May 11, 2013

Letter to CEO of Mattress Discounters (the west coast version of the company)

To:  Mr. Dale Carlsen, CEO of Mattress Discounters 
Re:  Replacement box springs/foundation

Dear Mr. Carlsen:

In August 2012, I purchased a mattress, box springs, and bed frame from the Mattress Discounters located in Pleasant Hill, CA (Invoice #5XXXXXXXX). Actually, a kindhearted relative purchased it for me. (I am unable to find work in the San Francisco Bay Area at the moment and I have a young daughter, so as you can imagine money is pretty tight.) I desperately needed a new one as my old one was begging to be put out of its misery and long ago had given up any attempts to contain the metal coils within it. This was very painful. The protruding sharp metal coils, I mean.

When choosing the merchant from whom to purchase my new mattress, I chose Mattress Discounters without a second thought. I had purchased my very first mattress and box springs from a Mattress Discounters in Richmond, VA in 1999. I was 22 years old (and broke then, too! Ugh.) and was deliriously happy to be moving into my first apartment and starting graduate school. I stumbled upon a Mattress Discounters on W. Broad St. The sales associate was incredibly friendly and helpful and assisted me in locating a mattress and box springs set that fit my meager teaching assistant budget. I'm pretty sure it was the least expensive mattress in the whole store but I didn't care. I had my own place and I wouldn't be sleeping on my hardwood floors in the humid summer heat another night.

Since my experience with the east coast Mattress Discounters was so positive and my budget mattress lasted long beyond its projected lifespan before giving up the ghost, I decided to purchase from the west coast Mattress Discounters.  My initial second experience was also positive: the sales associate was efficient and helpful, my order arrived promptly, and the first few weeks on the new bed were absolutely blissful. During what was, I believe, our second month of new bed ownership, the trouble began. As my partner and I were settling in for the night, I turned over to go to sleep and we heard the cracking of wood from below the bed.  (I'm going to be honest, Mr. Carlsen: it didn't do much for my self-esteem.)  After a few more weeks there was a second sound of wood splitting from beneath the bed. Gradually, the problem progressed to the point at which we find ourselves today. 

I believe we were fairly “normal” users of the bed. If anything, we have been very LIGHT users of the bed. I am the mother of a toddler and a chronic insomniac; I am not in the bed nearly as much as I would like to be. My partner works hard and has a long commute; he is also not in the bed as nearly much as he would like to be. No one is jumping on the bed. There is no rough-housing on the bed unless you count my one year-old daughter diving into the pillows and blankets in order to evade having her jammies put on at night. As for other strenuous activities that often go on in folks' beds, well, Mr. Carlsen, as I mentioned we are the parents of a small child. We are tired. We are stressed about our finances. Let's just say this bed has had an easy life thus far.

The cracking and breaking of the wooden slats in the box spring/foundation portion of the bed has gotten out of control at this point. Each half of the bed sags dramatically so that sleeping in it is akin to curling up inside a taco. It's actually not as fun as it sounds. We have to roll uphill to get to the center of the mattress as well as to the outer edge. As a result I have started having some pretty severe back problems and I am now shuffling and limping and groaning around the house. It's very painful, Mr. Carlsen. I cannot afford to see a chiropractor. My partner and I switch off as to who “gets” to sleep on the couch in the living room.

I contacted your customer service center, and Rose Bauer in Sacramento, CA called me back in a timely manner. At her request, I photographed the mattress and box springs on top and underneath. I also took a picture of the splinters of wood of varying sizes and metal staples that now regularly litter my bedroom floor. (Please recall the oft-mentioned small child in my home. I don't know if you have children yourself, Mr. Carlsen, but babies and toddlers try to eat everything.) Ms. Bauer called me on Friday, May 11 to let me know that she'd spoken with her supervisor because she had some questions, and it was decided that there was so much breakage that it was due to damage on our part and not due to being defective and therefore would not be replaced under warranty. I emphasized to her that we had NOT damaged our box springs. (Honestly, why would we do this?) The men delivered the frame, mattress, and box springs and set them up for us and we haven't even so much as flipped the mattress in the interim. (I know I'm supposed to do it every six months. At least that's what Martha Stewart recommends.) Ms. Bauer repeated the conclusion that the box springs were considered damaged and not defective, and she was happy to offer me a 40% discount on the purchase of a new one.

Is Ms. Bauer accusing me of being untruthful? It feels like she is and I really have an issue with that. Also: spend more money at a Mattress Discounters after this? I don't think so.

I really hope you can help make this right, Mr. Carlsen. I do not believe I am asking for anything unreasonable. I love the mattress. I just need something to put it on that isn't going to collapse if I happen to have eaten dessert that evening. One only purchases so many mattresses in their lifetime; I have now gotten both of mine from Mattress Discounters and, in my opinion, that makes me a pretty good customer. I would appreciate being treated as such.


Amie X. Xxxxxxxx

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