Dear Consumer Ed:

We bought a mattress and within days there was a deep sag in the middle.  The store replaced it, but we had the same problem immediately.  They took the mattress back and will give us a store credit they say has to be used by the end of the year.  We don’t want another mattress from this store; we want our money back.  Can we make them give it back?

Consumer Ed says: 

Georgia law does not require businesses to provide a refund or accept returns or exchanges.  This means that businesses can set their own return/refund policies.   These policies may offer consumers a cash refund, store credit, or exchange, or they may prohibit returns of any kind. Except in very limited circumstances, the law generally does not guarantee you the right to a refund or a three-day cancellation.

There are a few circumstances under which you might be entitled to a refund.  First, while stores are not required to post their return policies, they must honor the terms of any posted policy.  If the store posted a return policy that provides for cash refunds, and if you abided by the terms of the policy, then a store credit is not an acceptable resolution—this would be an unfair trade practice.  Another circumstance would be if the retailer significantly misrepresented the quality of the mattress, and that representation was one of the main reasons you decided to purchase it.  Deceptive advertising, along with unfair trade practices, are violations of the Fair Business Practices Act (FBPA).  If you believe that this retailer has violated the FBPA, you should file a complaint with the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection by calling 404-651-8600 or visiting www.consumer.ga.gov.

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