Report: #68793

Complaint Review: Mattress King - Neil GULATI

  • Submitted: Fri, October 10, 2003
  • Updated: Fri, March 19, 2004
  • Reported By: Staunton Virginia
  • Mattress King - Neil GULATI
    6000B West Broad Street
    Richmond, Virginia

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

Once Upon a Mattress: A Tale of Misrepresented Merchandise and Buyer Beware!

It was two weeks ago when we looked at mattresses to replace our 24 year old queen sized and were shown beds by Larry who talked us through the comfort selection trail of floor samples. When we had selected a Europa model we then asked if it would fit in place of our old Certa. Larry assured us that it would. We mentioned that we had an heirloom bed and that fit was a concern. Larry assured us that it was not and we signed the paperwork [Please Note: MEASURE YOUR OLD BOX SPRING/ MATTRESS ALL 3 DIMENSIONS BEFORE YOU TALK TO THE LARRYS OF THE BED BUSINESS -- NEVER TAKE THEIR WORD FOR IT AS THEY SEEM TO BE UNAWARE OF THE DIFFERENT DEPTHS OF THEIR OWN PRODUCT].

We also bought the mattress cover that basically is an extension of your replacement guarantee, should the mattress get stained [it is overpriced if it is anything less than a guarantee]. Larry had us convinced that the company would stand behind their product and we left with that confidence. Larry also assured us that our old sheets would fit just fine! Turns out Larry was full of it.

Delivery day was a disaster. Two guys show up in an open pickup with the new bedding as I'm in the process of calling -- or trying to call Mattress King to let them know that we have not received the special mattress cover which was to have been shipped separately. I get no answer as the store phone rings on. When I mention this fact to the first guy, who I'll refer to as Mutt he replies: You have a 15 year guarantee. I said No, you don't understand... I bought the mattress cover to EXTEND the guarantee.

Since I don't have the promised cover do I still have a guarantee? Mutt finally admitted that if it got stained before I had the cover that there was essentially no guarantee. By this time, assistant Jeff had already unwrapped the foundation and placed it in the frame... so far it looked OK. But when Mutt and Jeff placed the mattress on, it looked way too high, you couldn't even sit on the bed! -- remember Larry had assured us that the dimensions were almost the same. As I watched Jeff drag the old mattress on my walk... I offered to help but he snapped I've got it and kept on going. I've handled household goods before and you NEVER drag mattresses -- even old ones.

It looks so unprofessional and can get you fired by a reputable company. I decided to let my wife come look at the ridiculous stack and let her call Larry. Talking to Mutt and Jeff was pointless.

Now Larry says that he can't take back the mattress, even though it is unslept on, merely unwrapped. We paid $1000.00 for this set and we press him further until he admits we can get him to take it back for a $250.00 restocking fee after we press the issue that he misled us about the size. He says keep it for a month and use the comfort exchange' [where you still pay an additional charge] to get one you like. Now that sounds to me like Larry is not above frauding the manufacturer's satisfaction program, but he's not going to give us a break when HE misled us in the first place!

My wife had to call Mattress King corporate headquarters in Richmond from her job to try to resolve this issue and her employer asked what she was doing? Well, it turns out that my wife's employer has had the SAME PROBLEM with Mattress King's Charlottesville store! When my wife got a customer service representative, that person seemed sympathetic, but the only person who could make any concessions was the owner, Neil GULATI(pronounced julatee -- not guilty), who was just getting back from Europe and so now we find ourselves waiting for our chance to speak with him.

The owner ,Neil, is rather difficult to pin down over the next few days, but when he is pinned down he is even ruder than Larry at the local store. Oh, by the way, the restocking fee or whatever it is is now 50% since the mattress is unbagged. Well, here we are stuck with this situation and my wife's employer had paid more to have the box spring resized after HER horrid experience with Mattress King and that proved to be disastrous so we are loath to do the same. Now for another small fee they might exchange for something they have in stock but they will not special order anything.

So do yourself a favor if you deal with Mattress King. They are a discounter and there is NO CUSTOMER SERVICE. Probably fine if you buy a complete set with a frame and YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT. But their fast talk about stain replacement guarantees and coil systems obfuscates the discussion of more obvious concerns that you need to address with them.

If you are trying to fit an existing bed YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN and you have ONE SHOT at getting it right so take my advice and deal with a reputable furniture store instead. If you choose to deal with Mattress King on a replacement mattress, have ALL your dimensions, INCLUDING HEIGHT OF THE BOX SPRING AND MATTRESS, in hand so you can tell them up front what you need.


