?
Will you be allowed to exchange based on a sale price of the new mattress or only full retail price?
Will your full order be delivered at the same time or will you have to take off work to wait for the delivery driver multiple times?
Don’t Trust Better Business Bureau Ratings – Dig Deeper
Why you won’t find BBB Ratings in this article
There are several reasons you won’t find BBB ratings in this article.
BBB rates individual mattress stores. Some mattress stores have over 300 separate stores. I began researching the ratings with the intention of providing you with the range for all the mattress stores in this review. But after digging deeper and reading hundreds of customer complaints and the way they were resolved, my view of the usefulness of a BBB rating changed. Many stores were rated A+ but that seems to mean the store responded to every complaint. It doesn’t mean they responded by doing the right thing. We saw stores with an A+ BBB rating that:
Seemed to have a lot of complaints. Some mattress stores with an A+ BBB rating had a lot of complaints.
Didn’t resolve complaints in a way that seemed satisfactory to us (meaning the way I would want to be treated. Some mattress stores didn’t seem to try to help the customer even when it appeared the store had made a mistake or that their salesperson misrepresented the product.
Stores rated 1-star by customers could have an A+ BBB rating. Look at the example with an A+ and a 1.25 out of 5 on customer reviews. After repeatedly seeing mattress and furniture stores with good BBB ratings and poor customer reviews, I felt that just showing the BBB Rating was misleading.
The only way for a potential customer to get an accurate idea of how specific mattress stores treat its customers after the sale is for them to go to the BBB website before they make a purchase. Honestly, after reading so many complaints about the lack of service after the sale, harsh return policies, and rude delivery arrangements, I don’t think I’ll ever buy another mattress from a store. Mattresses sold by the manufacturer save money by not having a building and employees who work for commission, so they can afford to sell for less and stand behind their product.
Looking a store up on the Better Business Bureau is easy. All you need is the store name and location. https://www.bbb.org/
At a minimum, look at the customer reviews of local mattress stores on the BBB site as well as the consumer affairs site and Yelp before you shop at a mattress or furniture store.
After the Sale–Take Precautions
Do not get rid of your existing mattress until you know you like your new mattress.
Do not allow them to remove your old mattress until your new mattress is in place and satisfactory.
Don’t trust the delivery date they give you. Some people ended up without a bed because they got rid of their mattress the day their new one was supposed to be delivered and then delivery was:
The wrong item
Told at the last minute that the item is out of stock
Mattress stores sometimes change the delivery date and show up without notice because no one calls to let the customer know the date changed.
The mattress stores blame the manufacturer when delivery dates are delayed. When you buy online, you are dealing directly with the manufacturer. Most online mattress companies deliver anywhere in the continental United States within a week. Many people receive their new mattress within two days.
In one case, the new bed was made wrong and didn’t fit on the frame, but the delivery crew had drug the old mattress in the mud when they crossed the yard so they couldn’t use it either.
Things can and do go wrong with a delivery. Don’t back yourself into a corner by having nowhere else to sleep if you want to refuse delivery for any reason.
This is also important for off-gassing. People who are sensitive to off-gassing can’t sleep on some new mattresses for up to a week. Some mattresses suggest waiting 48-hours to use them after they are unwrapped.
There are many ways to make a mistake during delivery. These tips will save you from frustration and hassles.
Put your valuables away. Reports of theft are not uncommon.
Protect your floors (reports of damaged hardwoods are common) especially if you’re also buying a frame or an adjustable bed.
Protect your wall hangings by removing them. A mattress can easily knock a picture off the wall.
If the delivery drivers are hauling your old mattress away, do not allow them to remove it from your home until after you are positive you will accept delivery of the new mattress.
Do not accept delivery if the mattress is stained, soiled, or the Law Tag is not on the mattress as these will void your warranty
Check the stitching (tug on it)
Check any straps as they are usually not covered by the warranty
Do not allow the delivery people to remove the packaging before the mattress is in the room where you will use it. Carrying it through doorways can soil the mattress which voids the warranty.
Verify the mattress size. Some mattresses are made incorrectly, and their size doesn’t fit the frame.
Lay down on the mattress before you sign for the delivery.
Inspect all sides of the mattress. Look for stains, loose threads, or other damage.
