Dear Consumer Ed:

I bought a new mattress the other day from a mattress store. I assumed it was brand new, but when I got it home and looked at it more closely I began to suspect that it was used. The salesman never mentioned whether the mattress had been previously owned, and I never thought to ask.  Are stores allowed to sell used mattresses without disclosing to the buyer that they are used?

Consumer Ed says: 

There is currently no Georgia law that prohibits or specifically regulates the sale of used or rebuilt mattresses.  However, Federal law requires that they be tagged with a label which clearly states that the mattress is made up (entirely or partially) of used or secondhand stuffing.  When shopping for a mattress, always read the labels that describe the material content of the mattress you want, even if the sign in the store window says “New Mattresses”.  This is because some stores sell both new and used-content merchandise, and if you assume that all mattresses are new, you may end up with a mattress that contains used materials.  A seller is not obligated to tell you (verbally) that a mattress contains used materials unless you ask, so you should always ask the question. The best practice is simply not to purchase any mattress that doesn’t have a label indicating whether it is new or refurbished.  If you’re still in doubt even after close inspection of the mattress itself, don’t buy it.  A store cannot legally pass off mattresses made with used materials as “new”.  If you encounter a retailer that is doing this, you should report it to the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection at www.consumer.ga.gov.  You can also find more information about new and used mattresses on the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.ftc.gov.

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