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Returning a Mattress: Common Return Policies

Last Updated: April, 2024| This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

Spending hundreds of dollars on your dream bed only to find it's not the perfect choice anymore is frustrating, to say the least. However, it's not as frustrating as finding yourself stuck with it. If there's one thing you need to understand, finding a mattress that isn't perfect is more common than you think.

Unfortunately, most mattress retailers either lack mattress return policies or have one that's too short of giving you time to get used to it. And to make it even worse, the few mattress companies with a flexible and generous return policy have strict rules for returning mattresses.

But there's hope. There's no need to get lumbered with a bed you don't like. After all, you don't want to sleep uncomfortably and wake up with pains for years to come. Whether it's unfit for purpose, unsupportive, or uncomfortable, find out how you can return that unwanted mattress.

Why Return Your Mattress?

Not surprisingly, one of the main reasons people seek to return a new mattress is lack of comfort. Even with mattress toppers on them, if you have a mattress that's unsupportive for your personal preference, it can cause discomfort or pain – mostly shoulder, back, or hip pain.

Always sleepy no matter how much sleep you get?

Other factors that may be causing you sleepless nights include:

Heat Retention

Bed heat retention often results in restlessness, poor sleep quality, and excessive sweating. Mattress firmness is one of the main factors that affect heat retention. When sleeping on a softer mattress, you may significantly sink into it.

This restricts airflow around you, thus resulting in heat retention. On the other hand, sleepers who sleep on firm mattresses, including memory foam mattresses with high firmness levels, have more excellent airflow.

But highly conforming firmer beds as specific Tempur-Pedic models come with above-average heat trap potential. This is because they can strongly contour your body curves hence restricting airflow between you and the mattress. Other factors include;

  • Comfort layer composition
  • Mattress type
  • Sleeper weight


Also known as outgassing, off-gassing is an odor that a new bed gives off because of its chemical composition and packaging. Generally, this odor comes about due to VOCs (volatile organic compounds) breakdown, common gases in household products.

Poor Motion Isolation

Motion isolation refers to how effectively your new or old mattress absorbs or localizes your movement. If you sleep with your partner, you need a mattress with sound motion isolation. It should be able to absorb one partner's movement (turning, tossing, and getting in and out of bed) so that the other isn't disturbed.

However, this type of mattress also has its disadvantage. A possible demerit of a good motion isolation mattress is that it often comes with limited, if any, bounce. This negatively affects your mattress' suitability for sex.

Mattress Return Policies to Take Note

Generally, different mattress companies have different mattress return policies. Whether you buy online mattress brands, such as from a Facebook marketplace or the local stores, here are some vital policies to keep in mind.

Money-Back Policies

Although money-back mattress policies are becoming popular among mattress retailers, approximately 40% don't offer one. Instead of full refunds, most mattresses companies offer store credit. Remember, getting a mattress full price refund might cost you more than you think.

Money-back mattress return policies, especially for store mattress companies, often involve restocking fees and return fees. These charges range from $80-$500 depending on various factors, with the average returned mattresses fee being about $150. There's a fair chance that online mattress companies won't charge a fee on return shipping or any other return policy fee than a store mattress retailer.


For most mattress retailers, the maximum time you have to return a mattress ranges from 3 days to 365 days from the purchase date - 90 days is often the average. Online mattress retailers offer a longer return window than store mattress companies.


Nearly half of mattress firms now require that buyers keep their new mattresses for a minimum duration before they can return them for a refund. For such mattress retailers to accept returns, you must sleep on the mattress picked for at least 30 days. This is referred to as the trial period, whereby you're supposed to use your new mattress for a specific time before deciding whether you'll keep it or not.

Some of these mattress retailers, though, give you the chance to return your mattress early. Although this general return policy seems to be too good to resist, you might end up spending more cash as they might charge you to return a mattress before the trial period ends.

Generally, the purpose of this mattress policy is to ensure that you've given your new bed a fair chance and you've allowed the mattress to be broken in. However, buyers who know right away that they aren't satisfied with their bed don't like waiting for a trial period to end so that they can return the mattress.

Some buyers may even resort to sleeping on their old mattresses with mattress toppers or the couch until the risk free trials end. This often occurs if sleeping on the new bed causes them pain.

Exchange Mattress Policies

Remember, most mattress retailers don't like having returned mattresses hanging around. So, instead of money back mattress policies, a mattress retailer may give you a one-time mattress exchange offer (assuming such bed companies sell different mattress models).

That said, if you purchase your mattress from a mattress retailer that only allows exchanges and no full refunds, ensure before you purchase that the company has another bed model that you like just in case you feel like making an exchange. Many reports have been made of customers wanting to exchange their beds only to find that the store or online sales don't feature another bed they're interested in. 

