What to do if your mattress is causing you misery

An ABC 7 I-Team Investigation
CHICAGO (WLS) -- We all want a good night's sleep, but what if you had indentations and dents in a mattress which was relatively new?

The I-Team investigated the stories of people who say they sleep in "craters" and "sinkholes." They shed light on what may be a trend and found out how you may be able to avoid this problem.

It's the end of the night, you are tired and ready to sink into bed. But what if you were dealing with "mattress misery," laying in what felt like a large indentation?

The I-Team found that's there's growing criticism over newer mattresses which have craters.

"It has two sink holes," said Tosha Thomas Little. "It had made an indentation on his side and my side."

Would you believe their mattress is a little more than a year old?

Tosha Thomas Little in Glendale Heights says the dips and pits are a pain in the back. So the I-Team's Jason Knowles gave it a try.

Jason Knowles: "It's like you're going to fall out! It's like a ride!"
Tosha Thomas Little: "It's like a cliff! It's horrible."

It is actually her second mattress in less than two years.

The manufacturer, Simmons, replaced her first one in March of 2016, without admitting any product defects. Thomas Little said that mattress needed replacing because it had similar problems. She said she hasn't yet heard back from Simmons about getting another replacement under the warranty.

"I'm just a working class lady. I'm not trying to buy a mattress every year or every two years," she said.

The I-Team found more sinking complaints on the website consumeraffairs.com where out of 429 reviews, 310 of them mention "sinking," "caving," "indentations" or "bubbling." Many people claimed the mattresses were relatively new and still under warranty. Some of them said the company replaced the mattresses. Read the complaints from that website here.

"Within a year, one side of the mattress had completely collapsed," said Jen Ojeda, a Simmons customer.

Jen Ojeda in Atlanta said she, too, made a warranty claim on her Simmons Beautyrest Pillow Top mattress.

"I am glad that they ended up replacing our mattress, although I would have preferred to get a refund," said Ojeda.

One man who sent the I-Team video said he's on his second denting mattress within three years.

In a statement, Serta Simmons Bedding said, "We strive to ensure that every customer is satisfied with their Beautyrest purchase, and occasionally this necessitates the replacement of a customer's existing mattress... Beautyrest mattresses undergo extensive testing, and we are confident in the performance of our products, which provide high-quality sleep to millions of people around the world."

And the I-Team found the denting issue was not isolated to one brand or company.

Sheila Classner of Huntley said she's exhausted from replacing several brands of mattresses - some were "denting."

"Well since 2015 we went through four mattresses," said mattress customer Sheila Classner. "We had lots of issues with pain."

Ken Hightower said he saw the denting in several brands.

"It's a major issue. We get inundated with emails all the time," said Ken Hightower, a mattress expert.

Hightower posted video, courtesy of DIYmattress.net, showing people how they can repair their own mattresses by removing what he calls low density foam, which may look fluffy, and replacing it with heavier, high density foam.

More videos of how to fix mattresses here and here.

"The lighter foams on the top of your mattress, that's what's softening and causing the body impressions and this is across the board," said Hightower.

Experts said to be prepared to pay more money for a higher density foam, but not to be afraid to negotiate for a good night's sleep.

"I trusted you and I bought it with my hard-earned money and this is what I get?" said Thomas Little.

Serta Simmons Bedding added that it's working with her and worked with the other customers in this story to get replacement mattresses.

The International Sleep Products Association, which represents the mattress industry, declined comment.

When buying a mattress, always check your warranty. If indentations are not deep enough the manufacturer may not replace the mattress. Other warranties can be voided because of stains or missing tags.

The Better Business Bureau said that mattress inquiries have doubled in the last year and offered tips when shopping for a mattress.

Mattress Shopping Tips:
- Shop around. Mattress prices and quality vary greatly and are often hard to compare because of different models being sold by different stores.
- The BIG print GIVES and the small print takes away. Ask about the retailer's and the manufacturer's return and refund policies, and get copies in writing.
- Ask if the retailer sells used bedding. If so, and you want a new mattress, make sure your mattress has a "new" mattress tag.
- Many times you will be offered a floor model if the price of new is too high. Demand documentation and find out how long the mattress has been on the showroom floor.
- Make sure you look at the tag on the actual mattress you're buying, either before you leave the store or before the delivery person leaves your house. Don't let the heavy plastic wrapping stop you from looking for - and at - the tag.
- Ask the retailer to write "new" on your sales receipt if you've been told you're buying a new mattress. If it turns out that the mattress is used, you'll have stronger recourse.
- Avoid retailers with mattresses that don't carry tags. You simply don't know what you're getting, regardless of what the salesperson claims.
- Prior to purchase, be sure to check out the company by visiting bbb.org.
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