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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney representing individuals and businesses.
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We bought a mattress from a company called mattress xperts

Customer Question

We bought a mattress from a company called mattress xperts in Ft. Lauderdale. The mattress was in excess of 3500.00. It is all natural and organic. We were told that we had a 60 day comfort guarantee and could exchange it if we didn't like it. When we said we wanted to exercise our guarantee 3 days later we were told by the store owner that it was a special order item and could not be exchanged. We called and spoke to the store manager that we originally dealt with and he said to come in and he would do the exchange. After driving 45 minutes to the store he then said that he would not do the exchange.
The store owner has said that she has a signed paper from us stating the we knew the exchange policy. We signed nothing and we have continually asked for a copy of what we signed. Her reply is that it is up to us to keep track of our paperwork.
What legal options do we have against this store?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

I am sorry to learn of this situation.

There is a series of escalating things you can do to deal with this situation. (Some of these you have already done, as I noted in your question, but I am including all of them here in order to be complete)

  • *First: start with the company's customer service and dispute the claim. Keep your complaint in writing. If you speak to someone by phone, follow up promptly with a "confirmation letter" (see my note below).
  • *Second: (you can do this at the same time), if you paid by credit card (not debit card) you can open a dispute with your credit card carrier (follow the instructions with your credit card company). (Some banks do allow for charge disputes on your debit card - but not all, the laws are not the same and debit card purchases do not have the same protections, if you paid by debit card, contact your bank and see if they do have dispute resolution remedies).
  • *Third: open a dispute with the BBB. The BBB offers consumer dispute resolution that is fast, free to consumers, and is usually effective, they have no enforcement authority, but all BBB disputes result in a public report regarding resolution so businesses do respond to them. You can open a BBB dispute here: https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started
  • *Fourth: if you believe that the company is acting fraudulently (not just charging high rates), you can report them to the state Attorney General. The AG's office does not prosecute individual claims (so they will not get your money back for you), but they will investigate and potentially take administrative and/or criminal action against the company. Florida AG: http://myfloridalegal.com/pages.nsf/Main/60FD9BD8FA71A5B185256CD1005EE5C5
  • *Finally: you can file a small claims action against them for breach of contract. Small claims actions take approximately 3-8 months to go to trial. There is no guarantee of success in these disputes, but filing a small claims action does open an opportunity to negotiate a resolution (in addition to the above opportunities and can lead to mediation - many courts offer mediation programs for their small claims docket). (Florida small claims handles disputes up to $5,000.00 in dispute, so that will cover your $3,500.00 mattress): http://www.flcourts.org/resources-and-services/family-courts/family-law-self-help-information/small-claims.stml

Confirmation letters: Keep written records of all communications - so if you speak to someone by phone, promptly send a follow up "confirmation letter" summarizing your conversation, who you spoke to, when, and any agreements you reached. Keep copies of your outgoing correspondence, as well as anything that you receive.

I wish you the best of luck with this dispute, and hopefully a speedy resolution.

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