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Mattress Ratings > Returning a Mattress

Returning a Mattress: What You Should Know Before You Buy

Based on 18,400 Mattress Owner Experiences

September 19, 2014

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.

An increasing number of retailers require that you keep your mattress for a certain amount of time, such as one month, before you can return it. This is done 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 that they are not satisfied with the mattress do not like having 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. (See the mattress retailer comparison for return policies for many major mattress retailers.) 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 transportation and restocking fees. As a result, on average, about $220 is deducted from the money back that a consumer receives. 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 only allows 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 can range from $50-$500 depending on several factors, with the average fee being about $220 which often includes 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.

Online Retailers vs Showroom 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 fees. While online retailers may be more generous with their return policies, getting the mattress back to them can often be more of a hassle than what is the case with showroom retailers.

When you return a mattress to a showroom retailer, they often send out their own truck and simply take the mattress out of your home. But when you want to send a mattress back to an online retailer, the shipping method is usually FedEx or UPS. This means that your 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 physically 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.

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

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


– 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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