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BBB ON HOMES Be firm when shopping for new mattress

August 19, 2018

A mattress can be a major investment, and shopping for it may present pitfalls for the unwary consumer.

There are so many factors to consider — soft or firm; full, queen or king; pillow top or plain; new or used? Not only is price comparison difficult because of style-labeling differences within the same brand from one store to another, but in some instances, you may also be looking at used bedding that appears to be new.

The best way to tell if you are buying new or used is to look at the label attached to the mattress.

New mattresses usually will have a white tag attached to it that indicates that the mattress contains all “new materials.” According to the Federal Trade Commission, federal law requires that any mattress that contains used stuffing bear a tag or label with that information. If you do not see any tag, consider doing business with another retailer.

The Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston and South Texas and the Federal Trade Commission also offer the following tips when selecting a mattress:

Shop around. Mattress prices and quality vary greatly. Research the business itself online and check BBBHouston.org to read customer reviews and complaints, before you make your purchase.

Decide on the type of mattress you prefer. Whether you like spring or foam mattresses, it is your ultimate decision as to the type of mattress you select. It is important to research these varieties ahead of time, so you are an informed shopper.

Test the mattress. Visit the mattress seller and try out some mattresses, testing how they feel in your usual sleeping position. Pick the mattress that feels the best after you test it. Take your time, and avoid making a quick decision.

Ask if the retailer sells used bedding. If so, and you want a new mattress, make sure your mattress has a “new” mattress tag. Make sure you look at the tag on the actual mattress you’re buying, either before you leave the store or before the delivery person leaves your house. Don’t let the heavy plastic wrapping stop you from looking for the tag.

Ask the retailer to write “new” on your sales receipt if you’ve been told you’re buying a new mattress. If it turns out that the mattress is used, you’ll have stronger recourse.

Avoid retailers with mattresses that don’t carry tags. You simply don’t know what you’re getting, regardless of what the salesperson claims. It’s what’s in writing that counts.

Understand the store’s policies in advance. Ask about the retailer’s return and refund policies, and get copies in writing. Some stores have restrictions on returns, so you will want to read the return policy before you buy.

The Better Business Bureau is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Visit www.bbbhouston.org or call 713-868-9500. Leah Napoliello is senior director of Investigative Services with the BBB of Greater Houston and South Texas. Send questions to Leah Napoliello, Better Business Bureau, 1333 West Loop South, Suite 1200, Houston, TX 77027, or e-mail lnapoliello@bbbhou.org. Include your mailing address and phone number.

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