One customer had the same item delivered four times. Every single time the piece they delivered was damaged. When he wanted to cancel in frustration, they told him it would be a 10% re-stocking fee even though they couldn’t seem to deliver the product without damage.
Look for a label that says “All-new materials.” Do not accept the mattress if this label is missing. Do not remove the label.
If you refuse delivery, take photos of your reason(s).
Being nice and polite is fine but this is a bad time to be a pushover. Stand firm. If you don’t think you can stand firm and refuse delivery if something seems wrong, have a friend with you who will be willing to refuse delivery if there is a problem.
In the hundreds of delivery-related complaints about mattress stores that I read, it was common to see the delivery company pointing at the mattress and the mattress company pointing at the delivery company. No one wanted to be responsible for damage by the delivery drivers even though the driver admitted he caused the damage.
You should know that the delivery drivers are often not employed by the furniture store. You have every right to ask them for information about their employer before they bring furniture into your home including verification that they have workmen’s compensation insurance.
It’s best if you do this ahead of time. When you sign the delivery receipt you are signing that everything is okay. It is legally binding.
If something is wrong do not sign it. Your ability to fix the situation decreases as soon as you sign for the delivery.
Delivery Issues – Partial Shipments
Some of the complaints involved situations where a partial shipment was delivered (i.e. bed without the frame, frame without the mattress, or mattress cover without the mattress). Once all the parts were present, if the customer didn’t like it, they would deny their right to return parts that were delivered first because they had them too long even though they were unusable without all the parts.
Things to watch out for Bed Bugs in New Furniture
Several of the mattress stores had a series of customer complaints about bed bug infestations arriving with new furniture. None of the mattress stores accepted responsibility for the infestations. All these mattress stores offered a service where they picked up old mattresses when they deliver new ones. We urge caution accepting delivery of a mattress from stores that do this because it is too easy for bed bugs to travel from the old mattress to the delivery staff to your bedroom. The complaints seemed to be clustered around the same dates with gaps in between where there weren’t any reports of infestations which is what you’d expect to see if they had a problem with bed bugs.
While having my old mattress picked up when my new one is delivered sounds convenient, I wouldn’t buy a mattress from a company that picks up old mattresses and puts them on the same truck they use to deliver new mattresses. The potential that bed bugs could travel from an old mattress to my new mattress is too much of a risk. Bed bug infestations are expensive and difficult to eradicate. It’s not worth the risk.
Taking Time Off to Wait for Delivery
Although an adult always has to be home for white glove delivery service, most online mattress purchases can be left on your porch. You aren’t inconvenienced by having to be home to accept the delivery. All the brick and mortar mattress stores want you to be home even if you are buying a foam mattress.
One customer took the day off to wait for delivery and all they delivered was the mattress protector; not the mattress. Another day off was required for a second delivery. Splitting deliveries into more than one delivery date is a common problem based on the reviews. If you lose pay waiting for deliveries, this adds to the cost of your mattress. There were a lot of complaints about deliveries not being made as scheduled and no communication from the company which meant the customer took the day off to wait for a delivery that never arrived.
Last Resorts on Mattress Stores
If you buy from Brick and Mortar mattress stores and end up in a mattress nightmare, you can file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Affairs, the attorney general in your state, or write a review on Yelp. I read tons of Yelp reviews and the mattress stores seem to monitor and respond to people who write bad reviews so that might help you get resolution when nothing else is working.
Buy cheap and save money to buy a better-quality mattress when you can pay cash. Financing a $1,000 mattress at 29.99% interest means you’ll pay almost $2,000 for a mattress that won’t last as long as it should for the money you’re spending. You would be better off buying a cheap mattress to get you by while you save money to pay cash for a quality mattress.
Best Deals, Clearance, Close-Out, and Discontinued Mattress Deals
Industry practice is that price matching policies exclude online sales and clearance, close out, and discontinued mattress prices. Manufacturers may, and often do, contract with online mattress to sell their closeout and clearance inventories. The online sites may offer the same mattress at drastically reduced prices that you’ll never find in a brick and mortar store. While online stores may also have more restrictive policies on discontinued mattresses, you’ll pay less than you will at brick and mortar mattress stores if you shop online. They may have better exchange policies since online stores have a greater need to maintain a stellar reputation. People trust more easily when they can touch and feel the product before they buy it. Because of this, online stores work harder to build and maintain a good reputation. The result is better customer service after the sale.
