Why is there such a problem with Buying a Mattress?


The Major Mattress Buying Issue: "It's All in the Name!"


Mattress Buying Sales Tactics


Mattress Warranty Problems and WARNINGS!


What Mattresses are Better?


How to Buy a Mattress: Step by Step!


Memory Foam and Waterproof Mattress Covers & Toppers


3 Steps to Save $430 when buying a mattress


How to Buy a Mattress Step 1: Determine Your Size & Budget

Determining and sticking to your budget is the very first step to winning the war with the mattress sales shark. Mattresses can range in price from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand, with many choices at all levels.

Typically, there are three distinct levels of prices for your common spring mattresses and a fourth for the specialty mattresses (memory foam and sleep number, for example). The first is less than $500, then the $500 - $1000, and over $1000. The specialty mattresses can go upwards of $6,000 so they are in a class by themselves at that range. Those same specialty mattresses, in the entry-level models, can be had for just under $1,000. Basically you’ll see a lot of ads for $299-$499, $599-$899, and $1299-$1999 when it comes to the traditional coil spring mattresses.

Keep in mind when you are going through your comparison/comfort testing process that the price stated, sale or not, is almost always higher than what you are going to end up paying. We’ll discuss this in more detail later but just keep it in mind. A good suggestion is to hover around the upper range and maybe slightly over your budget when you are comfort testing.

Decide your size first based on your space needs, both on and off the bed. You can make some adjustments for budget, but don’t let that drive your decision.
If there are two people sleeping in the bed, you should shoot for at least a queen, but a full will do if the sleepers are not too big and you can save a few bucks. A single sleeper should shoot for a full, but a twin will do if it’s a budget constraint.

See the handy size chart here.

The next steps will involve actually testing mattresses. Very very important: a mattress test should involve lying on a mattress for at least 15 minute. Do not cheat here. Let your body relax. You can’t get a good idea of how a mattress actually feels to your body until you’ve been on it for at least 15 minutes. This will allow the mattress to compress more fully.


Step 2: Traditional or Specialty

You probably know what a traditional mattress feels like but many people have never tested out one of the specialty mattresses such as Tempur Pedic memory foam or Select Comfort’s Sleep Number bed. If your budget is above $800 and you have not been on one of these, it may be worth while to check them out. As stated before, everyone is different and there is no use in listening to someone’s claims or reading a review on how these mattresses perform, you need to just try them out and decide if they’re worth considering for your next mattress.

So at this point you have a budget and depending on that budget and your feelings for the specialties, you know whether you’re going just traditional coil spring or keeping the specialty option open as well.

Step 2 ½: You’re Sold on Specialty Bedding

It wasn’t the claims of “space age technology” or the highly paid actors in the commercials. You went, you tested, you fell in love.

If you have decided you want memory foam, Sleep Number, or some other specialty bedding, your decision process gets a lot easier here. It’s really a matter of how much you want to spend for what features (mainly thickness & frame/furnishing and cooling related choices). There is little mystery at this point and you just need to keep your newly gained sales pitch knowledge (from previous pages here) and your budget in tact, and you should see that the “you get what you pay for” adage holds mostly true in this arena. If you’re looking to stay under $1,000, you’re getting the entry level model.

Step 3: Firm, Soft, or Pillow Top

This is a pretty straightforward step. Figuring this out first will help you a lot when moving on to the next step. The goal here is to have an efficient process to get you the best bed for your bucks. We want to avoid going in circles and back and forth between various models, styles, colors, etc. Remember: the sales vulture attacks best when his victim is confused. Stay focused. You may already know, but if you don’t make it your first goal to find out: do you want a firm bed, a soft bed, and do you want a pillow top on it? Don’t worry about euro-pillow or whatever. Just cut to the chase and make a decision. If there is what appears to be a large rectangular pillow stitched to the top of the mattress, it’s a pillow top. Don’t worry if they call it something different. Your goal is to determine whether or not you want it, not to figure out what they call it. In a lot of cases the pillow top is the same padding that would be under the cover of the mattress, but it just looks more luxurious when they present it as a clearly visible special feature!

When you go on to step 4, stick with the style you chose. DON’T let the vultures put you in anything else for it will only introduce confusion!


Step 4: Traditional Coil Spring Comparisons (with your style from step 3)

Names that don't change are known as line up names and some examples are Beautyrest, Posturepedic, Perfect Sleeper... this is what makes real comparisons doable.

The first thing you need to get straight in your head are the different “line up” models. Just the manufacturer’s model name, not the “exclusive” add-on name after it, like Windsor or Hamilton Cove. Here are is a summary of the majors:

Manufacturer: Line up Models
· Simmons: Beautyrest (mid level to high end)
· King Koil: Perfect Contour (low end), Perfect Contour Comfort Select (mid level), & Perfect Solutions (high end)
· Serta: Perfect Sleeper (low to mid level), Perfect Day (high end)
· Sealy: Posturpedic (mid to high level)

(visit the manufacturers website for the latest info)

Within each of these “line up” models is where you find the dozens of ‘exclusive’ names tacked on to the end – different names for every retail store but as discussed earlier, rarely any major physical variations (within similar price ranges). Shop by the Manufacturer’s line up model. At the end of the day there are a few different levels of each, usually accounting for more or less padding/foam.

