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Are Mattress Companies Misleading Consumers?

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Mattress Manufacturers Misleading Consumers

Have you been confused and frustrated when shopping for a mattress?  You are not alone.  Many consumers find shopping for a mattress an experience that keeps them up at night.  Mattress Advisor reviews a tremendous amount of consumer comments and ratings and over the past several years has found that buyers are simply lost when it comes to finding the right mattress at a respectable price.

Other Industries Don't Act Like This
But why is this the case?  Other industries don’t seem to cause this level of consumer grief.  It turns out that the mattress market has been purposely setup by manufacturers and retailers to mislead and confuse consumers.  They make a tidy profit while the buyer gets the short end of the stick.  Following are three tricks the industry uses to confuse the buyer.

 

1) You Can't Comparison Shop

How do they do it?  There are several ways in which this occurs but the most nefarious involves making comparison shopping almost impossible.  Comparison shopping is something most of us do when trying to find a bargain.  We find the brand and model we like then we start looking around for the right price.  When shopping for a mattress however one will find that the model found in one store doesn’t seem to appear in any others.  There may be something that sounds close but it is not quite the same.  How then are you to compare prices from one retailer to another?  The short answer is you can’t.  And guess what?  This was done on purpose.  You can’t compare apples and oranges so you stop trying.

Also, industry insiders indicate that there are widely varying prices for the same or similar mattresses.  So one outlet may offer the brandx plush lavender memory foam mattress for $1200 while another store offers the brandx plush supreme manila memory foam mattress for $800, and these mattresses could be identical or could have very minor differences.  But how are you to know?

2) They Use Baffling Long Names

Additionally, mattress naming conventions are made so complex that it is almost impossible to remember model names.  Consider the following: “Sealy Posturepedic Lazy Hollow Luxury Plush Super Box Top Mattress”, or “Sears-O-Pedic 61696 King Cloud Elite Plush Eurotop II LP California Box Spring Mattress – White”.  Without a pen and paper you are not going to remember names like these and even if you do you will find that a word or two will change from retailer to retailer.

3) Industry Sales Tricks

The industry is also notorious for high pressure sales tactics as well as continual bogus sales.   Some mattress stores have almost perpetual sales and practice something called high-low pricing whereby the prices are inflated for a short period of time, then they offer the mattress “on sale” for much less.  These “sale” prices last for a very long time.  Also, the consumer may be led to believe (by pushy sales folk) that this is a very short term sale and that they need to jump at this opportunity immediately or they will lose the ability to purchase at the “sale” price.   

Even Consumer Reports Struggles
Frankly it is hard to believe that the industry has been able to get away with this for so long.  In testament to the difficulty this poses for the average buyer one only has to look for mattress ratings by Consumer Reports magazine. It is difficult to find mattress ratings for individual models.  Consumer Reports indicate on their site that mattresses are difficult to distinguish from one another since “many manufacturers sell the same models under different names”.  They also indicate on their site that they receive more inquiries about mattresses than almost any other product. 

What Can You Do?
How then does one make a good mattress buying decision?  It is not easy.  You clearly cannot shop by model name.  One method is to determine what set of features you want your mattress to have then comparison shop by those.  You may have a brand you like so you can also stick to that.  Also, remember to actually try the mattress out in the store and lay on it for as long as you think is necessary – if it requires 20 minutes then take 20 minutes.  A mattress is often a significant investment and you will spend a large part of the next few years on your mattress so take the time to make the right choice.

Consider mattress comfort, support, size and warranty.  A mattress must be comfortable in order for you to sleep well, but be cautious not to get something too “cushy” as a mattress should also provide support.  Many people enjoy a very soft mattress when they first lay on it but over time if a mattress is too soft it will cause problems.  Proper support will alleviate pressure on joints, help keep the spine in the correct posture, and ensure you don’t wake up with aches and pains.  Comfort and support are often a function of the individual so try the mattress out and (again) take your time.  Also, do not let the salesperson upsell you to a more expensive mattress or push you to make a quick decision. 