Further Developments:

Now Mattress King says it will exchange for a mattress [a Simmons, I think] that is the correct size for $96.00 more. We talked to another manager at the Staunton store who gave us this new option. Well, I'd just as soon never deal with them again -- they could have worked the problem with us in the first place. After many phone calls and listening to a lot of crap, this is an acceptable outcome but it leaves a bad taste in our mouths. We're taking the $96.00 solution but I have this advice for the crack sales team at Mattress King:

1. Learn how to help a customer correctly size a bed. Queen, King, Single and Double are not enough. Know your dimensions and help the customer with this issue. If someone buys a bed only once in 20 years they should be respectfully assisted with this issue if they are fitting an existing frame. YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE THE EXPERT! Do not assume new products will fit or look good on existing frames. Pillow tops probably will be too high. Again, talk dimensions with the customer. Tell them honestly if something is likely to be a problem.

2. Every product has its strengths and weaknesses. That is why you offer a selection of models. Use honest admission of this information to build your own credibility.

3. NEVER NEVER NEVER leave a customer hanging with a problem! Offer to work the problem with them. Be honest with the problems with the solutions: as with custom resizing of box springs, and the fact that that may not be a satisfactory answer for all customers. Don't suggest falling back on the comfort guarantee when the problem is one of fit! Occasionally you might want to assent to that novel idea that the customer is always right. You will get referrals and maybe a nice letter or two to hang on your wall. You SHOULD take such great pains to avoid problems that you can afford to work the ones that do occur.

4 Instruct your delivery people to check fit BEFORE they rip off any plastic covers. Measure the existing bedding and CALL THE CUSTOMER'S ATTENTION TO ANY DIFFERENCE. You will be a hero in the long run.

5. Remove old bedding with some respect. You are a professional and the old bedding served well. Make a good impression as you leave! Also, you sell BEDDING, not mulch, if you would deliver in a COVERED TRUCK you would instill a whole lot more confidence in your customers! Also, a nice box truck is great advertising when you tastefully paint your logo on it!

6. Never drag mattresses, GET HELP!

7. When something happens out of the ordinary -- such as no cover has been delivered for the mattress -- admit that the customer, who bought what is now an essentially overpriced mattress cover, has a point when he asks you about the warranty implications.

8. Help your customers and they will help you!

Even Further Developments [Later that Same Evening]:

Now Neil GULATI (and now you can pronounce it guilty if you want to) has nixed the exchange price provided by the more reasonable manager in Staunton. This poor guy calls back to tell us that the owner will not let him give us a break on the exchange. I really feel for that guy. Every organization contains at least one really nice person who is trying.

We also learned from the Richmond BBB website that the number of complaints against this company is, in their own words, "normal for a company of this type." Now as a consumer I'm asking myself "What is that supposed to mean."

Staunton, Virginia

STOP! ..before you think about using the Better Business Bureau (BBB)... CLICK HERE to see how other consumers were victimized by the BBB's false or misleading information. Don't be fooled! It has been reported, when there are thousands of complaints and other investigations underway by authorities, the BBB has no choice but to finally give an UNsatisfactory rating to a BBB member business that is paying the BBB big membership fees every year. When a business is reported that is NOT a BBB member, BBB files WILL more likely show an UNsatisfactory rating, then reportedly shake down that company to become a member of the BBB. One positive thing about the BBB is, either way, if a business has an unsatisfactory rating with the BBB, you can be sure, the business is bad. But what about all those BBB member businesses that had complaints filed against them? Consumers never get to hear about them. What about the BBB advertising to the public? Is this a false and misleading perception they are giving about consumer confidence when dealing with a business? Click here to understand more of what consumers and business alike are saying about the BBB. You decide. ..Remember. The BBB membership is not earned, it's paid for!
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/10/2003 06:47 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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Updates & Rebuttals


#1 Author of original report

While You Were Sleeping, Mattress King Ruthlessly Renigs Refund by Using the Fine Print:... (Also Notes on Stain-safe)

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

The credit card issuer had credited our account, but it is now the middle of March and we have just been notified that we ARE being charged the remainder because of the terms of the contract which we signed. I'll bet Neil Gulati is laughing about this one.

Beware of sales pitches that emphasize how generous they are under a third party warranty (Read the Rip Off Reports on Stain-safe), there is a reason they make you sign that contract with all its fine print and a sign on the back wall plainly states their "real" policy, That is NO RETURNS!

Of course, the Better Business Bureau sees them as having resolved our complaint because they gave back HALF our money.

Of course the Richmond Times Dispatch receives a fair amount of advertising revenue from Mattress King. Neil Gulati is actually one of their regularly featured "dial a quote" experts for home furnishings articles, ie: "the mattress is the most important part of the bedroom," so I guess he can afford to treat people like this. Who's going to call him on it?
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#2 Author of original report

How We Got Our Money Back from Mattress King and Neil Gulati! Thank You, Rip Off Report!

