Spooky Mattress Tales

Dirty tricks used to be a staple of some of the sleazier folks in the mattress industry. Fortunately, most of the purveyors of this activity have either left the business or closed down.

Caveat emptor – Let the buyer beware.

New or Used Mattress – If you are buying “clearance, discontinued or floor models” there is a really good chance that you are buying used mattresses. Some states require inspections and some sort of sanitation process. This can be as simple as spraying on a disinfectant.

The mattresses are then wrapped in plastic and sold at a bargain to customers looking for a “deal.” In some cases, a less than honest salesperson may not even reveal that the mattress has been used and may claim it was discontinued or last year’s model.

Before accepting any mattress, inspect it carefully. Look at the Law Tag and see if anything has been added like an inspection sticker or something indicating that it has been used.

Smell the mattress. This sounds strange, but a straight from the factory mattress will have a unique foam/factory smell. A used mattress may carry the odor from the previous home or bedroom activity.

Look over the mattress carefully. Any stains or visible body impressions or as some call them “signatures,” may indicate prior usage.

Inspect the mattress while it is still in plastic. If it is factory sealed – i.e. not taped, there is a good chance that it is straight from the factory. If you see an abundance of packing tape, that could mean the retailer has resealed it.


I would be VERY cautious buying from any store that is marketing itself as a discounter, clearance center, outlet or any similar verbiage in the name. It is my experience that the most notorious salespeople usually staff these types of locations. They will tell you whatever you want to hear to make a deal. Mega stores, outlets and clearance centers will have the highest volumes of traffic and the people that staff them have one job – MOVE CLEARANCE.

Some good questions to ask your friendly clearance salesperson:

“Has this mattress/box EVER been in the home of a consumer?”

“Has anyone EVER slept on the mattress/box?”

“Do I get a trial period on this mattress/box?” – Get it in writing before paying.

“Does this mattress/box come with a manufacturer warranty?” – Most manufacturers do NOT cover clearance, outlet, floor models or mixed sets.

With clearance and floor models, you usually do NOT get warranty coverage or even a trial period. Once you sign for the mattress, it belongs to you and it is doubtful the retailer will provide any refund, or exchange the mattress. That friendly salesperson will either suddenly be off a lot, or become quite obstinate.

If you have no problem sleeping in hotels or bringing a mattress into your home that other folks have slept on, clearance/outlet may be the way to go. If your budget is limited, floor models may be a good solution. But be VERY careful. You do not want to inherit another person’s nightmare. Before signing for that mattress, make absolutely sure that there is nothing wrong with it. I’m not referring to “scratch and dent” types of problems – on clearance, outlet and floor models that would be expected. I’m talking about significant damage, stains, smells etc. This could indicate a serious issue with that mattress.

If you do refuse the mattress, immediately call the store and either request another one, or get a refund. If you get a refund, visit a store that sells only new merchandise and get a new mattress with a warranty and trial period. You will sleep better at night.

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