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Dear Select Comfort

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January 13, 2010 – Comments (18) | RELATED TICKERS: SCSS

Dear Select Comfort,

I Just thought you'd like to know. A friend and colleague emailed me to ask about buying one of your beds, since he knows I have one. Unfortunately, he won't be buying a bed from you, because I told him the truth about the horrendous quality problems I've had with our Select Comfort bed. Since we're on our second broken pump now, and your "20 year warrantee" is actually a bogus switcheroo. (For those who aren't familiar with the Select Comfort, fake 20-year warrantee, the warrantee is prorated, so Select Comfort now wants a few hundred bucks, or roughly 15% of the original purchase price, to replace a pump system that's been a frustrating series of lemons ever since we bought the thing.)

Prior defects (luckily coming in before the prorating began, a year into ownership) included interior bed foam that grew large and disgusting mold cultures as well as, IIRC, a cover issue.

Given that Select Comfort has about a 60% gross margin on beds, assuming they got a middle of the road, $1,500 bed, Select Comfort just lost out on $900 gross profit. All told, I've shooed 5 or 6 of my friends away from Select Comfort beds over the past year or so, because of the low quality of the pump unit and the bogus warrantee. The beds are quite comfortable, but only when they work.

In the last year, after we moved, we also considered upgrading to a top-of-the-line King, but couldn't bear the thought that we'd have pump problems with another very expensive bed. That's $4,500 or more in gross profits Select Comfort could probably have used, but didn't get.

All for the sake of not doing the right thing, which is replacing my lemon of a pump unit (whose first malfunction came in the 100% warrantee period, and was replaced with a dirty -- I assume returned and perhaps not reconditioned pump) for free. Assuming that unit cost them $600 (I think that's what they said it cost) then they'd be up nearly $4k.

This is how businesses go to seed, especially when they deal in expensive, rarely-replaced goods that are alleged to be of high quality, backed by a bullet-proof warrantee.

Sj

18 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On January 13, 2010 at 12:28 PM, dragonLZ (99.57) wrote:

Not only your friend won't be buying a Select Comfort bed because you told him so, but you also sent their shares down almost 2% today... :) 

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#2) On January 13, 2010 at 12:35 PM, JTShideler (80.13) wrote:

Wish this personal anecdote had been shared before Select Comfort was reccommended 4 times as a Hidden Gem.  Although it makes me feel good that I got out when I did.

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#3) On January 13, 2010 at 1:36 PM, Turfscape (41.25) wrote:

Wow. My wife and I are looking at new beds right now...this helps tremendously!

Thanks for sharing, and potentially saving me a lot of grief and money.

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#4) On January 13, 2010 at 1:41 PM, kdakota630 (29.52) wrote:

I'd been strongly considering getting one of their beds for years, but figured I'd wait until I moved again.  Thanks to you, I'm extremely unlikely to buy one from them.

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#5) On January 13, 2010 at 2:12 PM, djr474 (75.63) wrote:

I would be pissed too about getting a dirty part and having to replace the pump twice; however, the Warranty is clear and not all that different from TPX's.

 

 

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#6) On January 13, 2010 at 2:34 PM, TMFBent (99.81) wrote:

Wish this personal anecdote had been shared before Select Comfort was reccommended 4 times as a Hidden Gem.

Talk to Tom Gardner about that one. I didn't rec the company, and in fact I advocated getting out long before I joined gems, and did in fact recommend dropping it. It narrowly escaped folding.

Moreover, I shared my troubles with the hardware as they came up. Had I been able to see into the future, I would certainly have reported the (then) upcoming hardware problems, or I would have faked them and gotten a replacement before the prorated portion ran out. I also would have loaded up on put options just before the stock headed down, and I'd be retired and not blogging.

not all that different from TPX's.

I don't know what their warranty looks like, but I do suspect a foam bed with no moving parts isn't going to go bad as often as a select comfort.

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#7) On January 14, 2010 at 7:26 AM, degaston (99.55) wrote:

I got to be honest that TMFBent hasn't convinced me to never buy a SelectComfort bed. But he's certainly convinced me that I'll need to be very cautious, read the fine print very carefully and be wary in dealing with this particular company.  

