A defective mattress from Mattress Firm — and a partial refund

mattress firm

Jennifer Lehman’s foam sleeper sofa mattress from Mattress Firm isn’t what she expected. But instead of a full refund, she receives only about one-third of her money back. Is she entitled to more?

Q: I ordered a memory foam sleeper sofa mattress online from Mattress Firm and paid $170 for it. It arrived, and I followed the directions, which said to give it 24 hours to “inflate” or decompress after being packed. They advised me to give it a little more time if it’s in a cold climate.

The mattress was supposed to be 5 inches thick, but it was only 3 ½ inches thick, even after giving it four days to decompress. Also, the mattress protector had a broken zipper, so I could not unzip the cover to remove it, which means to wash it I would have to cut it off, rendering it useless.

I spoke with a manager at a local Mattress Firm store, and the company agreed to take the memory foam mattress back and to issue a partial refund, which I figured was better than nothing. But I’m still out $95 for a defective product that was not my fault. That manager said the product is considered soiled once it’s in the customer’s home — hence the only partial refund.

So much for the 120 night sleep well guarantee!

I tried emailing, to have a paper trail, but evidently, the company does not want a paper trail, as my emails went unanswered, so I had to call on the phone. The people at the 800 number wouldn’t help me at all, which is why I tried my local store, and at least got a partial refund. No one told me to give the mattress more time to decompress, and no one offered to exchange the mattress.

I filed a chargeback through my Discover card and they initially decided in my favor, but changed their mind without alerting me. I see the charge has reappeared on my credit card. When a product is defective, I believe the company should issue a full refund. Instead, they essentially told me to “get lost.” Can you help me get my money back? — Jennifer Lehman, Salt Lake City

A: I’m sorry about your faulty mattress. Mattress Firm should have delivered the memory foam sleeper sofa mattress you ordered, and to your satisfaction.

But what, exactly, did the company promise? You referenced the 120 night sleep well guarantee, which says, “We’re so confident we’ll match you with the right mattress, you can take it home and sleep on it for 120 nights. If it’s not the perfect fit, we’ll happily pick it up and pair you with a new one.” But it also contains some fine print.

Mattress Firm cautions that it will “take time” for your body to adjust to your new mattress, so you should sleep on it for a minimum of 30 nights to allow for this adjustment period. “If you are not comfortable within 120 nights of the original mattress delivery date, we will do our best to match you to the right mattress,” it adds.

It looks as if you returned the mattress and asked for a refund, so the 120 night guarantee wouldn’t have applied. As you note, none of the representatives with whom you spoke advised you to give the mattress more time. They should have done that.

You had two significant problems. The mattress was too thin and there was a broken zipper. Mattress Firm should have tried to replace it with one that worked as promised.
Your paper trail is frustrating. It looks as if Mattress Firm wanted to conduct all of its business by phone. Unless you record your phone calls, there’s no way to prove that an employee said — or didn’t say — something.

How to fix a Mattress Firm problem

I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Mattress Firm executives on my nonprofit consumer advocacy site. A brief, polite email to one of them might have moved your case in the right direction. (You said you would have done so, except that our contacts were a little out of date. My research team fixed them after you contacted us.)

I don’t recommend filing a credit card chargeback unless the company tells you to get lost. Credit card disputes are the nuclear option for customer service problems. Once a company wins a dispute, you only have one move left: to go to small claims court.

I contacted Mattress Firm on your behalf. A spokeswoman responded, saying, “At Mattress Firm, we work hard to provide the best customer service to our guests.” After I shared the details of your case, the company refunded the rest of your purchase and offered you a corporate discount for a future purchase.

“We are happy to learn that Ms. Lehman is satisfied with this resolution,” she added.
So am I.

Posted in Problem Solved Tagged

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. He’s the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, and the Washington Post. If you have a consumer problem you can’t solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Cavalry Travel Insurance

Cavalry takes the worry of out travel by providing 24/7 access to medical and security professionals combined with the best medical evacuation and security extraction services. Cavalry gets you home safely when you need it most. Learn more at Cavalrytravelinsurance.com.

Underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at Sodexoinsights.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at Travelexinsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Enterprise

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Arch RoamRight

Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.