How do I get Sealy to replace my defective mattress?

Should Sealy replace a 20-year-old defective mattress?

Don’t look now, but chances are your mattress is covered by a ridiculously long warranty. Or so you might think. But Vijay Khasat recently found out what Sealy meant by “20 years” when he tried to get the company to replace what he claims is a defective mattress.

It turns out 20 years is not 20 years, at least in the traditional, dictionary-definition sense. His odyssey to replace a bad mattress is a reminder for all of us to read the fine print on your warranty. (The mattress police won’t save you, but maybe my advocacy team can help.)

“My wife was waking up with a backache”

Khasat says his mattress had problems the moment he purchased it in 2001 in Canton, Ohio. I know, that’s 18 years ago, but remember his mattress had a 20-year warranty. Or at least, that’s what he thought.

“The problem involving undue sagging, which started a few years after we purchased the mattress,” says Khasat. “We just kept on postponing contact with the dealer. But a few years ago, it became really bad – so bad that my wife was waking up with a backache.”

Khasat found the warranty for his mattress, which clearly indicated a “20-year Premium Warranty.”

He contacted the Canton dealership where he purchased the mattress. A representative there said Sealy in Canton would replace the mattress “for free.”

Problem solved? Unfortunately, no.

Khasat now lived in Hayward, Calif., 2,512 miles from Canton. That’s a 36-hour trip — way too much to deliver a defective mattress.

And that’s when his troubles started.

Surprise! Here’s how we define 20 years at Sealy

Sealy said the codes on his mattress indicated his warranty was only valid until 2011.

So 20 years is just 10 years in Sealy-land.

“This is the epitome of unadulterated deception,” says Khasat. “The dealer provides a written premium warranty of 20 years. However, the manufacturer tells you the warranty is only 10 years. This is a conspiracy of the first kind designed effectively to deceive the trusting consumer, and thus allowing dealers to sell cheap ineffective products.”

The discrepancy between the dealer’s warranty and the manufacturer’s warranty is what caused the Elliott Advocacy team to get involved. Our advocate Dwayne Coward asked for the paper trail on Khasat’s defective mattress case, which showed him trying — and failing — to escalate the case to Sealy corporate.

By the way, Sealy never really explained why it only showed a 10-year warranty on the mattress. Not to him, not to us.

Why is Sealy refusing to replace this defective mattress?

Here’s Sealy’s first denial of Khasat’s request for Sealy to replace the defective mattress:

Your case was recently escalated to our department for review. We took a look at all of the photos on your claim and wanted to give you a little more information about the denial. Your mattress has an innerspring system, although it does contain foam for comfort. For our innerspring mattresses, we use the 1.5″ standard for impressions when reviewing warranty claims, because this mattress does have coil technology.

The impressions shown in the photos provided being less than 1.5″ means these impressions are a normal occurrence in your sleep set, and indicate that the upholstery layers are performing as they were designed to do by conforming to your body’s individual contours. Today’s mattress industry produces products filled with cotton, foam, and other fillers, which will settle over time. Mild impressions, or indentations are normal, and are not an indication of a structural failure, or a manufacturing defect.

While we are unable to offer a warranty replacement at this time, please understand your warranty is still in effect for the limited term per your original warranty for a manufacturer defect, and this matter can be revisited in six months, if the issue persists.

DENIAL REASON: normal indentations or sagging (not associated with sag in foundation) of less than 1½” for Latex or Innerspring mattresses, or less than 3/4″ for Memory Foam mattresses, IS NOT COVERED. If it is determined that an indentation is caused by misuse, abuse or factors other than a product defect, this warranty will not cover that condition.

What does the warranty say about a defective mattress?

Let’s have a look at that warranty before we continue. Here are Sealy’s warranties for a mattress purchase in 2001.

Here’s the relevant language:

Torn handles, stitches pulled out of the handle where it’s sewn to the mattress, and tears in the mattress fabric where the handles are attached.

Coils or wires that are loose, broken, ripped or protrude through the fabric.

Body indentations of an inch and a half (1.5″ inches). Click here to find out how to accurately measure an indention.

Unnatural sagging: Your warranty covers mattresses that are continuously supported by a matching box spring, or equivalent, with an appropriate frame. The frame has to include a rigid center support with at least five legs, or a rigid center support with at least five hardwood cross slats for queen and king sets. [Emphasis mine.]

That prompted this rebuttal from Khasat:

  1. During sag measurement by your representative, Edward, on May 25, 2019, I witnessed the sag to be more that 1.75 inches, not less than an inch as reported.
  2. Your rejection criteria does not hold water. Average weight of an American man is 197.9 Lbs. Whereas, I weigh less than 112 pounds (medical records can be furnished upon request). Based on the laws of physics, the sag is directly proportional to the weight applied. Thus, sag limit should in this case should be adjusted accordingly, i.e. should be reduced by 112/197.9 = 56.59%. This is simple logic. I will present this fact to the judge in the Small Claims Court of Alameda County.
  3. I hope that Sealy considers this matter with honesty and integrity and replace our defective mattress. Otherwise, please provide us with the Sealy’s Agent in California as requested above.

