Part 3: Bed-buying commandments
Since all of the well-known bed manufacturers offer quality mattresses and box springs, it doesn’t matter which of the major brands you choose, or whether you shop at a department store like The Bay or a warehouse chain like The Brick. The right model is any one that suits your personal preferences and the following conditions:
You can send the mattress back
While it’s great to bounce around on your would-be bed in the store, you have to spend several full nights on it to know for sure if it’s a bed of roses or thorns. The store should give you at least two weeks to try out your new mattress set at home, and some will accept returns as much as two or three months after the day you bought it.
The “New material only” tag is intact
Make sure you’re getting a brand-new, pristine bed set. Some retailers sell refurbished mattresses and box springs at attractive prices, but watch out: a few sleazy vendors have been discovered peddling soiled and vermin-filled second-hand beds in the United States.
You’re protected by the manufacturer’s warranty
Most mattress and box-spring makers offer a 10-year warranty, but you need to check the fine print for conditions. Many warranties are rendered invalid if you don’t buy a new box spring as well; others are null and void if there’s evidence the mattress hasn’t been truned or if a family pet has been sharing the bed. Remember, too, that a warranty is good for things like loose springs; it doesn’t cover comfort-related problems like the crick in your neck. Another thing to look out for is the prorated warranty, in which an annual usage “fee” is subtracted from the replacement cost of the mattress. That means if you try to collect in your seventh year of a 10-year warranty, you could find the rate of compensation shockingly low.
Believe it or not, some stores retain the right to deliver an “equivalent” mattress instead of the one you ordered if the latter isn’t in stock. Make sure this is not an option.
In addition to threse strick guidelines, there are some unwritten rules of mattress shoppping that you can use to your advantage. You want a lower price? Say so. If the salesperson can’t go any lower, insist on free home delivery, and get the movers to pick up your old mattress while they’re there. In short, feel free to negotiate.
From the February 2001 issue.