Returning A Mattress: What You Should Know Before You Buy – 2018


Top Reasons For Returning
Returns Not Always Allowed
Return Policy Maximums & Minimums
Money-Back Polices
Exchange Policies
The Return Process
Return Policy By Mattress Type
Return Policies of Major Mattress Retailers

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, or hip pain.

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

Chart 1: Main reasons for wanting to return a mattress*

reasons to return a mattress
* Based on 27,204 mattress owner experiences.

Returns Not Always Allowed

While the clear majority of mattress retailers offer a return / exchange policy, some offer a very short window (such as three days) or none at all. Such retailers tend to be furniture stores, not dedicated mattress stores.

Chart 2: Mattress retailers Accepting returns
mattress retailers allowing returns

Return Policy Length: Maximums & Minimums


For most mattress retailers, the maximum amount of time that consumers have to return their mattress ranges from three days to 365 days – with 90 days being about average. Online mattress retailers tend to offer a somewhat longer return window than store mattress retailers.

Chart 3: Mattress Retailer Return Window
mattress retailers return maximum


About half of mattress retailers now require that you keep your mattress for a minimum amount of time before you can return it, usually 30 days. 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.

Chart 4: Retailers requiring mattress be kept a minimum amount of time
mattress retailers with return minimums

Money-Back Policies

While a money-back policy is becoming more common among mattress retailers, about 40% nevertheless do not offer one. Furniture or department stores that sell mattresses sometimes offer store credit instead of money back.

Getting your money back may cost you. Money-back policies especially for store retailers often involve fees – such as return transport and restocking fees – ranging from $80-$500 depending on several factors, with the average fee being about $150. Online mattress retailers are less likely than store retailers to charge a fee.

Chart 4: Mattress Retailers Offering Money Back
mattress retailers money back

Exchange Policies

Most mattress retailers, assuming they sell more than one mattress model, offer a one-time mattress exchange – sometimes instead of a money-back policy.

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 many reports of consumers wanting to exchange their mattress only to find that the store they bought from does not have another mattress that they are interested in.

Exchanging a mattress may cost you. Fees to exchange a mattress often range from $80-$500 depending on several factors, with the average fee being about $150 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.

The Return Process

Returning a mattress to a store 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 – namely memory foam mattress companies – offer a return process similar to that of store 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.


Oftentimes, 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.

Returned mattresses that are recycled do not often require the above conditions.

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.

Return Policies By Mattress Type

The table below evaluates the return policies of the different types of mattresses. Keep in mind that the following ratings are averages and that a particular brand may rate different from its category.

  Spring Hybrid Memory Foam Air Latex
Long Maximums B- B B A A
No Minimums C+ C+ B+ D B
No Return Fees D D A- C D
Easy Return Process A- A- A- D B-
No Conditions D D b D C

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.

Sleep Like The Dead's mattress research in The News –

About our mattress research

Findings are based on 25,500+ 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.





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