Don’t use layaway. Use a savings account instead. There is no advantage to you when you use layaway. If another store has a better deal your money will be tied up where you have your layaway account. The terms of the layaway can cost you money and the opportunity for a better deal.
In the reviews we read, complaints about delivery not being on time were common. It makes sense that someone having a sleepless night because they don’t have a bed to sleep in would complain. The typical response from the mattress stores was that it was the manufacturer’s fault and out of their control. Some of the furniture and mattress stores will even charge a re-stocking fee if you cancel when the delivery date is changed. In reading thousands of reviews for mattresses sold online, only one mattress had a consistent problem with online delivery and that was not long after it was introduced when demand exceeded their expectations, an issue that has since been resolved. Another online brand doesn’t build the mattress until the customer orders, but their website makes it clear that it will take about three weeks to receive the mattress.
The bottom line is that if you need a mattress by a specific date, your options are limited:
Buy a mattress that is currently in stock at the store and pick it up yourself. If you choose this option and buy a floor model, be sure you understand how that limits your warranty.
Buy a mattress online on a site where the mattresses are consistently delivered within a stated window (usually 7 days or less unless the mattress isn’t manufactured until it is ordered).
Price Match Guarantees are Useless
Mattress Stores deliberately make Apples-to-Apples comparisons nearly Impossible
Many mattress stores promote the fact that they will price match. Consumers have an expectation of what price matching means from our experiences with less expensive items. Price matching ads are useless. Although mattress stores carry the same mattresses, they uniquely brand them with names that means no one else carries the same mattress. Mattress stores also fail to provide sufficient detail about the number of coils, coil gauge, ILD of the foam (weight), and the exact materials used to identify the mattress when it is being sold under a different name.
Slumber Well at store #1 might be named Good Slumber at store #2. They will also change the pattern or color of the mattress cover to further confuse buyers into believing the important aspects of the mattress are different.
Here are some of the way’s mattress stores ensure you won’t find a lower price:
Each store brands their mattresses differently. The same Serta mattress can have many different names depending on which store offers it for sale.
Individually branded mattresses may look different because the design of the mattress cover is changed even though everything inside is identical.
When free gifts are offered, the price match has to be for an identical offer. Mattress stores give away a free pillow or a free mattress protector, to make sure the sales offering is not identical. This tactic helps mattress stores avoid honoring price match guarantees.
If one mattress store offers free delivery and the other offers a free gift, the mattress store deals aren’t identical.
Although you might be able to do a lot of research and identify an identical mattress using the specs of the mattress, they will resist honoring the price match. It is easier to resign yourself to the fact that price matches are worthless and just don’t let the assurance of a price match prod you into buying before you have done all your research. That’s the point of offering it—they want you to buy when you are in the store. They know the chance of getting your money is much lower once you walk out the door.
Brick and Mortar Mattress Stores Make Comparisons Difficult
Mattress and furniture stores are not forthcoming with the specifications for each mattress. Compare the two mattress descriptions below. The one on the left is typical of descriptions on mattress store websites. It is full of undefined words and while it gives you the sense you’ve read something complicated, it leaves you without any information you could use to compare what you read to any other description.
The goal mattress stores have is for you to buy the mattress. They don't care if you can accurately compare it to other mattresses so you can choose the best mattress for you. The typical store doesn’t have any skin in the game when it comes to your satisfaction. The sales person is working on a commission. They aren’t worried about whether you will come back and buy a mattress from them in 8 – 10 years. The store carries multiple brands so they can blame problems on the mattress rather than accept responsibility for the products they sell.
Manufacturers that offer generous sleep trials when they sell direct to the public via their websites have skin in the game. If the customer isn’t satisfied, most of them provide a full refund including shipping.
Unlike mattress stores that limit the customer to exchanging for another mattress that the store sells so they still get the sale. Because they want to help you chose a mattress that will work well for your sleep needs, they provide information that helps you compare their mattress to other available mattresses.
Mattress Store “Specifications” Details
Online Store “Specifications” Details
Read through the following description. After reading it, what, specifically, do you know about the mattress?
