Subtle Misselling Of Pocket-Spring Mattresses

trajan

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Misselling may be overt or it may be subtle.
It can sometimes result from the misleading presentations of a single salesperson (usually the one that we buy the goods from) about the product in question, its suitability for our situation, its quality, durability, etc.
But misselling can often be more subtle than that. It can also result from a decision made by a consumer after receiving a lot of incorrect and/or misleading information about a product from several sources. For example, a consumer may have seen homely ads on TV about a new design of an existing product, ads that extoll the new design's advantages over existing designs under one or more use conditions. The same consumer may have trawled the showrooms of several vendors and received similar indications from sales staff there. And they may have heard one of their friends or neighbours speak well of the new product design albeit with a less technical rationale.
In the absence of the expertise to evaluate the technical advantages of one product design over another, a consumer may often be inclined to go with the new design, especially when there are certain - at least apparently - demonstrable advantages to it, particularly when some of those alleged advantages are desirable to him/her.

Where this sort of thing happens and where the consumer is disappointed in the performance of the product, what sort of reddress is available via small claims or district courts ? While overt misselling is forbidden in regard to financial products, I wonder do consumer regulators apply the same stricture when purchase of expensive household products, e.g. mattresses, large appliances, etc, are concerned ?

I ask as I have lately learned through bitter experience that the principal advantage of the pocket-spring mattress I bought will not confer any advantage to people preferring a firm flat mattress. In fact it will be quite unsuitable for people like me; as good as useless in fact. I can't help thinking that pocket-sprung mattress limitations would be given more airing by sales staff if they were priced at the same point as coil-sprung ones. But as in all industries, new technology is a great pretext for higher prices. And expecting salespersons to resist the temptation to guide their customers towards the higher priced goods would be like expecting a dog not to bark. In fairness, many sales staff are under orders to do such things.
 
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Leo

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It can sometimes result from the misleading presentations of a single salesperson (usually the one that we buy the goods from) about the product in question, its suitability for our situation, its quality, durability, etc.
If the advertising is misleading, then the CPCC has guidance. You have further protection as a consumer if you feel you have been sold good that are not fit for purpose or not as advertised by the company you bought it from.
 

trajan

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@Leo: The advertising does leave a lot to be desired, I can look into that with CPCC.
My concern here is not for my own bad experience. I was VERY fortunate to have found that the original manufacturer of the missold mattress was prepared to exchange it for something more suitable. So I didn't have to avail of legal or consumer assistance.
Most people in my situation would not be so lucky. They would be down 400 - 800 euro and hopping mad about it, perhaps to no avail.
 

odyssey06

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Interesting one.

When it comes to financial products and say health insurance there are sometimes requirements for 'suitability' tests to be run by qualified professionals before a product can be sold to consumer. On the assumption that these products are complex and the lay person may not be familiar with what they entail.

But let's say it comes to the selling of a product like a petrol v diesel car, or a laptop v a desktop computer.
The product sold may well be perfectly suitable for many people.
But if you are only driving once a week to the shops in Dublin, you should have petrol not a diesel car.
But the onus is really on you to be aware of this, as far as I can tell.
If you are sold a perfectly serviceable diesel car, you can have no come back.

I think your mattress scenario would fall into same category?
Unless you were told by sales person this is a good buy for people who like firm mattresses, and the mattress isn't firm.
Otherwise, you were sold a perfectly serviceable mattress that many people would be happy with, but isn't what in fact you needed.

ps I am glad in this scenario the original manufacturer was able to resolve it for you
 

Cervelo

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It's not something you often buy during your lifetime, I presume most people would get at least ten years before thinking of changing
We changed ours a couple of years ago and IIRC most good ones offered a 90 day trial period
Which should be long enough to workout if it's suitable or not
 
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trajan

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If you are sold a perfectly serviceable diesel car, you can have no come back.

This is just the point. 350 euro to buy it and I'm happier on the floor.
What is serviceable, and its interpretation, is just the question.
In this case serviceability is plainly subjective. Therefore its determination should consider a customer's stated need for firmness - and not a mere temporary firmness observed when lying upon it in a store. It is no use to such a customer to have with a gradual sag into a channel beneath me over 20 minutes.

In financial services arena, from what I read, all professional advisers must firstly have the one-on-one talk with the client to ascertain

1. Income, expenses and surplus per pay period
2. Existing financial commitments & protections, e.g. mortgage, other loans & obligations, life insurance, health insurance, etc
3. Desired enhancements (in general terms and subject to means) to existing financial protections

before any financial product is even proposed to them.

