I want to return this old mattress for a full refund!

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By Christopher Elliott

Lindsey Clark wants to return her seven-year-old mattress and get a refund. She claims it has a manufacturer’s defect. But is something else going on?

Question

I’m trying to return a seven-year-old Aireloom mattress I bought from Nebraska Furniture Mart. There’s a manufacturing defect that has caused a two-inch dip in the mattress, and it’s covered under the warranty.

When the furniture store came to collect the mattress, they wouldn’t accept it because there was minor staining and small tear on it. They told me to professionally clean the mattress and they would come back and pick it up. I cleaned it at my expense, but they still wouldn’t accept it.

I want Nebraska Furniture Mart to keep its word and honor their warranty and credit the original mattress, especially since I went one step further and professionally cleaned per their request. This is hardly a dirty mattress and one could expect wear and tear over a period of seven years. Can you help me return this old mattress and get a refund? — Lindsey Clark, Des Moines, IA

Answer

If your Aireloom mattress has a manufacturer’s defect, then the store should accept your return. But the problem, as you point out, is that Nebraska Furniture Mart seems to think you’re returning the mattress because it’s used. The company is right — rips or stains would void the warranty for most manufacturers.

Further complicating your case: You have no paper trail between you and the furniture store or the manufacturer. You called them, and there’s no record of your conversations. The more cases like yours I get, the more I believe everyone should be recording their phone calls as long as it’s legal. If companies can do it, so should consumers. But I digress.

Can you really return an aging mattress?

According to Aireloom’s manufacturer, its mattresses are built to last 10 to 15 years with normal usage. “By industry standards, mattresses generally will last from 8 to 10 years,” it notes. “Individual comfort needs change over time.”

A look at the Aireloom warranty also shows that the impression you’re complaining about is normal. “Body impressions are typical and therefore do not mean that the mattress is defective,” it says (in red). “To prevent excessive body impressions, you must rotate your mattress as specified and sleep over the entire surface.” (Here’s how to resolve your own consumer problem.)

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Here’s what bothers me: If you didn’t have a case, then Nebraska Furniture Mart should have just told you that you could not return the old mattress. Instead, it asked you to clean it at your expense and then refused to take it back. That doesn’t make sense. (Related: How do I get Sealy to replace my defective mattress?)

I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Nebraska Furniture Mart customer service contacts on my consumer advocacy site. Reaching out to one of them might have helped.

And it did. After I put you in touch with the higher-ups, Nebraska Furniture Mart agreed to honor the warranty and accepted your return.

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Christopher Elliott

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 three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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