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Why You Should Be Careful When Buying a Mattress Online

Why You Should Be Careful When Buying a Mattress Online

The days of wandering the mattress showroom in desperate hopes of finding a bed that’s at least mildly comfortable (all while a salesperson breathes down your neck) are over. Thanks to the rise of e-commerce, anybody with money to spend can hop online and buy themselves a brand spankin’ new mattress.

There are many upsides to purchasing a mattress online. These include convenience, reduced prices (in many but not all cases), freedom from sales pressure, and the ability to read reviews and comparison shop a huge number of brands and mattress types. You can also choose between direct-to-consumer retailers and online stores that sell mattresses from a variety of manufacturers. Sounds great, right? Well, yes and no. Before you hit “purchase,” you should be aware of several important factors that make online mattress shopping a little more complicated.

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You can’t try the bed.

Easily the biggest downside to online shopping is the fact that you can’t try out the bed before buying it. Given that the right mattress for you will vary depending on your preferred sleep position, health conditions, and personal preferences, buying a mattress without testing it out first requires a big leap of faith. Sleeping partners also have their own mattress preferences, and it can feel a bit like you’re Goldilocks searching for the mythical bed that’s “just right.”

Of course, this is where online reviews can really come in handy. Seek out reviews from people who mention having similar preferences or sleeping styles as you in order to help gauge if the mattress will suit your needs.

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If you don’t like the mattress after purchase, all of your options will cost you time and/or money.

Let’s say you buy a mattress online, assemble it in the bedroom, and sleep on it for a few nights only to discover that it really isn’t comfortable. Then you’re left with a couple options, and neither of them are great. You can:

  1. Purchase a topper for your mattress. While this might make you more comfortable, you’re likely to pay much more money for a mattress topper than for the mattress itself.
  2. Take advantage of a free trial. This requires some foresight, since you’ll need to enroll in the trial before bringing the bed home. Some companies will allow you to test out several mattresses over the course of 100-plus days before making your final decision. This obviously has its benefits, but the downside here is the hassle involved. Don’t underestimate the energy (and money if you hire movers) required to move various mattresses in and out of your bedroom and navigate different return policies.
  3. Return the mattress. The smoothness of this process varies greatly by company. Some companies promise a free pick up and no-fee returns, while others will require you to package the mattress and pay to ship it back to the retailer. Often times if the mattress gets dirty or is damaged during shipping, retailers stick you with the bill. In contrast, several companies offer to pick up the mattress from your home free of charge. That’s why it’s imperative that you have a crystal-clear understanding of a company’s return policy before purchasing a mattress online.

You’re likely to experience less sales assistance.

This is certainly not true for all online retailers, but in some cases buying online means that you won’t benefit from personalized attention. It also means that you won’t have an opportunity to negotiate price, which is a common occurrence in brick and mortar stores. You’re also less likely to benefit from free or low-cost takeaway of your old mattress, meaning you’ll need to figure out how to dispose of it on your own.

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Again, this is where some online sleuthing can really come in handy. Before you purchase a mattress, scope out reviews of the retailer online and monitor their social media pages to see how they respond to consumer questions or complaints. If the retailer doesn’t respond to people’s concerns, that’s a red flag. In contrast, demonstrations of helpfulness can give you confidence that you’re making a safe choice.

None of this is to scare you away from purchasing a mattress online. There are tons of great companies out there that are committed to providing high-quality, affordable mattresses and stellar customer service. However, it’s helpful to be aware of the challenges involved in online mattress shopping and to do your due diligence before you buy.

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Kenny Kline

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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