Just like specific money-back policies, exchanging a used mattress may cost you. Charges to exchange a bed range from $80-$500, based on several factors. The average amount is approximately $150, including the redelivery fee. Plus, if the bed you're exchanging for is a bit expensive than the original one, you'll be forced to add the rest.

The Mattress Return Process

Returning your mattress is a pretty straightforward process. The return process is as easy as it gets. Feel like it's time you return your mattress for adjustable beds or a full refund? All you need to do is follow these simple steps.

Learn About the Mattress Return Policy

The first step in the return process is to confirm whether or not your bed is eligible for a full refund. To do this, you can either review emails or paperwork that you received when making a purchase or search the mattress company's website. You also have the option of contacting the mattress company directly.

In instances where you find your bed isn't eligible for a full refund due to the return policy of a specific mattress company, it's wise to call the company to explain to them your concerns. You might end up getting a partial refund or even a discount on a future mattress purchase.

Initiate a Return

Alternatively, if you're eligible for a mattress return, you'll want to follow up for a full refund. Most mattress retailers have returns centers to make the process simple. Call in or look online to learn more about the necessary steps to get the process started.

Follow the Directions You're Given

Here, the mattress retailer will give you the next steps to take. As you already know, the mattress return process is straightforward. So, you're unlikely to have to repack your new memory foam mattress into its original box and present it in its original packaging. 

However, keep in mind that if mattresses come with other accessories such as bed frames, buyers are often responsible for breaking them down in preparation for the return shipping process. The return process significantly varies, depending on the mattress retailer.

For instance, if you want to return a mattress to a physical store service provider, they'll have to send one of their company trucks to your residence to pick it up. But remember, no matter how uncomfortable your mattress is, if it's not faulty or damaged the physical store can only refund you if they have a returns policy.

Some stores only accept returns if the new mattress is unused. So, your bed must be in perfect condition and have its original packaging. This means buyers won't be able to change their minds once they've slept on the mattresses.

Unlike buying in physical stores, purchasing a mattress online gives you the chance to cancel and get your cash back. Even if your bed doesn't have official sleep trials, you can still cancel your order from the purchase date until 14 days from the arrival date under the Consumer Contracts Regulations. Buyers then have another 14 days to return the mattress.

Expect to receive a refund within 14 days. This period is from when the physical retailer gets the goods or from the date you provide evidence of having returned the mattress.

For online mattress brands, though, the process varies considerably based on the mattress retailer. Most of the recent/newer online mattress companies have a return process similar to store retailers - a courier comes to your home, removes the mattress, and no shipping preparation is necessary.

In contrast, the return process can be challenging for the most established online mattress companies like Amazon. This is because it often involves using UPS or FedEx.

Therefore, you'll have to prepare the mattress for shipping, which may include wrapping and boxing it. And if your mattress gets damaged or dirty during return shipping your retailer may not offer a full refund. Consequently, because of the shipping hassle, most buyers don't bother returning their mattresses.

Returning Your Mattress during a Sleep Trial

A good number of mattress retailers now offer a trial period. You can sleep on your mattress at home during your risk free trials and still send the bed back for a refund if you don't like it. Some companies offer generous trial periods going for as long as over 200 nights. 

Other retailers will even collect the mattress free of charge so long as it's within the trial period. Note that you must read and understand the terms and conditions for a specific sleep trial.

For instance, you may find some are exchange-only or don't include delivery, while other return policies are only applicable if you purchase a mattress protector. In certain companies, you'll have to try your new mattress for a minimum of three to four weeks.

Return Process Conditions

Generally, for mattress retailers to accept returns of used mattresses the law tags must be attached. What's more, your mattress shouldn't come with any burns, tears, stains, or soiling. So, you'll be better off using a mattress protector until you're sure that you'll keep the mattress.

According to various mattress industry statistics, many mattress companies either reuse or recycle most unwanted mattresses. That said, returned mattresses that are reused and recycled don't need the above conditions. Plus, return policies often apply to mattress foundations and mattresses. They exclude motorized or adjustable bed frames closeouts and demos, and other accessories that come with mattresses like pillows.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the best mattress to settle for?

With the broad range of mattresses on the market, finding the best one for you can be pretty intimidating. While you can choose a smart bed or a standard memory foam mattress, the best mattresses to go for are those that offer accommodations to all your individual and specific requirements.

Remember, selecting your preferred size and the amount you're willing to spend will help narrow down the lists of beds that best suit your needs. Other vital information to help in your search includes your temperature, sleep positions and pain points.

Final Thoughts

As long as you haven't waited for too long to get the process started and you went through a reliable mattress company, returning your mattress is simple. Just remember to contact the bed company within their trial period, while taking good care of the new mattress in the meantime.

If the return process fails, you can add toppers or adjustable bases and other add-ons to move your mattress closer to your perfect comfort level. Also, feel free to take the mattress to a donation center and give it out to the less fortunate.

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