• Do you know the ILD of the Core Foam?
The ILD of the core foam plays a major role in how durable the mattress will be. When you know the ILD, you know something about how the mattress will perform over time.
• Do you know the thickness of the core layer or any other layer?
That will tell you something about how firm the mattress is—another important factor for comparison.
This description leaves you in the dark with feel good words designed to elicit an emotional decision.
Read through the following description from an online store. After reading it, what specifically, do you know about the mattress?
• Do you know the ILD of the Core Foam?
Yes, you know the core foam has an ILD of 2.5 which is very good for a core layer.
• Do you know the thickness of the other core layer or any other layer?
Certainly, you know the core foam is 5” thick and there are two other layers, 3” of gel memory foam to help dissipate body heat and a 2” air flow layer that will further help you sleep cool.
You also know that the total height of the mattress is 10”.
You cannot compare apples-to-apples when you don’t have the ILD (weight) of the layers of the mattress. Fancy, made-up words describing each layer don’t tell you anything meaningful.
The above mattresses are foam. The descriptions of innerspring and hybrid mattresses at the stores are equally vague. They might mention how many coils a mattress has but coil count is meaningless if you do not also know the type and gauge of the metal used to manufacture the coils and the type of coil (i.e. Bonnell (hourglass), continuous wire, or individually pocked spring coils.
Which mattress you’ll spend over 20,000 hours on during the next decade is an important decision. You deserve complete information, so you can make an informed decision.
They all seem to use the same insurance company. Guardsman insurance seems to be the same company all the mattress stores use.
Online Stores Offer Financing
Some people may feel they have to buy from mattress stores because they need to finance the purchase. Online stores offer to finance with easy terms.
We recommend online Manufacturers
After reading thousands of reviews and complaints about the quality, service, and lack of customer friendliness after the sale at brick and mortar mattress and furniture stores, I am more convinced than ever that, for most people, buying directly from the manufacturer will have a better outcome at a lower price. I’ve read thousands of customer reviews from satisfied customers who purchased their mattress online and haven’t seen any of the problems I saw while reading reviews for mattresses purchased in brick and mortar mattress, furniture, and department stores.
Mattress stores have put a lot of time and effort into putting the entire risk of buying a mattress on the customer. The new entrants to the market, the manufacturers who sell direct to the customer, are working harder to earn their customer’s trust and build a reputation for being a reliable source of quality mattresses that keep their word. They can sell higher quality at a lower price because they aren’t paying for real estate or employees who work on commission.
We’ve reviewed the policies of many online mattress companies as well as the mattresses they sell. Additionally, you can read detailed reviews that make comparing mattresses from the comfort of your home easy. Add their generous sleep night guarantees that give you the opportunity to try the mattress in your home at no risk and you have a winning combination.
No restocking fees!
Free Shipping – even if you return the mattress!
Money back—not just an exchange!
Most do not require you to take time off work to meet the delivery driver.
There are mattresses for every type of sleep need including:
Side, back, stomach, and combination sleepers
Individuals who are dealing with back, shoulder, or hip pain
People who want or need an adjustable bed
People who need a different firmness level on each side of the bed
People who need a very low-priced mattress
People who want the best mattress money can buy
People who need financing
Foam, innerspring, latex, hybrid, and air mattresses
You won’t get into a situation where the manufacturer points to the store as the party responsible for a problem and the store points to the manufacturer. Having a problem with a large purchase is bad enough. In the final analysis, having a problem with a large purchase when no one will accept responsibility is a nightmare.
Generally, it will cost less to purchase directly from the manufacturer. Certainly, no one is involved in the process without an expectation of earning a profit. For one thing, if you buy directly from the manufacturer, they are the only ones earning a profit. For one thing, if you buy from one of the mattress stores we reviewed, both the store and the manufacturer earn a profit so they must charge more for the same product so they can pay everyone.
Manufacturers tend to have better sleep trials and easier return policies (there are some exceptions so read our reviews before you buy).
Mattress stores that want to survive will have to begin offering free sleep trials and no hassle returns. It’s no surprise that three of the mattress stores on our list have been in bankruptcy during the past year. Fortunately, more people are waking up to the fact that they don’t have to bear the risk of choosing the wrong mattress.