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SALLY SORTS IT: I can’t return my memory foam mattress – it won’t fit back in the box


I bought a £269 memory foam mattress in a box from Dunelm in Greenford, west London, for our extra bed.

When I unpacked it at home, the mattress began to grow enormously.

Meanwhile, my wife inspected the mattress and realized it would be medium firm when we really needed a firm one for our guest room, so we decided to return it.

We tried to put it back in the box but there was no hope because it was still expanding.

I called the Greenford store but got no answer. I called another nearby Dunelm store.

Impossible: A reader was told she couldn’t return her new memory foam mattress unless it was in the original box.

No response. I tried the only helpline number I could find on the website and got the message “this helpline is closed”.

The mattress continued to grow. I threw it and the box in the back of my car and drove 40 miles to Greenford, where a member of staff saw my obvious problem with not being able to put it back in the box, but said it was a management decision as to whether I could or could not return it.

The manager understood my point but confirmed that I couldn’t pick it up because it wasn’t in its original packaging.

I don’t have a professional mattress compressor at home, and I found that it seems to be the only way to pack it in a box, and when I asked if anyone could help me try to flatten it, there were no takers. It is an impossible task.

The only thing the manager suggested was to file a complaint online. Can you help?

LW, Oxfordshire.

Sally Hamilton responds: To better visualize your problem, I asked you to send me a photo of the incredible expandable mattress along with the box it came in.

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the image, which I wish I could share with readers.

I estimate that the mattress had swelled to at least six times the volume of the cardboard box.

Physics suggests there was no way to put it back in without the box shattering.

An online search revealed that memory foam mattresses can typically take up to three days to expand to their full size without packaging them, so it wasn’t unusual for you to witness them grow before your eyes.

I looked up Dunelm’s returns policy and it says items can be returned within 28 days as long as they are “unused and in their original condition (including all packaging and labels intact).”

From photographic evidence I noticed that the mattress was still in its unopened plastic cover, so that would suggest that it was still in its original packaging, even if it was not in the box.

I thought Dunelm could have taken a more generous approach to his dilemma, so I asked him to reconsider. To reaffirm my argument, I attach the photo of the swollen mattress.

I’m pleased to say that Dunelm sprang into action and quickly agreed to a full refund, as long as you agreed to return the mattress to the store, which they were happy to do.

Buying a mattress is a complicated process as buyers often only realize after sleeping on it for a period of time whether it is too firm or too soft.

However, returning one can be a minefield, depending on the retailer and how you buy it. If you buy one in person, unless it is faulty or damaged, you will only be able to return it for a refund if the retailer’s terms and conditions allow it.

Return policies vary from retailer to retailer, so it’s essential to check first. A credit note may be the only option offered if the mattress is not suitable.

Buyers have more rights if they buy a mattress online. Under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013, if someone buys products online or over the phone, they can cancel the order and get a full refund 14 days after the day of delivery.

This is an important right, as buyers have not had the opportunity to inspect their purchase in person.

They may have to pay the return shipping costs and send it back in the original packaging. If the packaging is damaged, the retailer is entitled to make a deduction from the amount it will refund.

If a mattress is purchased from a retailer that offers a “sleep trial,” whether online or in-store, buyers can usually safely return it if it proves unsuitable.

But check the details first, as trial periods and return rules differ.

Mattresses returned after a sleep trial are often donated to charity.

Straight to the point

I asked my son to order a remote control battleship as a Christmas gift for my grandson, but it never arrived.

My son sent several emails to Amazon but has not received a response. I can’t afford to lose £98, please help.

GR, via email.

Amazon has now spoken to you to resolve the issue, which it says was caused by you contacting the third-party seller instead of contacting customer service directly.

He has since received a refund.


In March, Tesco Bank launched an offer giving savers who made three deposits of at least £20 a voucher for 500 Clubcard points.

I paid the money to my Tesco bank account but I haven’t received the points yet.

JR, Derbyshire.

Tesco says that although it made the necessary deposits, it did not pay them into the correct account.

He says the offer could have been clearer and has decided to apply the points to his account, along with an additional 500 points and £100 as a gesture of goodwill.


I had £63 on my Iceland card, but while I was on holiday in July my card was stolen and I used it to buy £62.70 worth of items.

Iceland sent me a new card but it has the same number as the previous one. Please help.

Sir, Peterborough.

Iceland says it has refunded the stolen money and offered a goodwill gesture of £100 for the inconvenience caused.

Help us recover £3,300 of school funds

I am chairman of the governing board of Snarestone Church of England Primary School in Leicestershire.

For many years we have maintained two bank accounts with NatWest Bank, a current account and a deposit account. In about 2018, the bank wrote to us to inform us that it was closing the deposit account due to inactivity.

There was approximately £3,300 in the account. Unfortunately, as we did not respond quickly enough, the account was closed and NatWest transferred the money to a holding account. We have tried to recover this money by filling out various forms but all to no avail.

He just doesn’t seem to want to return the money.

Why can’t the bank just transfer the money to our checking account?

I asked our local MP to intervene, but got nowhere. I don’t know what additional measures I can take and that is why I am seeking your help.

RC, Leicestershire.

Sally Hamilton responds: Your school deposit account became inactive due to lack of use. It is common practice for this to happen after a period of inactivity, and the closing of the shutters varies from bank to bank (or building society).

This can be as short as two or as long as 15 years.

The institution must attempt to contact an account holder before closing the curtain, which NatWest did. Once inactive, the customer cannot access the account and the bank can use the money as it sees fit. However, the balance technically becomes a debt that the bank owes to the account holder, so it can be recovered at any time.

You tried this but you didn’t succeed. He admits that he didn’t act quickly enough when he received the notification that it was down, but once he did, I felt the customer service he received was particularly dull, so I gave NatWest a nudge on his behalf.

Within days the bank released the cash, which has now been transferred to the school’s current account, along with £350 as an apology.

A spokesperson says: ‘We apologize for the issues this customer has faced transferring their funds from an inactive deposit account. We have transferred the funds to the customer’s business current account and offered compensation for the inconvenience caused.’

NatWest says it followed procedure and put the account on hold because there had been no activity on it for five years and nine months. The root of the problem was that the deposit account had been assigned a different bank identification number (BIN) than the checking account more than 25 years ago.

The BIN is the first number on an account’s payment card that tells you which bank issued it. This meant that the two accounts were not linked. If they had been given the same BIN, the deposit account would have remained active since the checking account was still in use and the balance would not have been frozen.

Hopefully, you will now be able to put the funds released to good use just as the new school year begins.

  • Write to Sally Hamilton at Sally Sorts It, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email sally@dailymail.co.uk; include the phone number, address, and a note addressed to the offending organization giving them permission to speak. to Sally Hamilton. Please do not send original documents as we cannot be responsible for them. The Daily Mail cannot accept any legal responsibility for the responses given.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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