Sealy won’t replace this defective mattress

And here’s the final rejection:

Your warranty claim request has been reviewed. Unfortunately, we must decline the request as the documentation and/or pictures provided do not allow us to determine that the claim falls within the guidelines of warranty coverage. The underlined bullet below explains the reason for the denial of your claim.

As stated in your warranty certificate, Sealy reserves the right to deny a warranty request for the following reasons:

Comfort preference

Mattress is outside of warranty period

Physical abuse or damage to the structure and/or cover material, including but not limited to, burns, cuts, tears, liquid damage, or stains. However if there is a warranty defect not caused by the abuse or damage then the mattress would be covered under the standard warranty.

Damage associated with an improper bed frame, foundation, or adjustable base. See attached for description and illustrations of a proper bed frame.

Replacement of the accompanying piece in the Sealy sleep system where only one piece is defective, unless that accompanying piece is also defective.

Still more reasons for this rejection

Floor models or demonstration samples (“demos”) sold at a discount (See separate warranty for demos and floor models if coverage is provided by retailer).

Product sold by resellers who are not authorized retailers.

Product sold “as-is”, “preconditioned”, “reconditioned”, “used”, “comfort return”, “returned”, “previously owned”, or any other similar wording indicating that the product is not “new” or of “first quality”, or has previously been purchased or used by another consumer.

Also, normal indentations or sagging (not associated with sag in foundation) of less than 1½” for Latex or Innerspring mattresses, or less than 3/4″ for Memory Foam mattresses, IS NOT COVERED. If it is determined that an indentation is caused by misuse, abuse or factors other than a product defect, this warranty will not cover that condition.

If you feel a manufacturing defect has developed at a later date, please call us to initiate a new warranty request at that time.

Wow, that’s a lot of reasons.

Elliott Advocacy asks Sealy for an explanation

Warranty information should be clear, unambiguous and uniform across the company, whether you’re dealing with a franchise location, a corporate-owned store or directly with the company. What’s more, the company shouldn’t throw a lot of denial reasons at the ceiling to see what sticks. If you ask a customer to send photographic evidence of a mattress defect, you need to do the same. You can’t just say that the warranty is void. You need to prove it.

Dwayne contacted Sealy on Khasat’s behalf to get some clarification. Khasat had complicated the case by threatening to go legal, but he hadn’t done it yet. Fortunately, Dwayne caught this before Sealy referred this case to its legal department.

A representative promised to review Khasat’s case and to contact the customer with a resolution.

And that’s exactly what happened. Sealy reached out to Khasat with a proposed fix.

“They said they will replace the mattress for a nominal charge,” he reported. “Today, they told me the nominal charge is about $2,150. This is laughable.”

Sealy decides to replace the defective mattress — at a cost

Dwayne agreed that the resolution was less than ideal. So he circled back with Khasat. Sealy re-reviewed the request for the replacement of the defective mattress and agreed to send him a new one for $1,000.

Now, why anyone would want a new mattress when the company refused to stand by an old one is beyond my comprehension. But Khasat was happier with this deal, and he took it.

For the rest of us, the lessons are clear:

  • Get your warranty in writing and make sure you keep it somewhere safe. Two decades is a long time — and your mattress company might be using a different calendar. (Like airline math.)
  • Read your warranty. Know what it covers and what you have to do to file a claim, if necessary.
  • Remember the layers of appeal when you’re dealing with a mattress company. The dealership and the corporate location may be singing from a different hymnal, as they say.
    Your final level of appeal is your state attorney general or a consumer advocate. But that’s a long shot. (Credit card disputes after 18 years are highly unlikely to work.)
  • Reality check: Mattresses wear out with age. The industry-funded Better Sleep Council recommends replacing your mattress every seven years. While that may be self-serving advice from the mattress manufacturers, the truth is, Khasat was near the end of his mattress life cycle anyway. Maybe he should have purchased a new mattress from a company with a less restrictive warranty.

Should Sealy have replaced Khasat's mattress for $1,000?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by AirportParkingReservations.com

With nearly 20 years in the industry, over 128 airport covered in the U.S. and Canada, and over 1,000 Hotel and Parking Partners-we provide travelers the best options on how to get to the airport when flying. Whether you want to; drive yourself and park near an Airport (Airport Parking), stay the night before your flight at an airport hotel and leave your car (Hotel and Parking Package), or take a shared Shuttle/Private Car/Limo to the Airport- we got you covered. The best deals can be found online, and booking a reservation has never been easier. You can explore all of our options by visiting us at AirportParkingReservations.com, ParkSleepFly.com, AirportParking.com, and ShuttleFinder.com.

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.

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 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 by 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 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 G1G.com

Since its inception over three decades ago, G1G has continued to revolutionize the travel insurance industry by being the only aggregator to operate a customer portal, placing all of the user's primary needs in one place. We have continued to innovate and disrupt the market by reimagining the way travel insurance can be delivered to the end user in ways no competition can. Simply put, no one knows the market as well as its founders and no one else shares G1G values and mission.

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.

Elliott Advocacy is 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.

Send this to a friend