This is not from the Book of Revelations: it's what all serious salespeople do when selling any product or service. Otherwise they will vex the ripped-off customer - who will not keep their mouth shut on the matter.
But the tricky thing here is that the whole of the retail sector must be forced by consumer regulators to sign up to an equivalent schema in dealing fairly with their ultimate customers. Otherwise the subtle nature of the misselling makes it hard for any individual consumer to challenge a given retailer.
 

trajan

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@Cervelo . . . .

We changed ours a couple of years ago and IIRC most good ones offered a 90 day trial period
Which should be long enough to workout if it's suitable or not


I'm glad you had no trouble.
Yet I'm inclined to doubt the 90-day trial period. But I'll check it out soon.
Can I take it that you bought from a furniture superstore as opposed to a no-frills retailer working from an industrial unit warehouse ?
 

Cervelo

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I was looking online for most of my search and went to Harvey Norman to see what they had
Most of the brands I liked were close to a thousand euro for what I needed which I thought was too expensive
But in 2017 I spent 3 months in Spain in one of the most comfortable beds I've ever slept in
I was surprised when my Spanish landlady told me she got the mattress in IKEA
Think it was less then three hundred euro and haven't had a bad nights sleep since
 

trajan

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@Cervelo . . .

So you got it at IKEA Ireland ?
This sort of thing here gives a 90-day offer:


I see online a few other companies doing 90 or 100 day trials (subject to conditions).
But then so many local mattress suppliers simply do not provide this.
So it's not in any sense an industry code of practice.
 

AlbacoreA

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.... I have lately learned through bitter experience that the principal advantage of the pocket-spring mattress I bought will not confer any advantage to people preferring a firm flat mattress. In fact it will be quite unsuitable for people like me; as good as useless in fact. I can't help thinking that pocket-sprung mattress limitations w....
I would be curious to know what limitation are you referring to.
 

Micks'r

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Interesting topic.
In my own area of expertise, it is a government quango that is involved in a type of subtle misselling to joe public in the form of grant aiding. For example, if you are improving the energy efficiency of your home you can apply for insulation grant aid. This on the face of it seems perfectly sensible and reasonable because people are generally led to believe that the lack of insulation is the main problem in Irish homes. There is a list of approved and registered insulation installers/contractors and all so they must be competent etc.
So where's the subtle misselling then?
It's the fact that the majority of Irish houses suffer relatively much more heat loss by draughts (air leakage) than conduction (insulation) and adding insulation addresses conductive losses generally and not draughts.
So Joe Public is indirectly missold a product by a government quango (SEAI) that he is lead to believe must be appropriate for his house afterall a government body says his house qualifies for the grant aided upgrade measure and therefore rightfully expects to feel a significant difference in the performance of his house or his wallet. This difference is rarely felt unfortunately until the real issue of draughts are first addressed properly.
And to rub salt in the wound, it's Joe Public's and our own taxes which are being used to fund these grants.
 

trajan

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I would be curious to know what limitation are you referring to. (AlbacoreA)

Yeah, me too. I have a pocket sprung mattress which is firm. (Gordon Gekko)


Pocket-sprung mattresses have the springs standing in individual cells of a honeycomblike array which is fabricated to allow independent deflection of each individual spring.
This means that heavily loaded points (e.g. hips, shoulders) will cause localised sagging of the mattress while adjacent zones remain undeflected.
In simple language the pocket-sprung mattress deflects to replicate the profile of one's sleeping posture. The sleeper then rests in a sort of channel in the mattress with the heavily loaded hips and shoulders in deeper hollows.
Now, some of us will find this type of suspension comfortable and be delighted with the new mattress design.

But more of us certainly will not: we don't like resting in a concave channel of a mattress and finding our hip and shoulder areas encased in the same position. We prefer a suspension allowing us to rest with a straight back and easily make those small unconscious twitching movements needed to rearrange ouselves during sleeping. Otherwise we will have circulation issues near the restricted zones and have to make a lot more large movements (moving position on mattress) during the night. Moreover the foam covering between the pocket-springs and the sleeper tends to curl around the sleeper and press in on them from the sides.
What we need is a more of a mattress which distributes deflection all across the length and width of the mattress. This is what a coil-sprung mattress does due to the ties between the springs. There is much less of a channel effect and no pressing-in effect from the displaced foam padding.

So in pocket-sprung mattresses, the firmness is provided principally in the vertical direction; with coil-sprung mattreses the firmness is achieved through cooperation between vertical resistance of the springs beneath and the horizontal restraining effect of adjacent springs that are wired to them.

The problem with the marketing of pocket-sprung mattreses lies in how the impression is subtly given that the pocket-sprung design is always better than the coil-sprung for all types of people. This is certainly not the case.
 

trajan

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@Mick'sr

It's the fact that the majority of Irish houses suffer relatively much more heat loss by draughts (air leakage) than conduction (insulation) and adding insulation addresses conductive losses generally and not draughts.


