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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 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.


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