With mattresses often being a significant investment, many people are looking for cheaper mattresses; this usually means finding non-traditional ways to acquire the mattress, which could lead to getting taken advantage of with somebody selling you a fake mattress.
But how can you spot a fake mattress, and what are some different types of mattress scams you should watch out for? Read this detailed guide to find out.
What Are Mattress Scams And Fake Mattresses?
Mattress scams come in various forms, such as somebody finding old mattresses and reselling them as new. In the best-case scenario, they pick up old mattresses from online marketplaces, clean them up and then resell them as new; in the worst-case scenario, they find mattresses thrown out on the street and clean those up for resale.
Whatever the case, you’re not getting a new mattress, and it’s hugely unhygienic. You don’t know what’s inside the mattress or how well it’s been cleaned. You could be introducing bed bugs to your home, and there could be mold or other unpleasant surprises hiding inside the mattress.
Another type of mattress scam involves buying a very cheap new mattress and reselling it for double or triple the price. For example, if you search on Amazon for “cheap mattress” you’ll find a lot of low budget mattresses with prices ranging from £55-60 for a single size or £70-£80 for a double size.
A person can buy a low budget mattress and then resell it for double or triple the price, claiming that it’s a high quality product. They may go as far as putting a fake label of a more well known brand to justify the higher price.
How to Spot a Fake Tempur Mattress?
If you find a Tempur mattress that is sold for a low price (less than £1,100 for a double size) chances are that it’s fake. An average price of a Tempur mattress is £1,100-£2,300 for a double size depending on the model. (In this guide you can read more about why Tempur mattresses are so expensive).
A second way to spot a fake Tempur mattress is by checking the retailer that sells it. In the UK, you can buy a Tempur mattress only from Tempur’s official website or their official brand stores, and from well-known bed retailers such as: Dreams, Bensons for Beds, John Lewis and a few others.
Shopping Tip: Check out our review of the Tempur One mattress which is one of the most affordable models.
It’s priced at £1,299.99 for a double size and it’s available in soft, medium or firm comfort level. It’s made of luxury memory foam, which is very comfortable and supportive and comes with 10 year guarantee.
Beware of Mattress Scams:
Most people know the general components they want from a mattress, such as memory foam, pocket springs, or latex, but don’t know how to verify the mattress is made from this material. So instead, people trust what the seller is telling them or check the tags and brand of the mattress online.
Scammers can also make some bold claims such as that the mattress: is hypoallergenic, has anti-dustmite properties, is Made in Britain, is fire resistant, etc. However, in reality you this might not be the case.
Dangers of Fake Mattresses
You may be wasting your money on a poor-quality mattress that won’t give you any of the reported benefits, and you’ll soon have to replace it.
1. Unhygienic. Used mattresses have also been found to be filled with old dead skin, urine, and other dangerous organic and chemical components that can make you sick or even kill you.
2. Fire Hazard. Another reason to be concerned is that the fake mattress may not have the proper UK fire safety certification. All mattresses, beds and divan bases should comply with British safety standards. They should be resistant to fire ignition and not pose any fire risks.
3. Uncomfortable. Once you try out your new mattress you’ll most likely find out that it’s uncomfortable and you’re not able to sleep well. You might be tossing and turning during the night, trying to find a comfortable spot. And in the worst case scenario, you might suffer from back pain because your mattress is not properly supporting your body.
5 Ways to Spot a Scam Mattress Seller:
Consider where you’re getting your mattress from and how much you’re paying for the mattress.
1. Scam Sellers Coming To Your Door
Somebody knocking on your door to sell you a mattress may seem strange, but if they’re offering a great deal and appear to be in a uniform, with paperwork and brochures, then you might think they’re a legit seller that’s just trying to get customers directly.
There are a few scenarios scammers use when selling door to door; either they’re stealing your information, including your credit card details, and you’ll never get your mattress, only a surprise later with your identity being stolen. Otherwise, you may pay on delivery, but the mattress is fake, and when you try to return it or complain, you find the scammer has disappeared, and the store doesn’t exist.
A few years ago the National Bed Federation (NBF) warned customers about “cheap” mattresses sold from the back of vans. Vans are made to look legitimate by having advertising signs posing to be a legitimate mattress business. The drivers of these vans approach people on the street and offer them bargain deals on mattresses.
If any deal sounds too good to be true, then ask to visit their store to see the mattress in person.
2. Bargain Prices
Compare the price of the mattress you’re buying online to similar products. Big brands that operate physical stores often have higher prices, and smaller companies can undercut them on price, but not by ridiculous amounts. So if the mattress seems too cheap, it may be because the product is cheap and not as advertised.
