Mattress Discounters, one of the Washington area' largest bedding retailers, has agreed not to use ads and sales techniques that the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Affairs claimed were deceptive.
Consumer Affairs spokesman Judy Doctor said a cease-and-desist agreement was signed by T.J.B., Inc., trading as Mattress Discounters at a Rockville Pike office and at nine other locations in Maryland, Virginia and the District. T.J.B. will abide by the agreement and pay the county $2,500, Doctor said.
Under terms of the agreement, Mattress Discounters will not advertise brand-name mattresses unless they are available for sale at the advertised price, and salespersons cannot discourage customers from buying them while trying to interest them in other brands.
"Be suspicious if a merchant disparages a product that has been featured in an ad," said OCA Executive Director Barbara Gregg.
In its defense, Mattress Discounters has never admitted any illegal activity or improprieties.
"It isn't true. We practice every ethical means of selling mattresses and brass beds. We offer different models, and maybe we can give a customer a better price. We give them an option. We try to show them the range of what they can buy," said Phil Sierralta, assistant manager of Mattress Discounters.
The firm will also agree to not increase the price of merchandise to compensate for an advertised discount on that item and cannot advertise merchandise at a "reduced" price unless the firm has sold it at that price for a "reasonable period of time," Doctor said.