• David Perry

More industry execs favoring shorter bedding warranties

Las Vegas - Support for 10-year full-replacement mattress warranties is growing.
     More Top 15 bedding producers are voicing their support for the 10-year warranties, which Tempur Sealy International officials recently announced they are adopting on their premium lines on March 1. Those lines include some of the best-known brands in the bedding industry, including Sealy Posturepedic, Tempur-Pedic, Stearns & Foster and Optimum.
     Shortly after Tempur Sealy International announced its plans to switch to 10-year full-replacement warranties, King Koil said it will make a similar move in April. "I like what the industry is doing," said Englander President Kevin Toman. "We shouldn't be selling a product used eight hours a day and putting a 20-year warranty on it. No other industry does that. It's archaic to merchandise the warranties and not the products themselves."
     He praised Tempur Sealy executive Rick Anderson, who announced his company's plans to standardize its premium warranties at 10 years.
     "I'm very happy Rick Anderson has taken a leadership position on this issue," Toman said. "It's refreshing this issue is being addressed after being ignored for years."
     Therapedic CEO Gerry Borreggine, who has been outspoken in his support for much shorter warranties, said his group "never left 10-year warranties" on a national basis, but has allowed longer warranties if licensees need them in specific market conditions. "Our national warranty is 10 years," he said. "We've been there for years."
     If he had his way, Borreggine added, "I'd like to see warranties go even lower (than 10 years). Unrealistic warranties mislead consumers. It would benefit the entire shopping experience if warranties were made simple and factual. That would be better for the consumer, better for the manufacturer and better for the retailer."
     He noted that warranties protect consumers against product defects and are not guarantees of product and comfort life.
     "Shorter warranties are good for consumers," said Restonic President Ron Passaglia, adding that if consumers replace their bedding more frequently they will experience the latest technological advances and comfort refinements offered by the bedding industry.
     Kingsdown CEO Frank Hood said shorter warranties are "a good idea," and said his company is considering moving to them. The long warranties that have been the norm are "not a longterm, sustainable strategy for the industry," he said.
     Discussing retail reaction to his company's plan to standardize warranties at 10 years, Tempur Sealy executive Anderson said: "Our retail customers are extremely positive. They are very supportive. Some retailers have put other manufacturers on notice" that they want shorter warranties.
     Gary Fazio, CEO of Simmons and Serta, said he will be studying the warranty issue. "We are going to do our homework on this and that will yield a response," Fazio said.
     He added that the research he has seen shows that consumers are confused in the mattress shopping process, but that warranties are not the source of the confusion.

David PerryDavid Perry | Executive Editor, Furniture Today

Hi, online readers. I'm David Perry, executive editor of Furniture/Today, and the writer on the mattress beat. Get my musings on mattresses on our web site and on my Twitter feed. And let me know what you would like me to write about in the wonderful world of mattresses.

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