The coil structure, different for each Manufacturer’s line up brand, is what you should focus most of your comparison on. The coil design in each of the beds within those models does not change. All Beautyrests are pocket coil, all Perfect Sleepers are continuous coil, all Posturepedics are offset coil. There is no way determine which is a “better” design, it’s all up to personal taste.

So get yourself determined to choose a coil design, or line-up brand, that you prefer. For those in the lower budget range (less than $500), you may not be able to reach all the line-up models…so focus on determining a brand you like first.


Step 5: Price differences, Warranties, and Return Guarantees

So by now you should be narrowed down to a short list of just a few mattresses from at least 3 different stores. You chose your size and budget, you then determined what style, and then determined a specific brand’s line-up model you like best. Now the final stage is to take a look at the manufacturer’s warranty and the guaranty (if any) offered by the store, along with price considerations. Refer to the issues in the Warranty analysis section here at MattressScam.com to compare warranties – remember, just because it’s the same manufacturer, doesn’t mean it’s the same warranty. Inspect the law tag code against the warranty card yourself. DON’T trust what the shark tells you. As we’ve seen from the interviews, they often give misinformation in this category.


The Guaranty – Is it Different from the Warranty?

Unlike the manufacturer’s warranty, the guaranty, if one exists, is established by the retail store. Retailer guaranties vary from store to store. A guaranty is a return policy stating that you can return it to the store if you are unhappy or uncomfortable. You most likely will only find these guarantees in retail chains or larger stores. Forget about it when dealing with the mattress classified ad companies. The importance of the guaranty will vary by person, so consider for yourself whether or not there is a chance you may use it. Also, what will it cost you? There are some return guaranties that will only reimburse you for the cost of half of the new replacement mattress. Considering this scenario, many people would not put any value in that guaranty. Think about it: they are saying that you will pay 100% of the price of the mattress, and if you don’t like it, you’ll pay 150% of the price for a different one (since you already bought the first one). Most people would put their best effort into finding a good mattress the first time. Most of the return guaranties will charge you for shipping, and shipping may be required! This is basically a hidden return fee because if you own a truck and said you wanted to pick up the new one, you would be charged anyway.

Here are some examples of different retailer return guaranties, check the store when you're shopping and try to get a brochure or something you can read for yourself. When I was interviewing sales vultures, often times two people from the same chain would explain their return policy with material differences, even though it was the same policy.

Mattress Discounters in Virginia offers a one time return within a 60 day period. Delivery charge (aka hidden return fee) is mandatory at $70.

Mattress King in the same state offers a 50% discount off of any exchange within one year. Different sales associates for the same chain had different explanations on a policy that you had to keep the mattress for 30 days first.

A gentleman named Buddy at Henrico Furniture in Richmond could not offer me any details, but assured me “the manufacturer will work with you to make it the way you want it.” Like I said, get it in writing.

Be sure to check for these fine print items on retailer return guarantees:

· What additional costs are involved?
· If there is a shipping charge, is it mandatory?
· What is the time limit?
· If they offer a discount rather than full replacement cost (like 50%), what is it 50% of? 50% off the sale price of a new mattress? The retail price? Your original purchase price?

Finalizing the Decision

So the particular store’s guarantee may or may not be of any value to you and the same goes for the warranty, depending on what level of warranty comes with the mattresses on your short list. Most likely at this point your warranty information should be the same since you’ve narrowed your search to a price range, a single brand, and a line-up model within that brand. For example, you should be looking at a few Simmon’s Beautyrest models around $700-$900.

You’ll need to weigh the differences of the warranty, store guaranty, and shipping charges if applicable. Also, ask if the shipping includes the disposal of the old mattress if you need that done. This varied from store to store. Shipping ranged from free to $70.

The sales associate may give you a pitch about service. This is a typical issue and in many cases it should NOT be weighed heavily. You want a sales person that is going to take care of you after you buy a car. You may put a premium on that, and buy from a dealer that may be a bit more expensive but you know they have superior service. Why? Because you're going to be scheduling appointments for maintenance and the likeliness of having to bring it back for some adjustment or minor issue is substantial. You want to be able to call “your guy.” Your mattress, on the other hand, isn’t going in for any tune-ups. Be very careful when giving any weight to the helpfulness of the sales associate selling you a mattress. Ultimately, however, that decision is yours.

The final deciding factor is simply the number. The total price with shipping and/or disposal. At this point, you should let each of your short listed sales associates know that you are considering one of their competitors.


IT MAKES NO SENSE to negotiate or haggle before you’ve decided on a mattress brand/line up model/price range/style. Then you run the risk of the deal making your decision, rather than your comfort or happiness. Go through the process, get settled on a few mattresses, then make the sales associate drop the price. They will do it, as discussed in the sales tactic section earlier.

You see, the big lesson in this section is that the sales tactics don’t influence your decision. You have a narrowed down group of mattresses from a few different stores that you are considering. They should all be the same brand and line-up model (ok if maybe one you couldn’t resist is a different brand), with some funny name like Windsor or Metropolitan tacked on to the end, exclusive to each store.

You have decided they are most comfortable to you. They are within your budget. Now is the time to squeeze a few hundred from the vulture. Anything will probably work. Sit at home and call them on the phone. Let them know you are headed over to so-and-so competitor and just wanted to check if they could do any better before you seal the deal. At this point you are in total control. You know what you want, and you didn’t know that before. It is at this point, when the consumer has confidence, that they can take advantage of the sales associate. This is much preferred over the other way around!

Take a look at the summary of how to save over $400 when buying a mattress

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