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Mattress Ratings > Returning a Mattress

Returning a Mattress: What You Should Know Before You Buy

Based on 21,500 Mattress Owner Experiences

May 19, 2015

What You Need To Know

Our research shows that about 15% of mattress consumers return their mattress, and at least another 15% would like to but do not, usually because of unfriendly return policies.

Given these facts, mattress shoppers would be wise to pay attention to retailer return policies and to do everything possible to ensure that their first mattress choice is the right one.

Top Reasons For Returning a Mattress

Not surprising, the main reason people seek to return their mattress is a lack of comfort. A mattress that is either too soft or too firm for one's personal preference, body type or sleeping position can cause discomfort or pain, usually shoulder, hip and or back pain.

Less common reasons people seek to return their mattress include excessive off gassing odor, heat retention, and unsuitability for love making.

Return Policy Length

Most mattress retailers give the buyer at least one month to return a mattress for an exchange or possibly a refund.

Some mattress retailers try to differentiate themselves by having extended return periods, such as 90 days or longer. Our research suggests that the vast majority of new mattress owners know within one month whether they like their mattress. As a result, these longer return periods usually do not have much actual value to owners, but they can provide peace of mind.

At least 35% of mattress retailers now require that you keep your mattress for a certain amount of time, usually 30 days, before you can return it. Some retailers, however, give you the option of returning your mattress early if you pay a (additional) fee.

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the buyer has given the mattress a fair chance and has allowed the mattress to be broken in. Owners who know right away, however, that they are not satisfied with their mattress do not like having to pay a fee or to wait until they can return it. Some owners report resorting to sleeping on their old bed or a couch until they can return the mattress, especially if it causes them pain.

Money-Back Policy Not Universal

While a money-back policy is becoming more common among mattress retailers about half of them do not offer one. Furniture or department stores that sell mattresses sometimes offer store credit instead of money back.

Getting your money back will often cost you. Money-back policies often involve fees – such as return transport and restocking fees – ranging from $50-$500 depending on several factors, with the average fee being about $220. Online mattress retailers are somewhat more likely to offer no-fee money-back returns than are traditional / showroom retailers.

Exchange Policy Common

Most mattress retailers offer a one-time mattress exchange. (A few allow more than one or even unlimited exchanges within the return policy time frame.)

If you buy from a retailer that allows only exchanges and no refunds, then you would be wise to make sure before you buy that the store has another mattress model that you like in case you need to make an exchange. There are several reports of a consumer wanting to exchange his mattress only to find that the store he bought from does not have another mattress that he is interested in.

Exchanges are usually not free. Fees to exchange a mattress often range from $50-$500 depending on several factors, with the average fee being about $220 including the redelivery fee.

Also, if the mattress you are exchanging for is more expensive than the original, you will have to make up the difference.

These various costs cause some people to not return their mattress even though they are unhappy with it. These people, as a result, end up tolerating their mattress, or in some cases they sell it (craigslist and ebay are often used), and or they may even go back to their old mattress assuming it was not taken away when the new mattress was delivered.


For a mattress to be eligible for return, the law tags must be attached and the mattress must have no soiling, dirt, stains, burns or tears. Therefore, using a mattress protector is wise at least until you are sure that you will keep the mattress.

In addition, return policies usually apply to mattresses and foundations only and exclude adjustable / motorized bed frames, demos, and closeouts.

Online Vs Traditional Retailers

Online mattress retailers tend to offer more generous return policies than traditional, showroom retailers. It is not uncommon for online retailers to offer a money-back guarantee, and some may also pay return shipping or disposal fees.

While online retailers may be more generous with their return policies, getting the mattress back to them can in many cases be a hassle.

Sending a mattress back to an online retailer often involves using FedEx or UPS. This means that the mattress will need to be prepared for shipping by you which may include wrapping and or boxing the mattress. Depending on the retailer's policy, you may also have to take the mattress yourself to a shipping store as opposed to the mattress being picked up at your home. Finally, if the mattress is dirtied or damaged during return shipping, the retailer may not provide a full refund.

Consequently, it is not uncommon for people who bought online to not return a mattress that they are dissatisfied with because of the return shipping hassle involved.

However, a small number of newer online mattress companies, such as Casper and Leesa, offer a return process similar to that of a traditional retailer in that a courier (if available in your area) removes the mattress from your home and no shipping preparation is necessary.

Learn more about the pros and cons of buying a mattress online.

Return Policies of Major Mattress Retailers

The return policies among mattress retailers, including fees, can vary considerably. See the mattress retailer comparison for the policies of major mattress retailers in your state.


– While some mattress retailers permit exchanges at no cost, most charge a $50-$500 exchange / restocking fee, which may or may not include a redelivery fee.

– An increasing number of retailers require that you keep your mattress for a certain amount of time, such as 30 days, before you are eligible to return it.

– While a money-back policy is becoming more common among mattress retailers, about half of them do not offer one.

– While online retailers may tend to have more generous return policies, getting the mattress back to them can be a hassle.

– Educating oneself about mattresses (even a little) before buying can go a long way toward avoiding a buying mistake.

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