Sorry to hear about your bad experience with Select Comfort.

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#8) On January 14, 2010 at 9:08 AM, dudemonkey (41.26) wrote:

I personally recommend Southern Comfort over Select Comfort.

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#9) On January 14, 2010 at 10:06 AM, TheClub55 (< 20) wrote:

I had an ford escape that broke down once due to a issue w/ the exhust (covered under warrenty), it broke down again with the same issue 2 months later and Ford work not cover the issue (even though they mess up the repair).  $1600 later I decided to sell the car a move to a Nissan Pathfinder, I was not going to trust the work a 2nd time.

That said after letters to ford and too many calls to count, I vowed to cost ford $500,000 in new sales.  Thus far I have taked 3 coworks and frined into staying away from fords, roughly $90k in 18 months. The quest will continue, but its stupid business practic not to fix a $1600 (that was not fixed correclty the first time) to then loose $90K of revenue... I will keep plugging away aginst FORD!

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#10) On January 14, 2010 at 5:24 PM, SleepNumberHelp (< 20) wrote:

Hello, my name is Chris and I work for Select Comfort's Online Customer Care Team. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. I'm very sorry to hear you have experienced this difficulty with your pump system.  It's our mission at Select Comfort to improve the lives of our customers by improving their sleep and we would like to assist you in resolving this issue.  In order to accomplish this, please contact Lisa, one of our Case Managers, at (763)551-8754 until 5:00 PM Central Time on 1/14/2010 or from 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM Central Time on 1/15/2010 so we can help restore the quality sleep you deserve. 

It appears the issue you previously had regarding mold was successfully resolved. Again, we apologize for your experience. Mold growth can occur in any upholstered product, including mattresses, but it’s rare. Regardless, we take the issue of mold growth very seriously — so much so that we are an industry leader in the use of antimicrobial agents to deter the growth of mold in our products. In 2005, we reformulated our antimicrobial treatment. We’re pleased to note that we’ve not had a confirmed case of mold in products treated with the new antimicrobial. But, for those people with pre-2005 beds who believe they may have an issue, we will do all we can to restore the bed to like-new condition.     

We have a website dedicated to providing people with more information about mold and mattresses at http://www.sleepnumberfacts.com/ Sleep well,

Chris V

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#11) On January 14, 2010 at 6:30 PM, Turfscape (41.25) wrote:

SleepNumberHelp wrote:
"Hello, my name is Chris and I work for Select Comfort's Online Customer Care Team"

Well...would you look at that. Power to the People!

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#12) On January 14, 2010 at 6:33 PM, borisvolodnikov (72.34) wrote:

Wow, do they seriously pay people to sit on The Goog all day and address complaints made on people's blogs?

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#13) On January 15, 2010 at 12:59 AM, mryansmith37 (< 20) wrote:

It appears to me that Chris of Select Comfort is a dollar short and a day late.

Why didn't the company take more of an interest in TMFBent's problem when they first heard about it?  The FIRST order of any business is to take care of customers.  This brings repeat business and recommendations to others about the standing of a company.  It appears they didn't do that.

 

 

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#14) On January 15, 2010 at 1:59 PM, ZD (70.16) wrote:

SleepNumberHelp CAPS rating's on par with bed's quality...

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#15) On January 29, 2010 at 12:39 PM, cweston2 (< 20) wrote:

Dear Motley Fool, 

 

Just thought you would like to know.  I had a friend who asked me about your hidden gems service.  i told him to forget it because you recommended a stock 4 times just before it fell off a cliff. (you can figure out how much revenue lost) Not only that, but apparantly an employee at MF had some personal experience that may have proven useful to an investor, but decided to keep it quiet.  See how that works clown?  Here's a thought, how about next time you have a problem with a product that MF has recommended 4 FRIGGIN TIMES, disclose it in the interest of full transparacy.(as part of the service)  Instead of keeping quiet and waiting a few years for a good short opportunity.  Next time genius, get your opinions on paper when it's relevant, instead of an "i told you so" speech years later.