If all prices online are in a certain range and the mattress you’re looking at is well below that, you need to ask yourself how they can sell it for so cheap and make a profit.
3. Online Marketplaces
Gumtree, Craigslist, eBay, Facebook and other online marketplaces are good options for finding used mattresses, but it’s not that often you’ll find legitimate sellers offering high-quality new mattresses for amazing prices.
If a seller appears to be a business rather than an individual, is selling many mattresses, and the prices are too good to be true, then it’s likely a scam.
4. You Can’t Verify The Seller
If you really want to buy a mattress from unconventional places, you should do some research and verification of the mattress and seller before providing any money.
- Ask the seller why it’s so cheap, what materials is it made of, and where was it constructed?
- Physically see the mattress before buying it, do both sides feel as expected, is there a distinctive topper on one side, are there smells, bounce on it to feel or hear anything inside.
- Verify the seller’s company name, phone number, and other details online to see if there are any scam reports or even a legit website or company details available.
5. Seller Can’t Issue a Sales Receipt
When purchasing a mattress, you should receive a sales receipt, which is a proof that you’ve bought the product. Also, check if the mattress comes with a guarantee and warranty. Most companies offer a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 10 year warranty on new mattresses.
How Do You Check that a Mattress isn’t Fake?
There are a few things you can check to determine if your mattress is fake, they’re not guaranteed, and a skilled scammer can make sure to cover these areas, but they’re worth checking to rule out obvious issues with a mattress that scream fake mattress.
1. Check The Tag
Mattresses should have some kind of tag sewn into them; this will often have details on materials used, country of origin, brand name, and a host of other information.
If your mattress doesn’t have a tag or the details on the tag don’t match what the seller is telling you, then it’s likely a scam, or at the very least, the seller is misrepresenting what you’re getting.
2. Check The Thickness
Mattresses have minimum recommended thicknesses; 8 inches is the bare minimum you want from a quality mattress. You’ll also find that certain kinds of mattresses like memory foam and latex are even thicker due to the added materials and components inside them.
Check how thick your mattress is; is it less than 8 inches, then you’re most likely not getting a good quality mattress. You can also check how the thickness compares to other similar products online, is it much thinner than expected?
3. Check The Weight
It’s going to be difficult to actually weigh a mattress, especially if you’re buying larger sizes like a queen size mattress, but in general, you should be expecting 25 – 70 kgs, so how heavy does the mattress feel when you lift the corners or when you and your partner try to lift it together. You can even ask the seller how heavy it is; they should know the physical dimensions and weight.
It could be a scam if the mattress doesn’t seem heavy enough for the materials used. Google is your friend so check online to see how heavy that style of mattress should be. It’ll be obvious if it’s not really made from the materials the seller is saying.
4. Check The Feel
Sit or lay on the mattress, push it, bounce on it, listen to how the internal parts of the mattress sound and how it feels. Make sure you check both sides of the mattress to see if they feel very different.
If you can hear springs in a memory foam mattress, or the bottom of the mattress feels very different from the top, then it may be a scam. Ask the seller about what you’re feeling or seeing and see how they respond or what the explanation is. Be careful not to purchase a mattress that is too firm, or too soft, otherwise it can lead to poor sleep experience and even back pain.
If You Get Scammed, What Do You Do?
1. Contact The Seller
If there’s a problem with the mattress, your first step would be to contact the seller. However, if they’re unwilling to help or you can’t reach them, you may be out of luck.
Most mattresses should have some kind of warranty for problems, or a legitimate business should be willing to assist with any issues, even provide recommendations for issues you may have.
2. Keep Records
Write down everything you know about the scammer, physical description, contact information you do have, any license plate numbers for them or their delivery vehicles, including a description of the cars.
Any information you can remember or get will be valuable to provide to the police.
3. Contact The Citizen Advice
Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline, who can help with a wide range of consumer issues and problems. Their customer helpline phone number is: 0808 223 1133
Any information you can provide about how the scammers contacted you, who they are and their vehicles, and even contact information will be worthwhile to provide.
It’s far better to spot mattress scams and not buy them rather than try to recover your money as you often don’t have much recourse after you’ve parted with your money with scammers, especially when you never visited a physical store or even received the mattress at all.
- Don’t buy new mattresses from online marketplaces.
- Don’t provide your details or payment to door-to-door salespeople; visit their store in person if you like the deals.
- Verify the seller, mattress details, and prices online to see if your deal is too good to be true. Don’t let the hope of a fantastic deal let you get scammed.
- Only buy from verified and well known brands. Check out our list of top 10 mattresses, which are made from premium materials, come with 10 year guarantee and a home trial.