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Explaining How Mattress Manufacture Warranties Work and are Processed - by an Ex-Mattress Salesperson
Mattress manufacture warranties are important because IF a mattress fails within the warranty timeframe - and you happen to be a consumer who will take advantage of one - it's nice to get a relatively-free mattress replacement.
In fact, if you are a diligent consumer who is constantly frustrated with 10-year mattresses failing on you after 6-8 years or so - you could potentially continue to get a brand new mattress every few years as the manufacturer honors each warranty.
Most people aren't this ambitious, however. This is one of the reasons why mattress manufacturers don't seem to really care if their mattresses will actually last as long as they claim.
IF a mattress is going to fail for legitimate reasons - try to keep this in mind when faced with a warranty claim: Foams usually fail within the first few weeks or months if the mattress turns out to have a bad batch of foam in it. Also, Human people who are capable of making mistakes actually run the machinery and perform finishing details within these factories - so manufacturing defects do happen on occasion.
How do Mattress Manufactures Determine Warranty Timeframes?
Mattress warranty timeframes are largely & easily determined by the material testing that has been done on mattress ingredients. For example, High Density foam is supposed to last longer than lesser-grade foams. So a timeframe of ten years can easily be attributed to a mattress that contains High Density foam - whether it will actually last that long, or not.
The same thing goes with Innerspring Coil Systems... Some are stronger than others, and timeframes are applied, accordingly.
And yeah, sometimes mattress warranty timeframes are exaggerated to help sway customers into believing that a mattress will last longer than it actually will. Be really careful with latex mattresses regarding this.
How Most Mattress Manufacturers Process Warranty Claims
Usually, manufacturers like to process warranty claims through the store you bought it from - so call them to process a claim through them first, if that's possible. Sometimes you no longer live close to the store to do that - you can go through the manufacturer directly by calling their customer service line.
In both situations they will ask for:
1) A copy of your sales paperwork (most stores will still have it on file for you). Especially if it is an older mattress, they may also ask you for additional information that is on the mattress law tag. It is a really good idea to leave the tag on your mattress. It is NOT illegal for the consumer to remove it; but it IS illegal for mattress stores to tamper with this tag.
2) An image of the mattress defect. There needs to be a VISIBLE 2" 'dip' in the mattress - without the weight of a body being on it - in order for a mattress warranty to be claimed (for most 'normal' innerspring mattresses with few exceptions).
To get this image, take the bedclothes off; then put something straight across the mattress top like a board. Set a ruler or yardstick into the dip so that the depth of the indent can be clearly seen & measured without pushing the ruler down into the indent - they can usually tell if you are doing that. You also cannot use any kind of weight to help hold the indent in the foam down.
Yeah, 2" is a pretty deep valley and most people are uncomfortable in a mattress long before it reaches 2 inches. Mattress manufacturers get away with doing this because they basically claim that anything below 2" is NORMAL 'wear & tear' for mattress foam.
This is partially true... You will never find polyfoam that will not create an indent. But, 2 inches is obviously a high standard; especially considering that people are often sleeping seriously misaligned on a mattress before that point.
Manufacturers are free to do as they please in this regard, however; AND this is standard warranty procedure for most US manufacturers.
This is why you want to try to find a good mattress that isn't as likely to develop hills and valleys to begin with - because it can be HARD to get a warranty claim through before you are too uncomfortable on that mattress. And some mattresses are almost impossible to EVER prove they have failed because of how they are constructed.
What are the Typical Reasons for a Mattress Manufacturer to Deny a Warranty Claim?
1) A mattress store CAN'T take back a mattress for ANY reason if the original tag is not still attached. There is often additional information about the mattress contained on the tag - such as the name of the mattress or manufacturing numbers, etc.
2) Many manufacturers will not honor a warranty if the mattress is not on one of THEIR foundations that you purchased with the mattress. So, it isn't a very good idea to not buy a set together.
3) The mattress absolutely has to be clean. There cannot be so much as a speck of a spot on it that anyone can see. Manufactures claim sanitary reasons to do this - and you see many complaints from mattress consumers around the web on almost every mattress manufacturer regarding this issue.
The best way to keep a mattress clean is to not let it get dirty to begin with. Cover it with at least a thin, breathable and water-resistant mattress cover to keep your mattress protected.
Bowing Mattresses are Often do to a Badly-Supported Bed Frame
Many times people try to claim a warranty because they think their mattress has gone bad - but really, the foundation and/or frame underneath the mattress does not have enough support.
If your mattress is bowing, check your frame before you call your mattress store to complain - especially if you had the same problem with your previous mattress. (Yes, this happens a lot.)
Queen-size and King-size bed frames - no matter what kind they are or what they are made of - should have a center support beam beneath them. Always.
A mattress manufacturer will blame a bed frame and not honor a warranty if the frame did not support the mattress properly to begin with.