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#16) On February 02, 2010 at 3:55 PM, popov13 (< 20) wrote:

I am in the same camp with Cweston and agree whole-heartedly with some of his points, albeit maybe not the delivery so much.


Regardless though he brings good points to light.  Why was this not mentioned in the Hidden Gems segment.  Some of the touted points of invest-ability for select comfort were its outstanding warranty and it's lack of a mold case since going to the new anti-microbial beds.  You are telling me you had an IN HOUSE example of mold and this did not deter Tom G from continuing his crusade of getting all investors into SCSS?  I have since bitterly canceled my subscription but I remember at the time a 4 time recommendation was basically unprecedented.  To have this kind of information and not use it in the least to taper the excitement the fool was giving off is borderline unconscionable.  


I fully realize my opinion is horridly skewed by the fact that I am bitter about how everything went down.  That being said Tom referenced that he owned the bed, that friends owned the bed and that everyone he knew liked the bed.  I'm not sure if you were sitting on your hands or what, but there was a section of each pick called "risks" (or something to that effect).  Oh by the way a guy I work with had a horrible experience and his bed got moldy doesn't seem too far out of the realm of possibility of things to include.

I liked everything the Fool was about and what they stood for, but the more and more I think about how this situation was handled the more ok I am with not renewing my subscription and not recommending their service to friends and co-workers.

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#17) On May 28, 2013 at 6:57 PM, hrdibpft (< 20) wrote:

It was less than four years of owning my Select Comfort bed that my pump died.

I purposely bought the non-digital, wired pump/remote, due to the stories I read online about the high failure rate of the digital, wired pump/remotes.

Alas, my plan was foiled.

When calling Select Comfort Customer (Dis)Service, the person was happy to try to sell me a wireless, digital pump for several hundred dollars.  I declined.

I tried to play every card I could --including the fact this was my second Select Comfort bed that I bought.  She confirmed my purchase history of both beds, but that wasn't good enough.

So, I spend north of $3,000 for both beds, ask for a little help with a replacement for their crapy pump, and I'm offered to spend list price on another pump with no guarantee the replacement would be any better.

I didn't even ask for a free replacement, but I did ask for an approximate 50% discount.  So, I was willing to pay something.

Finally, like the original poster, I have shared my experience withothers.  Whether or not it's made a difference, I cannot say.  But, I'm hoping this post will serve as another warning to buyers to do their homework.

I will never buy another Select Comfort product.

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#18) On November 18, 2013 at 7:05 PM, idivetoo (< 20) wrote:

I too will shoo everyone I can away from Select Comfort.  They market their product as the "sleep number" bed.  How can you sell sleep number beds that end up (mine for the second time now) without numbers? The entire premise of their marketing is all the Sleep Number Adjustable bed, so I call that false advertising and misrepresenting the product.

I've read enough about all the defective wired remote systems people have ended up with that I think there should be a class action law suit. These units are Lemons and should have been voluntarity recalled and replaced with new units from a different manufacturer. After paying thousands of dollars for their beds they want hundreds more a couple years later if you want your numbers back, then down the road again to get numbers AND AIR. 

My numbers have been gone for over a year which I've lived with so as to not deal with their rude "customer service," now the pump doesn't work either. .  BTW, I've had 3 of their beds, my parents 2. The ones that are 15 years old are fine; the one I bought 8 years ago has failed now for the second time, the pump and remotes. So it is neither a Sleep Number bed, nor is it Adjustable.

The first time, the numbers disappeared in less than 2 years.  When I called them, the woman I spoke to was so rude she borderd on nasty and said "we'll replace it [pump & remotes] this time, but we won't do it again. Sounds like they already knew it would fail again. 

From what I understand, they keep recyling one person's refurbished parts back to someone else (read the warranty, it says they can), so I'll look online for replacement parts (perhaps even better quality) before I'll give them more money. So don't bother, stay away from Select Comfort!

They keep making cheaper, lower quality products, that's where their profit margin comes from. It comes from all the customers with no Sleep Numbers.

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