Can I sue a mattress manufacturer or the store I bought the mattress from in small claims court, if they deny my warranty claim?

UPDATED: Oct 17, 2011

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Can I sue a mattress manufacturer or the store I bought the mattress from in small claims court, if they deny my warranty claim?

We bought a mattress for $1450 about 14 months ago. It now has terrible support, including what feels like a deep “crack” on one side. We have both developed back pains from sleeping on it. Without weight on it, the body impressions are around 3/4 of an inch – Warranty procedure requires at least 1.5 – 2.0 inches. On-line there are countless complaints about this mattress brand from people in this situation. To me, mattress is no longer fit for its intended purpose. Since warranty claim will likely be denied, what are my chances of collecting a refund in small claims court?

Asked on October 17, 2011 under General Practice, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You say that there is a warranty, but that the requirements are not being met. In that case, it is very unlikely that you could sue and recover anything: there is no general right to a refund because a product is unsatisfactory or bad, but only if:

1) There was fraud or deception in the marketing--the seller or manufacturer lied about the characteristics of what you were getting. This requires more than just the product didn't live up to claims about how good it was, since "puffery" and options about quality are not actionable;  it would require more, such as the mattress was not made out of what it was supposed to be made out of, physically could not support an amount of weight it was claimed to support, etc.

2) You were delivered a physically defective or broken product--though it would be difficult, to say the least, to show it was broken or defective *when delivered* after you've been using it for more than a year.

3) A warranty applies, or guaranty violated, but from what you right, this did not happen.

Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases where a product is disappointing, there is no legal recourse.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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