After spending more than $3000 on a new bed, Satinder and Sam Lee ended up sleeping on the couch.

Within a few months of buying it, the bed had developed a big ridge in the centre and two dents where they slept. It was so uncomfortable that the couch was a better option if you wanted a decent night's sleep, Satinder says.

Satinder contacted the Farmers store where she'd bought the Sleepyhead-brand "Sanctuary" bed. Farmers and Sleepyhead both sent staff out to look at it. Sleepyhead suspected a manufacturing fault was to blame for the ridge in the bed and took it away for repair. But soon after it was returned, Satinder says the dents re-formed and they were sleeping on the couch once more.

Satinder got back in touch with Farmers. Frustrated the situation was dragging on and feeling “stuck” between Farmers and Sleepyhead, she also rang our advice line to find out where she stood legally. Our consumer adviser Maggie Edwards told Satinder she may have rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) to reject the bed.

"Goods have to be of acceptable quality. Satinder had given the retailer the opportunity to repair the bed but found this hadn't fixed the problem. Under the CGA, if the product can't be repaired or the failure is substantial, you're entitled to reject it and choose a replacement or a full refund of the purchase price," Maggie says.

Satinder wrote to Farmers, advising the store she wanted to reject the bed and get a refund. After some toing and froing, Farmers agreed. The store told us very few people returned beds and it was sorry Satinder and Sam had an unsatisfactory experience.

So why did the problem occur in the first place? Sleepyhead's brand manager Warren Roach said a manufacturing fault had caused the ridge in the bed’s centre. But he said the body indentations in the mattress were “natural contouring”, not a manufacturing fault, and within Sleepyhead’s accepted range of 25 to 35mm.

Indentations are normal on almost every mattress. However, "pillow-top" mattresses, the type Satinder and Sam had, can be more prone to indentations and ridges. Pillow-top mattresses have a separate layer of padding – made from foam or other soft materials – attached to the mattress and this layer can lose its "bounce back".

Sleepyhead told us pillow-top mattresses are popular but may not suit everyone and it’s trialling new designs that will produce “far less body contouring”.

For her part, Satinder says the experience has put her off pillow-tops and she won't be getting another one.

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