Ct Atty Gen Investigating Sleepy’s on 25 Customer Allegations Of Bedbugs

October 20, 2009
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Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s investigation into consumer complaints that Sleepy’s delivered used mattresses instead of new ones has expanded to include allegations from 25 customers that they were sold mattresses that had bedbugs.

Sleepy’s adamantly denies selling used mattresses and says it is impossible for any customer to have had a bedbug infestation from its products. It says it has satisfied most of those who had complained to the company.

“Sleepy’s performs over 2,000 deliveries of bedding per day, and, to date, there have been no substantiated reports of bed bug infestations generated from Sleepy’s merchandise,” Adam S. Blank, the firm’s chief operating officer and general counsel, wrote to Blumenthal.

Letter from Richard Blumenthal, Aug. 19, 2009 (PDF)

Letter from Adam S. Blank, Sept. 2, 2009 (PDF)

Letter from Richard Blumenthal, Sept. 15, 2009 (PDF)

Letter from Adam S. Blank, Sept. 25, 2009 (PDF)

The scope of Blumenthal’s investigation was made public by Blumenthal after Connecticut Watchdog filed a state Freedom of Information request for all documents he has sent to and received from Sleepy’s. Links to all the documents can be found in the box to the left.

Blumenthal said Tuesday evening that Sleepy’s has provided his office with the 25 bedbug complaints it received from Connecticut customers from October 2008 through Aug. 21, 2009. Prior to October 2008, Sleepy’s did not keep track of such complaints.

Blumenthal said his office will investigate each allegation and will continue its probe into whether Sleepy’s sold any used mattresses as new.

Sleepy’s is the nation’s largest retail mattress chain and has nearly 700 stores in 13 states and in the District of Columbia. It has more than 70 stores in Connecticut.

The documents from Sleepy’s also claim to show that the original complaint that began this investigation was unfounded because the customer, Jeff Maier, reported the problem four months after his box spring had been delivered.

Maier, of Norwalk, however said he reported the problem as soon as he learned of its cause.

“There is a very simple explanation to why it took 4 months,” Maier wrote to me Tuesday evening in an e-mail. “The determination that the culprit was the box springs from Sleepy’s was made when Stern Environmental Group’s exterminator did his initial extermination and investigation of the bed bugs.

“The mattress and box springs were purchased in mid July 2008 and the initial extermination was done in mid Nov 2008. This was the first possible date for the extermination to be done due to Stern Environmental’s busy schedule. It was at this first extermination visit by Stern that the box springs were determined to be the source of the bed bugs. This explains the 4 months during which we were unsure of where the bed bugs had come from and it is also why we did not contact Sleepy’s until immediately after this initial extermination,” he wrote me.

His explanation was backed up partially by a report from Stern that states that it inspected the box spring in November. A copy of that report as well as my original column on this issue (which contributed to my being fired by The Courant) can be seen here.

Blumenthal said that he cannot recall in his 18 years as attorney general ever having received a customer complaint against a mattress retailer alleging that bedbugs were delivered with the mattress or box spring.

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5 Responses to Ct Atty Gen Investigating Sleepy’s on 25 Customer Allegations Of Bedbugs

  1. joe on October 21, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    The heavy advertising by sleepy’s is not only to sell mattresses,
    but to drive small retailers out of business. They also steal experienced help from the small retailers.

  2. Jeff on October 26, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    George & Company,

    I was (almost ) a victim of Sleepy’s “bait & switch” sales technique. About 8-9 years ago I went in to their Manchester,CT facility & chose a premium quality box spring & mattress set for my daughter. The salesman showed me a 2 ft.X 2ft. sample box spring which incorporated “steel” cross members for extra strength. When the set arrived I picked it up & brought it home only to unwrap a much cheaper box spring with thin wood cross members.

    I returned to the store & complained. The salesman tried to tell me that this was the box spring I paid for. I got right in his face & told him he was trying to pull a bait & switch on me. ( I am a salesman myself ) That term seemed to put a bit of a shiver in his spine. He backed down & offered to have the better box spring shipped in from NY. I picked it up a few days later & still feel that even this one was a slightly cheaper construction than the sample he showed me. I decided to live with this one though.

    I wonder how many people they have done this to.

    Regards,
    Jeff

  3. Jay on March 13, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    So I read those letters from Mr. Blank. And he specifically says that Sleepy’s has never and will never sell a used mattress. He goes on and on about this. Ala Bill Clinton perhaps? The complaint that was getting him trouble was the boxspring was infested with bedbugs, not the mattress.

    Sleepy’s, like most mattress retailers, exchange high profile boxsprings (standard height is 9″) for low profile boxes (5.5″).

    Joe Schmo walks into Sleepy’s and hasn’t bought a bed in 15yrs. He gets his new mattress set delivered, and look at that……the dang thing is 10″ taller than what he’s used too. He gets on the phone to the mattress professionals to explain his predicament, and a few days later (for a nominal fee) they swap out his tall boxspring for a low profile one.

    Now, I ask you, do you really, really, really, really think Sleepy’s destroys that boxspring?

    Oh and if this makes it all the way to Mr. Blank, make sure to word the question perfectly. He is a lawyer after all. Do not ask if Sleepy’s re-sells or exchanges used boxsprings. Because in all honesty he can look you in the eye and say no.

    Boxsprings are some what out-dated. Truth be told, there are very few mattress manufactures that even make boxsprings anymore. The correct term is “Foundation”. Think of it like the old Tin can…when in fact, since the 1960′s aluminum has been the metal of choice for cans (it’s cheaper to make, just like todays foundations vs. boxsprings).

    So the correct question to ask is; Has Sleepy’s ever sold or exchanged used foundations or boxsprings to consumers? He might have a little trouble with that one.

  4. Kari on April 21, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    How how I wish I had come across this article last week!!!! My husband and I just purchased a mattress online from Sleepys we just moves to NYC 2 months ago. I am still finishing my work here in Baltimore so I have not slept in the mattress. We just got it delivered on Monday. My husband calls and tells me that he has woken up with numerous bites on his body this morning he believes them to be bed bugs. We have never had bed bugs I don’t know and I have read that they could have lived in the apartment and were just waiting in the wings. But they do also infest furniture and my husband had no problem when he was on the couch and now all the sudden when we get this new mattress he wakes up with bites. I called Sleepys this morning they were no chalant and asked me if I had any pets and I said yes a cat and they said they could have come from anywhere including our cat and that some customer service person was going to be calling me in a day about my complaint. I am quite irate mind you I have a pure bred Siamese cat who just was at the vet last week and was flea and all other bug free and recieved a clean bill of health I was quite offended. I can’t wait to hear what this customer service person is going to tell me tomorrow all I know is I have mattress I just bought it has bugs in it my husband is itching to death and it’s being blamed on the cat! I am beyond flabergasted and pissed!

  5. Na on June 26, 2014 at 4:43 am

    I have had problems with the independent company that delivers the matresses but not with Sleepy’s.

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