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Mattress industry gouging prices

CHOICE says consumers should never pay full price for a good night's sleep

13 November 2017

A CHOICE review of 22 spring mattresses has found consumers could save up to $2600 for a new mattress if they haggle.

"The cost of a good night's sleep should be a lot cheaper than the labelled price we see on a mattress," says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.

"Our undercover buyer was able to negotiate discounts of more than 60% on queen-sized mattresses. We saved a massive $2601 after buying a Tempur Lucerne Hybird mattress which was originally priced at $6000."

"CHOICE's haggling shoppers paid less than half price for 11 mattresses from a range of well-known brands including Sealy, SleepMaker and Whiteheaven."

The review comes after a CHOICE investigation[1] into the Australian mattress industry revealed a market which relies on creating consumer confusion in order to protect itself from competition and gouge people on price.

The investigation found manufacturers are effectively re-labelling their products for different retailers, creating an illusion of choice and exclusivity while actually protecting retailers from effective competition.

"Sealy sells a model of mattress under the Posturpedic range called the Aspire but this mattress has a different look, name and price depending on whether you're shopping at Harvey Norman, Domayne or Snooze," says Mr Godfrey.

"It looks an awful lot like mattress manufacturers are conspiring with retailers to prevent consumers from comparing the prices of particular mattress models across stores.

CHOICE's test of 22 spring mattresses also found that mattress makers and sellers may be misleading consumers by claiming their mattresses are 'firm'.

"The lab test results showed that of the 21 mattresses advertised as firm, none passed the EU standard for firmness," says Mr Godfrey.

"In fact, several mattresses were rated very soft."

"As there's no official Australian standards for mattresses, companies are getting away with lying to their customers.

"Dodgy supply tactics, misleading 'sales' claims and fake advertising claims – this industry needs to clean up its act or be put to bed.

CHOICE is urging consumers to shop around and push retailers to discount the sticker price for a mattress.

"Retailers are clearly gouging shoppers with inflated prices so haggling in store could shave more than a thousand dollars off the asking price, even during a sale," says Mr Godfrey.

For more information on the mattress review head to: choice.com.au/mattressmarkups

CHOICE's mattress buying guide

  • Wait for a sale: They take place regularly and can bring the price down by as much as 50%
  • Head in store: Deals are generally better here than going to an Australian retailer's store online
  • Haggle: Negotiating can shave thousands of dollars off the asking price, even during a sale.
  • Consider a foam mattress: foam mattresses from new online retailers can be significantly cheaper than the spring mattresses and many performed well in CHOICE tests.

Note to editors:

The mattresses were purchased in May to June 2017 from NSW retailers.

Media enquiries

Tom Godfrey, Head of Media and Spokesperson - 0430 172 669 - @choice_news