To Whom It May Concern:
In late November of 1994, my fianc and I visited a JC Penny furniture store in our location of Champaign, IL. The salesman there was recommending a mattress to us as he told us about the terrific warranty that the product had. He indicated to me that, if the mattress failed to perform up to snuff over the next 10 years, JC Penny would replace it with a new one free of charge. My pointed question to the salesman inquired that if even a few days before the 10 year anniversary of this purchase, there was a problem with the mattress, I could get a free one, he responded to the affirmative.
Based upon this information, as well as a written warranty, I purchased the new top-of-the-line king size sleep system for my wife-to-be and I.
Through the past 8 years of our marriage, we have been very careful to rotate, and otherwise treat the mattress according to published recommendations. All the while, I had in mind that the mattress was under warranty.
Over the past year, my wife and I have noticed that there seem to be more and more noticeable indentations, sag, and lack of support in the areas of the mattress on which we sleep. My wife has complained of back issues and trouble getting comfortable which are related to the mattress' condition. It recently got t a point where I decided to dig up the mattress documentation and give JC Penny a call.
After tackling some issues surrounding our relocation to the Rochester, NY area, and getting our personal information updated in JC Penny's records, I was finally able to log my warranty claim. The JC Penny customer service person (Kim Langhorne, PA office) explained to me that a mattress expert would have to come out and inspect the mattress.
This was new information to me as I was unaware of this requirement related to the warranty. It was not stated anywhere in my documentation. However, as a veteran of the manufacturing sector, I fully recognized the value of observing a durable good in the field, and decided to go along with the procedure.
The local mattress expert, contracted by JC Penny, came out to the house on Thursday, November 6th, to look at the mattress. He showed me on his form how he was required define a severe body indentation as one of at least 1.5 inches! He even had a box on the form he was required to fill out that stated that specifically. While he agreed that there were visible indentations in the mattress, he was unable to check off his box that they were at least 1.5 inches. Furthermore, he went on to say that he had seen worse, yet I somehow I still got him to acknowledge that is was far from how the mattress performed when we first bought it. He said he would be sending in the report the next day.
Needless to say, I was very concerned about these new conditions and this new process. When in returned to my office the same day, I contacted customer service in Langhorne, PA and reached Nancy. When I voiced my concerns about the inspection process, Nancy referred to some warranty terms that she had in front of her citing a 1.5 inch indentation requirement. When I read my warranty to her, we both concluded that the standard warranty must have changed since my purchase in late 1994. She reassured me several times that, prior to a final decision being made on the warranty claim, I would be able to voice my concerns to the decision-makers, and that their focus would be to make me happy. She said that they were very friendly people, and that I would be hearing from them upon receiving the report from the mattress expert. I, of course, felt better, and thanked her.
Over the course of the next week, I heard nothing. I finally called JC Penny customer service on Thursday 11/20/03 and spoke to Vivian. I told her my story and she informed me that a final decision had been made that the mattress would not be replaced, per the report filed by the inspector, failing to report a 1.5 inch indentation. When I challenged the requirement saying that this was not in my warranty, she basically said that this was the requirement, nevertheless. Upon speaking to her supervisor, Merna, and telling her my story (when I could get a word in), she told me the same thing. She also said that there was no record in their system of any conversation I had with Nancy! She said that she would gladly copy reports of my complaint for Nancy and Tricia (the department manager) so they could call me back.
I never heard from Tricia. I reached Nancy the next day. Nancy denied any recollection of our conversation 8 days previous, and said that the final decision was based on the inspector's report, and that nothing else could be done.
I am forced to conclude that this is a classic case of bait and switch. The combination of the salesman's promises, and the written warranty created a set of pretenses upon which I made a purchase nine years ago (the bait). Then, upon product failure, according to the original warranty and how I was lead to believe it would be handled (both at the time of purchase and on 11/13/03 by Nancy) I was forced to conform to a non customer friendly process with new conditions not stated either by the original salesman or by the warranty text, and this flawed process failed to deliver on the warranty coverage and the original expectations raised at the time of purchase (the switch).
Another switch tactic lay in the tendency of JC Penny customer service to try to shift the blame to Sealy since they originated the warranty and the process (JC Penny is the administrator of it). Then, when I call Sealy, they refer me back to JC Penny. This part of the switch ends up in my never really talking to exactly the right person.
I can conclude that this convoluted and bait and switch process results in JC Penny failing to have to deliver on many warranties, since most people probably either don't have their documentation after 5+ years, or they get frustrated and give up. This is completely unfair, unacceptable, immoral, and not customer focused. I expect that JC Penny would not want this story to become more well-known since it does not reflect what the company says they stand for.
Through internet research, I have concluded that a new Posturepedic Pillowtop king mattress would cost about $500 (plus tax, shipping and handling)
Thank you for your time.
Fairport, New York
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