Finally, get a mattress that is large enough for you – choose a size that allows you to turn and stretch while you are sleeping (or trying to get to sleep).  And find something with a respectable warranty.  The longer the better and a non-prorated warranty is better than a pro-rated one.  In addition, read mattress reviews and comments by consumers for the brand you are considering (as indicated it can be hard to find comments for exactly the same model – but you may get lucky).  These will give you insights into the mattress far beyond what the manufacturer or retailer will tell you. 

NBC Investigation

Following is an interesting video below where NBC investigates some of the problems highlighted above:

Are you frustrated with the mattress industry as well?  Let us know.
POST A COMMENT (keep it civil to the extent you can mind you...)

Simmons Balboa is in the garbage in less than a year. Dipped in even on the wife\'s side in only a few months . On scale of 1-5 this is a 0....
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What a bunch of malarky! They are out to RIP YOU OFF! Yep, Macy\'s has identical ones with diff names than SleepTrain etc... that can STICK IT, Im buying a locally made non Off Gassing, NON TOXIC mattress
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I\'m in the process of the exchanging stage and it seems I\'ve done what was suggested. As soon as I got the Sealy mattress I noticed it was sagging on each side. I notified the retailer immediately and was told to keep it for a couple of weeks. I asked for the exchange forms to be faxed that day lol. Mattress retailers really give the hard sell because they believe buyers are uninformed. However in this new economy that\'s no longer true. I bought online because I didn\'t want the hard sell and I knew what I wanted INSIDE my mattress. But really, how can you know unless you split it open? Due to the nature of this type of sanctioned thievery, I\'ve written a letter to my Congressman and intend to follow up. In an election year it can be put on the radar if others follow suit. Really, it\'s time to stop this madness.
VOTES:1
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We are on our 3rd yes I said 3rd warranty exchange for a simmons beauty rest since Oct 2011. So we have had 4 mattresses in the last 7 months.

Now we are in a battle with the company to get our money back and they refused. We told them we went to our credit card company. Their response was \"your credit card company won\'t help you. you will never get a credit from them\". They even stoop that low to say you have no recourse to get your money back.

Just ask the right questions about returns, warranty, and prepare to see if this is a company you want to deal with if something goes wrong. This is a lesson learned for me.
VOTES:0
mattress shopper Sunday, 29 April 2012
After about a month of reading reviews, looking at different mattress brands, types, and stores, I finally decided on getting an innerspring extra firm and topping it with a 2\" layer of memory foam. I figure the extra firm mattress will have more support and hopefully, last longer and the 2\" memory foam topper will help conform the mattress to relieve pressure points on the body. I plan to get the topper either at Amazon or a brick and mortar store depending on whichever has the best price. I bought the inner spring extra firm mattress locally. I wanted to get it at Costco but I was leary about making a purchase like that sight unseen. At least buying locally, I was able to test out and actually see the bed before purchase. It did help to have the printed Costco bed in my hand to show the salesmen. Some were quite nasty, insisting that there was no way to compare their beds to Costco\'s but some were very helpful and once they saw what I wanted, were more than happy to show me what their offerings were in that department. Good luck to anyone buying a mattress, it is indeed a daunting task.
VOTES:0
My husband and I went to purchase a new mattress and shopped 3 different stores. Based on price, overall hassle and being ignored by District Managers from Mattress Warehouse-do yourself a favor and go to Costco or Sam\'s. You\'ll spend half the money and have no aggrivation of a sales person or uncomfortable mattress. We had a total of 3 mattresses delivered- the first two were the same type, just thought there was some sort of manufacture error. Nope, just a terrible mattress which felt like a cloud in the store but, when it was delivered it was hard as a rock. Sent a second one, same thing. Finally after almost 4 months of going back and forth with the store, we have received a Beautyrest by Simmons and while it\'s better, it\'s still not as comfortable than our original Beautyrest that I had for about 14 years... BEWARE!
VOTES:0
Hi Amanda Can I ask you what kind of mattress you got from sismmons beautyrest? was it firm or plush firm. having a hard time deciding what to buy..or what was your original beautyrest that you had for 14yrs.. firm or extra firm or plus firm
I hope your new mattress works out for you after all..
VOTES:0
with the toppers I found that the memory foam become really hot when sleeping, the down ones need to be shaken out to hold their fluffiness, and the fiber will start to get lumps around three yrs. Try a natural latex topper. Here are two online stores I have researched: Habitat all natural latex has a A+ rating with the BBB and Plush Beds has a B rating with BBB.
Mattress - I have been researching and searching for a month now. All pillow tops whether they are euro, plus, pillow, or what ever it is. if there is a extra top layer the bed will sag some of the beds start sagging within the first month and the companies do not care. Sealy makes a soft bed that Sleeptrain sales for $800 but the springs are interlocked and will sag/body impressions right away. The Simmions comfor pedic NXG memory foam(no spring) is getting good reviews but I can not find it in my area. Sealy embody is another memory foam bed that I am debating on. Keetsa beds were nice but the return policy is extreme 25% of the purchase price for restocking fee.

