-> #1 in Sleep Product Research
-> Unbiased and Independent
-> Millions Served Since 2008

Returning a Mattress: What You Should Know Before You Buy

Based on 22,439 Mattress Owner Experiences

June 25, 2016

What You Need To Know

Our research shows that about 10% of mattress consumers return their mattress, and at least another 10% 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

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

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

Chart: Main reasons for wanting to return a mattress

reasons to return a mattress

Return Policy Length: Maximums & Minimums


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 100 days or longer. Our research suggests that the majority of new mattress owners know within one month whether they like their mattress. As a result, these longer return periods often 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 an amount of time, usually 30 days, before you can return it. Some of these retailers, however, give you the option of returning your mattress early, but a fee may be charged to do so.

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 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 Policies

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 more likely to offer no-fee money-back returns than are traditional / brick & mortar retailers.

Exchange Policies

Most mattress retailers offer a one-time mattress exchange. (A few may 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 not usually 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, it is wise to use a mattress protector at least until you are sure that you will keep the mattress. Indeed, to be eligible to use the return policy, many retailers now require that a mattress protector be used.

In addition, return policies usually apply to mattresses and foundations only and exclude adjustable / motorized bed frames, demos, and closeouts as well as any accessories that may have come with the mattress such as pillows.

Online Vs Brick & Mortar Retailers

Return Process

Returning a mattress to a brick & mortar retailer usually involves them sending one of their trucks to your home to pick it up.

For online retailers, the process can vary considerably depending on the retailer. Most of the newer online mattress companies (those in business since 2013), such as Casper and Leesa, offer a return process similar to that of brick & mortar retailers in that a courier removes the mattress from your home and no shipping preparation is usually necessary.

By contrast, for the more established online mattress retailers such as Amazon, the return process can be a greater hassle as it often involves using FedEx or UPS. This means that the mattress will need to be prepared for shipping by the consumer which may include wrapping and or boxing the mattress. And if the mattress is dirtied or damaged during return shipping, the retailer may not provide a full refund. Consequently, due to the return shipping hassle, some consumers do not bother to return their mattress.

Return Fees

In regard to fees, online mattress retailers tend to offer more generous return policies than brick & mortar retailers. Smaller online retailers – particularly the newer online mattress companies mentioned above – tend to offer a full money-back guarantee with no return shipping / disposal fees. Larger online retailers, such as Amazon, can be somewhat less generous. (See the return policies of larger online mattress retailers.)

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

Return Policies of Major Mattress Retailers

Return policies among mattress retailers can vary considerably. See the mattress retailer comparison for the policies of major mattress retailers in your state.

About our mattress research

Findings are based on 22,400+ mattress owner experiences collected from diverse, credible sources. Learn more about our research methodology.


– 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.

SLEEP PRODUCT RESEARCH: Mattress ReviewsMattress Topper ReviewsPillow ReviewsBed Sheet ReviewsWhite Noise Machine ReviewsSleeping Pill ReviewsSleep Hygiene Products

ABOUT SLEEP LIKE THE DEAD: Our StoryContactSitemapPrivacy Policy

IN THE NEWS: Sleep Like The Dead's research findings have appeared in such news publications as Barron's • Toronto Star • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Edmonton Journal • Woman's World • The Consumerist • The Gazette • Ottawa Citizen

© 2007-2017 SLTD, Inc. • Copyright Violation Notice