Serta / Lied to, ripped off, verbally abused
My ordeal with this firm started in March 2010, when I went into the Lombard, IL store to purchase a new mattress for my wife and I, after having moved back to the 'burbs after 5 years in Tucson.
We spent a huge amount of time being "sold" on various mattress, and the salesman was visually and verbally angry that I was myself a salesman and kept calling him on his poor salesmanship and that I offered him coaching and guidance on how to better sell to the next customer. It was a bit mean on my part, but hey, that's selling and customer service - you deal with the customer in front of you and work to their personality.
After over 2 hours of shopping, we settled on a Serta "Jesse" model, which the sales rep repeatedly explained was specifically designed for larger framed individuals (I'm 6'1", 230lbs with a bad back, so this was key to me). We paid $379 for the mattress itself - after, what we were told was $149 discount for whatever sale they had going on - and then another few hundred for the frame and box spring - which we had to upgrade to fulfill the warranty requirements of this mattress (it needed a center-post support). As we were under-budget with our "sale price", my wife picked out a nice headboard she liked for a couple hundred dollars and our total balance was $790. This is a big ticket spend for us, and the most we'd spent on any two beds we'd had previously.
The bed came with Serta's standard 5 year "easy replacement" warranty, which the sales representative explained and showed me in writing was a "$0 full product replacement warranty".
At the time of delivery, the delivery driver pulled out a cash receipt book and asked me for the $70 delivery fee (which was not previously discussed). When I refused, he told me "alright, but you'll have to come pick the product up yourself". We'd just moved across the country, had several other deliveries and dozens of guests coming over, and I couldn't tolerate another night sleeping on the air mattress we used in the interim so I gave in and paid $70 cash for the delivery. Unfortunately, the headboard we were delivered was an eggshell/offwhite color, when we had ordered the espresso/brown color version. The delivery driver told me he'd just install the eggshell one so we can get used to it, and they'll replace it later in the week. After, I made a quick call to the store, and a brief argument over charging me a "redelivery fee" to replace someone's mistake (the receipt clearly stated "espresso", and the box delivered clearly stated "eggshell"), they agreed to come replace it 2 days later. No big thing.
Fast forward 2 years, to early 2012, and the bed is sacking (springs failing) significantly, and I start getting very suspicious about this as it's got a 5 year warranty and was specially designed to support a man of my frame. I started researching around and soon found out what I should have found out before paying these guys a red cent - not only is the Sertapedic "Jesse" model *not* a $530 bed on sale for only $379, it's a $299 mattress! Also, lo and behold, it certainly is not specially designed to hold a man of my stature - it's just a standard bed.
So, the ordeal really begins here...
I called up the Lombard, IL store I purchased the product from, and spoke to the store manager "John". He listened to my complaints about being misled about the product's design itself, about the fact that I in fact paid more than MSRP for a product that was supposedly on sale, and heard me when I explained I wanted to take advantage of this warranty. He then told me it'd be "$140" to have a 3rd party warranty assessment firm come out and check it out, but not to worry because $70 of that will cover the delivery fee.
When I exclaimed about the "$0 replacement warranty", he explained in an attempt at soothing tones that of course I wouldn't be charged for the replacement of the product, that I was paying for the 3rd party assessment company to come out and inspect the product before replacement. He then said, "and don't worry, Mr. Schroeder, we don't charge a delivery fee!" Now wait a minute, there John. You said $70 of it covers the delivery fee. "No, I didn't say that".
At this point I became indignant. They misled me on the product I was purchasing, I got far less quality than his employee had represented I was getting, and then I was bilked out of a delivery fee in cash the first go-round, now you're telling me that "$0 replacement warranty" means I have to pay $140, half of which is for a delivery fee you do not charge.
I made mention, being the aggressive and now angry man that I am, that I would take this to the BBB and the Attorney General's office, as I had all the original documentation and they needed to service this warranty, because I wasn't paying a penny more, as the agreement in the warranty said I would not have to. He deferred and said he'd "call his regional manager" and see what they could do. I waited 5 minutes and he called me back telling me they'd forego inspection and deliver the mattress replacement of the same make and model.
The next day I got a call from a shady fellow who left me a voicemail asking me to call him back immediately to discuss what they were going to do for him. His name slips my mind, he claimed to be the regional manager. It could have been Jeff or Frank. He's a loudmouth jerk who thinks he can push a customer around as I learned today - but I'm getting ahead of myself. I returned his call and he never returned that call.
Which they did do, after only 3 days. Meanwhile, the delivery guy was at my house for over an hour not doing anything because he didn't get any sort of authorization for the warranty exchange and was told I'd be paying COD in full! I called John at the Lombard store again, and argued about this for 10 minutes on the phone, because he is the one who agreed the exchange would happen. Finally, they take the old mattress out and bring my replacement in.
So I got a chance today to take a look, after a night's sleep on the bed, at the model which is different from that which I purchased. I figured that was to be expected, considering it was two years and the model changed. I wanted to make sure the "Easton" was commensurate with the "Jesse" I had originally purchased. So I called the Schaumburg, IL store and asked about prices. The sales associate or whomever on the phone was very evasive, explaining that the pricing depends on "many different factors". Finally, I hung up on him and called the Lombard store again, and got John (I had to ask, they don't give their name when answering the phone - a bad sign), who explained the price of the Easton was $265. So, about the same price. I ended the call and went about my day.
10 minutes later I get a call from Jeff or Frank, the regional manager. He starts out with, "Mr. Schroeder, why are you calling my stores? Wasn't getting us for a free mattress enough for you?" We had a long conversation which meandered several ways, from him describing how every phone call is recorded and live-monitored (even though there's no warning of this, an act illegal by a business in Illinois), how I "got a free mattress and even free delivery out of" American Mattress. The one thing he refused to discuss or even listen to was that I was 2 years into a product with a 5 year warranty, the product failed, and the original product I purchased was far from what it was presented to be. In fact, when I described my frame, he interrupted me with "Well there's your problem! That mattress isn't made for a guy as big as you!" Exactly my point, which he then overspoke again. He told me that I should not "be so [censored]ing cheap" and should have gotten a real bed for a guy "as fat as" me. I explained that that is exactly what I thought I was buying, but his sales representative had lied to me. His response was, "What do you want me to do? Fire someone who hasn't worked here for a year and a half?" followed by derisive laughter.
All in all, this guy told me, after calling *me*, that I was harassing him and his employees. I asked him to clarify, that calling up to be sure that a duplicitous company that cheated me 2 years ago in several ways, and tried really hard to cheat me again, was providing me with a commensurate warranty exchange product was somehow harassment. He again stated that was exactly what he was saying. So I recommended if he felt I was harassing him, he should call the police and have them come by my house, he has my phone number and home address. He said that would be silly. I said his stance that my asking questions about the value of the product I received was not my right as a consumer was silly, and he needed to stop talking to me. I told him firmly that I was going to end the call and if I heard back from him I would not hesitate to call the police. This elicited a long strong of curses, and screaming from him. I could hear the flecks of spit hitting the mouthpiece of his telephone, then I hung up mid-tirade.
Long story short, unless you want to be lied to, sold a product that is not what it was represented to be, and then to be cheated again when you turn in the warranty, as well as be verbally abused by an annoying fool who takes his skinflinting a bit too seriously, do not, I repeat, DO NOT do business with American Mattress.
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