Someone needs to write a law for us consumers that will eliminate the mattress companies selling the same bed under different names, no sagging more the 1/8 of an inch, no lumps,hills,a better written description of how a bed is made of the what exact materials, and all the other B.S. these companies pull. I had to call the actual manufacture to find out how their beds are made because the sells person at the store misinformed me. On purpose that is the question.
Frustrated and sleeping on an camping air mattress.
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I\'m trying to shop for the right memory foam mattress topper & am going nuts. I know I want 4 lb density & a 3\" thick topper, but I can\'t find reviews or the information I need to make heads or tails of all the makes & models.
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I purchased the deluxe mattress topper from Kohl\'s. Don\'t buy it. The memory foam has a memory all right. It hollowed out where my husband layed and where I layed. Over $200 out the window in one years time.
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Are transflexion foams, renew foams and NXG foams gas-off foams? Are they petroleum based and/or do they present any health hazards?
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I bought a top-of-the-line Stearns and Foster a few years ago; felt like a cloud the first month then sunk in. I, too, had someone come out to \"evaluate\" it and they did the \"string test.\" It\'s gotten lumpier and lumpier, and is now about 7 yrs old. Check out Costco if you want a mattress under $800; they have a lifetime warranty on everything and will let you return stuff at any time.
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I need a new mattress and have been reading the horror stories your mattress consumers are writing about. My plan, now, is to find a comfortable mattress for less than $800. I plan to totally ignore the warranty and other nonsense that won\'t be honored. Also, I plan to stay away from all the sales gimmicks and high-end models that will fail just as quickly as the lower end ones. After 2 to 7 years, evaluate the bed and if it\'s becoming worn, lumpy or defective, get rid of it and get another inexpensive one. That would give you a pretty steady supply of \"new\" mattresses and leave the manufacturers with their overpriced poorly made models unsold. Maybe we should treat mattresses as disposable items with a limited lifespan, no matter what the cost. Hopefully, that will cut down on the rip-offs.
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They would make more money if you did that because they would just lower the quality, and sell more. the margin would have to change for it to make a difference.
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How sad, trying to buy a mattress without being taken as I feel I was. I purchased a Simmons Beauty Rest Lorena Plus Cal King from Banner in So. California. Buyer be ware when you deal with this company. This mattress came with a 10 year warrantee. Now that my mattress is one lump after another At the 7 yr mark, making restful sleep impossible, I called Banner for warrantee assistance. That was a total waste of time. What they did not explain at the time of purchase was the mattress warrantee was a Simmons issue. Banner was not interested; they had my money, now go away! Contacting Simmons, they said to send them $50 (non-refundable) and they will come and evaluate my mattress. They will determine if the warrantee will cover it. Their evaluation I found out, was they use a string across the mattress and if there are any depressions over 1.5 inches, they will consider replacing it. I explained that the mattress looks OK from the top, but when you lay on it, it is very lumpy. In short, they wanted $50 to tell me my mattress was OK. Laying on it was something they were not interested in. Trying to buy a replacement is a total crap-shoot. There has to be a better way for the consumer to select a mattress that is best for him/her, or just plan to spend $1,700 every 6-7 years for a good nights sleep.
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This has been the most frustrating experience of any purchase. Consumers Report was totally useless and a big disappointment. They basically punted. A site such as your could provide an invaluable service by doing a cross reference table of all the different names. While it may not be easy, you\'d do a lot to help simplify this process
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I don\'t think CR punted this Phil, they\'re simply reporting that Mattress Manufacturers have gone to great effort to confuse the consumer and make comparison shopping nearly impossible.
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