How to Avoid Being Ripped Off in a Mattress Scam

Nov 13, 2022 | Mattresses

Now more than ever, we know just how much consumers are trying to save their hard-earned cash, whether that’s online or on a big red sales sticker in-store.

When it comes to beds and mattresses that cost hundreds of pounds, it is no surprise that people want to bag the best bargain and go for a deal that sounds too good to be true. Unfortunately, it usually is if it’s bought from the back of a van!

This International Fraud Awareness Week (13 – 19 November), we are reminding consumers to beware of the common tricks that rogue traders use when they come knocking at your door with an unmarked white van. Unfortunately, these fraudsters are still operating, with The National Bed Federation’s latest consumer research* finding that 4% of people had bought their “new” mattresses from a doorstep or ‘back-of-the-van’ trader!

Dodgy dealers will happily spout some of the following bogus tales to help flog their ‘too-good-to-be-true’ mattresses from the back of a van.

“We supply hotels and it is surplus stock.”

“It’s a cancelled order that we don’t want to take back to the factory.”

“The mattresses are from a showhouse or a business that is closing down.

At the very best, you will be buying a product that is probably just about worth what you pay. At worst, it may not meet UK flammability regulations, putting your health & safety and home in danger, or even have an old spring unit and dirty fillings inside a new cover. That could mean you are sleeping with all sorts of creatures – dust mites, bed bugs, bacteria – let alone other people’s dead skin, animal hair, mould and the residues of urine, sweat and other bodily fluids!

Ask yourself, would a reputable company be touting for business by driving around housing estates and knocking on doors? Below, we’ve shared our top tips for avoiding mattress scammers.

How to avoid mattress scammers:

  • Never buy from the back of a van. You have no way of knowing the mattress is what the person claims it is.
  • Be wary of discounts offering 70% to 80% off the recommended sales price – especially if there are RRPs printed on the mattress label.
  • Remain vigilant if buying online and check if the company has a registered office, factory or showroom address. Also, check whether it has a UK dialling code, 0800 or 0345 phone number. Be cautious if it’s a mobile number or starts with 0203 (these may be legitimate numbers, but it’s advisable to carry out other checks as well).
  • Check the website has a privacy policy and T&Cs – and check their returns policy.
  • Don’t rely on reviews posted on their site – look for independent reviews.NBF Approved Member
  • At the NBF, we champion good practice and high standards in the UK bed industry because we know everyone wants to have a great night’s sleep with total peace of mind. So, make sure you look for the NBF Approved logo on mattresses to ensure that the product you’re buying is safe, clean and honest.
  • Buy from an NBF Retail Champion. These UK and Irish retailers sell predominantly NBF-approved brands, you can find your nearest champion using our Find a Retailer tool.

As you spend about a third of your life sleeping, it’s worth taking your time over such an important purchase as a bed or mattress – don’t rush into it or feel pressurised to part with your hard-earned money until you’re confident you’re making the right decision.

* Results from an online panel survey carried out by Censuswide in October 2022, based on a broadly representative sample of 1000 people by age, gender and region who had purchased a bed/mattress in the previous six months. 


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