Do Stores Resell Returned Mattresses

If you’ve ever gone mattress shopping, you’ve probably had a salesperson try to sweeten the deal with a comfort guarantee. These trial periods allow you to test a bed out for a few weeks before making a final decision. If you’re a customer, this is fantastic. But what happens to the beds that get brought back? Do stores resell the returned mattresses?

Returned mattresses are often donated to local charities or resold at discounted prices. However, not all states permit the sale of second-hand mattresses. In these areas, companies might partner with outside businesses that sell the beds online or have them upcycled.

Now that you know some companies resell returned mattresses, you might wonder how you can tell if a mattress has been used. Continue reading to find out how to spot a returned mattress and whether buying used is ever a good idea.

Do All Mattress Stores Allow Returns?

Although some mattress vendors don’t allow returns, most reputable companies do. That said, not all return policies are created equal. It’s essential to understand what type of return policy the store offers before you finalize your purchase.

For example, a full refund guarantees you 100% of your money back as long as you meet the agreement stipulations. 

On the other hand, a partial refund only gives you a certain percentage of your money back. I would be wary of partial refund policies when buying a mattress, but that’s just me. 

Finally, some policies only offer exchanges. Instead of getting any money back, you can exchange the item for one of equal or lesser value.

In addition to understanding how the store handles returns, you should be aware of any extra fees they may charge you. Some stores charge restocking or re-packaging fees; if you bought the item online, you might have to pay to ship it back.

What Happens to a Mattress When It’s Returned?

We know that most mattress companies offer their customers a comfort guarantee, but have you ever wondered what happens to the mattresses people don’t like?

As it turns out, the answer is more complex than it might seem.

Some states allow the sale of used mattresses, while others prohibit it. In states where it’s legal, mattresses are sanitized, repackaged, sold at clearance prices, or donated to local charities.

In states where resale or donation is not allowed, mattresses are often recycled or offloaded onto companies that can resell them. 

Sometimes a store won’t take a mattress back at all, opting to make it your responsibility to donate it instead. They may even ask you to provide proof of donation before issuing an exchange.

Is It Legal for Stores to Resell Returned Mattresses?

Although there are states where it’s illegal for businesses to sell or give away used mattresses, it’s legal in most places. That said, the laws governing the resale process differ in each state.

For example, in most areas, mattresses must undergo a strict sanitation process before being resold. Additionally, most states require stores to clearly label used mattresses, even if the beds are new and made from used parts.

If you want to learn more about the laws in your state, contact your local health department. Just remember these laws usually only pertain to businesses, not individual sales.

5 Ways You Can Tell If a Mattress Was Previously Returned

Spotting returned mattresses is quite simple, here’s a few ways I’d suggest you go about it!

Compare Prices

One of the best ways to identify a returned mattress is to compare the price of the bed you’re buying with other similar products. Used mattresses often end up in the clearance section of a store. If the mattress you’re looking at seems cheap compared to other similar models, there’s a good chance someone returned it at some point.

Look for a Tag

Most states require mattress vendors to mark their products with color-coded tags. A new bed will have a white tag, meaning it’s brand new and made with all-new materials. Returned and sanitized mattresses will have yellow tags, and red tags signal a mattress was made with used parts.

Ask the Retailer

If you suspect the mattress you’re looking at might have been used at one point, but aren’t sure if the store sells used mattresses, ask a salesperson. If the store does sell returned mattresses, it’s okay to ask that they only sell you new products. A reputable store will be more than happy to accommodate that request.

Check the Packaging

You can tell a lot about a product from its packaging. Does it look original? Does it look battered or torn? Packaging can get damaged during transport too, so this might not be a sure sign of a used product. However, it’s a good reason to examine the item more closely.

Check the Condition

Even slightly used mattresses usually have some sign of wear that becomes obvious if you look closely enough. Check for rips, tears, animal scratches, and indentations. Also, check for abnormal chemical smells that might signify the mattress was returned and sanitized.

Look at the Return Policy

Does the merchant charge a restocking fee for returns? If so, they probably sell returned mattresses in the store. Some businesses bake the restocking fee into the price of the bed, so it may not be reflected in the policy, but it never hurts to ask.


Whether you’re looking for a used mattress or worried about where your mattress will go if you return it, you can rest easy knowing that most stores can (and do) resell returned mattresses.

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