I was reading the local newspaper over the weekend and noticed an advertisement for a mattress sale. I first saw that there were some well known brands on sale, but then I saw that there was an inventory close out sale for last year models or some slightly soiled mattresses! My first thought was yuck and then I did some research to discover that it is legal in most parts of the country for a retailer to sell a used or soiled mattress!
The FTC says that depending on the state, used mattresses may contain a tag, sometimes red or yellow in color, which warns that the mattress contains used materials. Federal law requires that any mattress that contains used stuffing bear a tag or label with that information. If you don’t see any tag, consider doing business with another retailer. Not all states have labeling requirements for the sale of used mattresses and for those that do the requirements can vary. In many states, old mattresses that have been recovered with new ticking (strong, tightly woven cotton or linen fabric) can be sold as long as they are sanitized or disinfected in some way before sale. In other states, only certain parts of mattresses, such as the springs, can be reused. These rules apply to traditional retailers as well as to thrift, secondhand, and consignment shops.
The Indiana Department of Health states that secondhand mattresses must be labeled with a yellow tag listing the kind of materials used in the filling, a notification alerting the consumer that the mattress or materials used in the filling are secondhand, and a permit number of the processor who either sterilized or disinfected the secondhand mattress or filling materials.
Mattress Shopping Tips:
¢Ask if the retailer sells used bedding. If so, and you want a new mattress; make sure your mattress has a new mattress tag.
¢Make sure you look at the tag on the actual mattress you’re buying either before you leave the store or before the delivery person leaves your house. Don’t let the heavy plastic wrapping stop you from looking for and at the tag.
¢Ask the retailer to write new on your sales receipt if you’ve been told you’re buying a new mattress. If it turns out that the mattress is used, you’ll have a stronger recourse.
¢Avoid retailers with mattresses that don’t carry tags.
¢Ask about the retailer’s return and refund policies, and get copies in writing.
The agency that regulates mattress labeling varies by state. To find out what the bedding laws are in your state, contact the State Departments of Health, Consumer Affairs, Agriculture, or Licensing.