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When purchasing a new mattress, the conditions of the warranty should be one of your primary considerations. How long is the warranty valid? What are the prorated and non-prorated terms? How does the warranty address issues like sagging? These are some of the questions that all potential mattress buyers should ask before finalizing the sale. This guide will cover key terminology, processes and risk factors associated with mattress warranties. But first, let’s discuss some basic information about what warranties are and what they are designed to do.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines a warranty as a promise made by a seller or manufacturer to ‘stand behind’ a given product. A warranty guarantees that any product sold with structural flaws, faulty parts or other defects will be replaced or repaired at no added expense to the buyer. For this reason, most major purchases ― such as automobiles, homes, household appliances and electronic devices ― come with some sort of warranty. Per federal law, all product warranties must be available to consumers before a purchase is made.
For mattresses, two types of warranties typically apply.
For example, ‘warranty of merchantability’ is a promise that a mattress sold to a customer will provide a suitable place for sleeping. If the customer chooses to buy a self-heating mattress, then ‘warrant of fitness’ guarantees the mattress will be self-heating.
It’s important to note that even products not covered by a written warranty are still protected under implied warranties unless the product is sold ‘as is’ to the consumer. ‘As is’ sales are prohibited by law in several states and the District of Columbia.
Next, let’s look at problems that are protected ― and are not protected ― under most mattress warranties. Although specific warranty conditions vary between brands and sellers, most mattress warranties include certain conditions.
Sagging, or sinking, is the most common mattress defect covered under warranty. Today’s mattresses are designed to retain a firm, comfortable shape for long periods of time. While some sagging will naturally occur after years of use, premature or excessive sagging is often the result of a product defect ― faulty inner springs, in most cases.
Mattress warranties will include a specific sagging depth; if the mattress sags below this threshold, then the manufacturer must replace the product free-of-charge. The sagging depth for most mattress warranties is 1.5 inches, although the warranties for some brands ― such as Tempur-Pedic, Serta and Tuft + Needle ― will cover products that sink more than three-quarters of an inch. To accurately measure the sagging depth, first stretch a length of string over the entire width of a fully stripped mattress; when the line is taut, use a ruler or tape to measure the distance between the string and the deepest indentation.
Other physical defects covered under most mattress warranties include:
Warranties are designed to protect consumers against product defects, but not normal wear and tear that occurs after prolonged use. For mattresses, normal wear and tear may include:
Furthermore, warranties do not cover structural damage caused by the owner. Examples include scuffs or tears that occur when moving, pet-related scratches or bites, and permanent indentations caused by someone jumping or falling on the mattress.
Another important consideration: mattress warranties do not guarantee that the buyer will ‘like’ the mattress after using it, or that he or she will be satisfied with the product for as long as the warranty is valid. Unless caused by a measurable product defect, problems like ‘reduced comfort’ or ‘lack of softness’ are considered normal wear and tear, and will not be covered under standard mattress warranties.
Finally, warranties will not cover the cost of replacing non-defective pieces or parts. If, for example, a mattress comes with a single defect, then the manufacturer or seller is only responsible for replacing that particular component.
The most common factors that lead to a mattress warranty being voided by the seller or manufacturer include the following:
Next, let’s take a closer look at warranty length and mattress lifespan expectations. For the purposes of this guide, the ‘lifespan’ of a mattress is the length of time it is considered useful and comfortable for sleeping.
Many buyers assume that a warranty will cover a mattress for its entire lifespan. However, this is rarely the case. According to a recent survey by Sleep Like the Dead, the lifespan of a mattress usually falls short of the warranty length. Findings from this survey are featured in the table to the right.
The Better Sleep Council notes that most good-quality mattresses should be replaced after seven years ― regardless of the warranty length. For this reason, prospective buyers should carefully consider purchasing a mattress with a warranty that extends beyond 10 years.
Warranty coverage is not always cut-and-dry when it comes to costs for the owner. Most warranties include non-prorated and prorated coverage.
Mattress buyers should carefully study the non-prorated and prorated terms of their mattress warranty. The two most important considerations are:
If a mattress is defective or not performing up to par with the conditions of its written and implied warranties, then the owner is most likely eligible to file a warranty claim. Consumers should be aware of certain costs they stand to incur during the claim-filing process.
Now that you’re familiar with standard mattress warranties, let’s compare the length, non-prorated/prorated terms, sagging depth and other warranty terms for some of the nation’s leading mattress brands.
|Brand||Warranty Length||Non-prorated/Prorated Coverage||Body Impression Depth||Additional details|
|Tempur-Pedic||10 years||Non-prorated coverage for the entire 10-year warranty, with the exception of transportation, removal and inspection costs.||.75 in.|
|Sleep Number||25 years||Non-prorated for the first 2 years. Years 3-20 include prorated coverage; owner is responsible for 20% of costs, plus 4% for each year since original purchase or invoice date (whichever occurred later). Years 21-25 are prorated; owner is responsible for 96% of costs.||n/a||Some Sleep Number products feature a SleepIQ® module. Regardless of the product’s warranty, the module will be covered under separate warranty for up to 2 years.|
|Simmons Beautyrest||1, 3, 5, or 10 years||For all products sold since March 2015: non-prorated coverage for the entire warranty, with the exception of transportation, removal and inspection costs.||.75 in. for products with ‘P’ warranty code; 1.5 in. for all remaining products.|
|Ikea||25 years||n/a||n/a||Ikea offers a 90-day exchange policy for any customer not satisfied with their new mattress.|
|Serta iComfort||5, 10, 20 or 25 years||5- and 10-year warranties are non-prorated for the entire warranty length. 20-year warranties include prorated coverage after 10 years; the owner responsible for 1/20 of costs. 25-year warranties include prorated coverage after 15 years; the owner responsible for 1/25 of costs.||.75 in.||Bed frames with center bars that extend to the floor must be used to support king- and queen- sized mattresses; otherwise the warranty may be voided.|
|Sealy Posturepedic||Most products come with a 3-, 5- or 10-year warranty.||Varies by model. Most 3- and 5-year warranties include non-prorated coverage for the entire warranty length. Some 10-year warranties also have entirely non-prorated coverage, while prorated coverage will kick in for others after 5 years.||1.5 in. for latex or innerspring mattresses; .75 in. for foam mattresses|
|Casper||10 years||Non-prorated coverage for the entire 10-year warranty, with the exception of transportation, removal and inspection costs.||n/a|
|Tuft and Needle||10 years||Non-prorated coverage for the entire 10-year warranty, with the exception of transportation, removal and inspection costs.||.75 in.|
|Purple||10 years||1 in.||The zippered cover of some Purple mattress models comes with a 2-year warranty.|
|Ghostbed||20 years||Non-prorated coverage for the first 10 years. During the 11th year, the owner will be responsible for 50% of costs; this figure will increase in 5% increments for each successive year.||1 in.||Some mattresses include an outer cover, which is covered under a separate 1-year warranty.|
|Leesa||10 years||1 in.|
A mattress warranty ensures that the manufacturer or seller will cover costs related to defects and other specific problems. You can further protect yourself from by exercising the following precautions:
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