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)


In Which the Credit Card Company Lets Us Contest the Remainder that was Ruthlessly Retained

We had paid Larry with my wife's credit card. She called the issuing bank and asked if she could contest it. They put the remaining amount in dispute and asked us to fax details of our problem with Mattress King.

We basically faxed them the content of this report and they recently responded by issuing us a credit for the remainder that Mattress King and Neil Gulati had so ruthlessly retained!

So now we have a lovely mattress (that fits) from the reputable furniture store at a better price than the discounter could offer... And our money back from Mattress King!

Thank You, Rip Off Report for being part of this story!
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#3 Author of original report

Stainsafe Warranty and Comfort Guarantees' Make it Look Like There is Customer Service when in Fact All Sales are Final!

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

The Retail Merchants Association of Greater Richmond has named Neil Gulati their Distinguished Retailer of the Year - 2003. He will be honored at the 98th Annual Meeting of the RMAGR on March 18. Neil is president of Mattress King and a RMAGR board member.

The PRINT SAYS and the FEE: How Mattress King Utilizes Gimmick Warranties to Make You Think They Will Stand Behind Their Sale:

In retrospect, we have to point out that Larry waxed eloquent about the comfort guarantee' and even talked us into the Stainsafe Warranty (for a small added fee) and generally led us to believe that this company was going to take care of any problems. He spent a long time telling us how someone had had a mattress replaced just because cranberry juice or something like that got spilled on it. He ASSURED us that this product would fit our existing frame.

But it is true that the fine print contains a no returns' policy and there is a sign on the wall in the Mattress King store that states the same.

The Stainsafe Warranty is covered well in other Rip Off Reports. The Comfort Guarantee programs are administered by the manufacturers, not the store, and generally involve an additional charge. Larry won't mention that unless you ask.

Therefore, ignore Larry and believe the sign. We wish we had. This will certainly be Mattress King's FINAL sale to me!
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#4 Author of original report

More Difficult Dealings with Mattress King, in which "Larry" is Observed Telling an Untruth.

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

The Next Act in this Drawn-out Drama [The Next Day]:

The owner of the company, Neil Gulati, will not give us a break on the exchange and will not order anything that is not in stock. The Charlottesville store has correct size of the bed we need in stock, but even though that particular mattress set is on sale, they will not give us the sale price because it is an exchange.' Also, they won't even give it to us at all unless we go to all the way to Charlottesville and lie on the bed' there. We are getting pretty disgusted with the treatment we are receiving and just want a refund.

My wife had seen the mattress set we want at the reputable furniture store and when we mention our desire to get it Larry immediately states that it does not have as many springs as his! Turns out Larry was wrong again! The spring count is actually MORE in the furniture store mattress. We learn that later when we go to them to order a replacement for the mattress so rudely removed in act 1 by Mutt and Jeff, now long gone to the landfill.

Jim, the reasonable manager, is now convinced we are having a bad time and although he is powerless to do more, he will give us half of our money back [Gulati had already said we could have that much, but ONLY IF we couldn't find what we needed in his store -- and he's determining the difference WE have to pay.] Jim is not going to drag us through this any more. He says he will come and pick the bed up himself so that we will not be charged $45.00 more for picking up the mattress. He gives us plastic covers to put on the bedding before he comes.

The Final Act [The Departure of the Mammoth Mattress atop a Small Sedan, Later that Same Afternoon]

Please note, dear reader, that I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP! Back at home, my son and I slip the mattress and box spring into mattress bags and we call Jim. He arrives in a small red sedan (a Toyota Camry, I believe; the smaller version made before 1990) and when I ask him how he's going to take the mattress, he tells me that he's going to tie it to the top of his car!

I help Jim carry out the mattress and box spring and place them on his car roof. As he's tying it on he tells me how he started out in the stock room, went to sales, and has worked his way up to manager of the store. He tells me that this is not the first time he's had a mattress set on top of this car. Once he delivered a queen sized set to the mountain resort of Wintergreen from the Charlottesville store. I can only imagine the shock experienced by the recipient when that delivery arrived!

Jim seems to be deeply aware of how shoddy his company's treatment of us has been and is really quite sympathetic. I see the infant seat in the car and remember what it was like, working for a boss who is difficult to respect while providing for a wife and young child. This guy deserves a better job and I pray he gets it very soon.

As Jim's small car, under the weight of an extremely large mattress set, makes it's way down my driveway, it looks like a screen writer's ending for this whole ridiculous experience. Think here of an ant, dear reader, carrying a morsel that is larger than itself! I wish I'd remembered to run and get my camera!
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