As a matter of general interest, what would be the final breakdown (%) in remediation cost for older house heat loss corrections due to

* Draught sealing
* Insulation

Draughts are part and parcel of an old house.
But is there not a building code to ensure draught avoidance in common areas like doors, windows, vents, etc home built since 1990s ?
 

Micks'r

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1. As a matter of general interest, what would be the final breakdown (%) in remediation cost for older house heat loss corrections due to

* Draught sealing
* Insulation

2. Draughts are part and parcel of an old house.
3. But is there not a building code to ensure draught avoidance in common areas like doors, windows, vents, etc home built since 1990s ?
1. How long is a piece of string ... define "older". Some "older" houses are far easier (cheaper) to remedy for losses due to air leakage than newer ones. For example, a 1960's semiD with suspended ground floor and rendered external walls versus a 1990's/naughties semiD with concrete floor and dry lined hollow block walls. In my experience, the return is far better, in both bang for the buck terms as well as comfort, in addressing air leakage in a targeted measured way. After all we do not live in a very cold climate (where good insulation comes to the fore) but instead live in a mild but windy one.

To put some numbers on it, I was involved recently in the upgrade of a 2 bed apartment built in the 1980's. The cost of the air tightness materials used to reduced the (measured) air leakage rate by 78% (from 10 to 2.2 m3/hr/m2@50Pa) was less than 300 euros. This was a complete gut job but I'm using it to give an example that it is possible to make a real difference without breaking the bank if a targeted approach is taken.

A consequence of this air tightness work means that the apartment can no longer rely on natural background ventilation so a specific ventilation system was required to compensate for the reduced air infiltration.

The result is a much warmer apartment, with better internal air quality than previously and yet there was no extra insulation works done.
Very easily and in the absence of a proper survey / investigation someone else could have spent say 10 grand to internally insulate the apartment (grant aided) which would have been entirely wasted if the air leakage issues were not addressed (and not to mention possibly introducing a real mould risk at the back of the insulation).

2. This is the point, they don't need to be. The majority are reasonably easy to address permanently. But you need to know where to look and how to remedy.

3. There is. It's in technical guidance document part L of the building regulations. However, it's the poor relation when compared to insulation requirements. The current criteria is for the air permeability to be less than 5m3/hr/m2 @ 50 pascals pressure difference but prior to 2008 there was no specific criteria.

Even so, lets break down the current criteria. So 5 m3 of air is allowed to pass through each m2 of envelope area (combined area of ground floor, external walls and roof) per hour at 50 pascals pressure (equivalent to a 22mph wind outside). Think about this for a minute. For a standard semiD this probably equates to a full internal air change every 12 minutes! And it was only changed from 7 to 5 m3/hr/m2 last November. For comparison purposes a passive house equivalent is approx 0.6 (over 8 times tighter than current Irish b.regs) and has been the same for the past 25+ years.
Also, rarely do windows or door make the list of top 3 issues in a typical house.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that lack of or poor insulation in houses is generally not the big problem with heal loss from a house (new or old) especially if the house cools down quickly once the heating is turned off and the real culprit is air leakage which is fixable when understood.
 

trajan

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@Micks'r

Very illuminating. Looks like a sealed house will need an active (i.e. oxygen content monitor plus servo on fan motor) ventilation system for every room.
Come to think of it, it would nearly have to be a contralised exchange system so that incoming air could pick up the heat from the outblown air.

I know you are not knocking home insulation grants per se.
You are just looking for a rebalancing of attention amongst the principal home energy loss factors.
As this is your bag, I suppose people in your line will have to prepare a detailed paper on this for the national media: there is no sense whatsoever in putting a paper to the Dept of Env due to the strong interests involved like small builders, young engineers cutting out a consultancy niche for themselves and all the specialists associated in testing & proofing the refinished houses.

I need to consider a similar approach myself with the pocket-sprung mattress retailing attitude.
 

Bronte

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Can’t see how a mattress costing 350 wouldn’t sag. I opted for a super delux English mattress about 5 years ago, VERY expensive. never sags, great quality, solid. It has coils in it. Very pleased. I had an Irish Odearest, I think it was, for years. An ‘initial investment’ at about 300 Irish pounds. Still have it. Moved to an expensive foam type thing, hated that, but it’s in the guest bedroom now.

Sleep in hotel beds, or your friends, then figure out what you like.

Impressed above to hear the Ikea mattress are excellent. Found the same with our Ikea couches which lasted for years and years.
 

trajan

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@Bronte

You seem to be dodging the point here, albeit interestingly.

Sleep in hotel beds, or your friends', then figure out what you like . . .


I love it ! :D

But my biggest regret is that I didn't approach this as an engineer the first day out - rather than after the rip-off.
 
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