You may ask, "Why there is a furniture page on a car buying site?" The answer will be clear once you read it. Furniture stores operate very similarly to car dealerships when it comes to squeezing profit out of a sale.
You will find advertising deceit, trickery, and outright lies by uninformed salespeople. Now don't get me wrong, many furniture stores are honest and fairly priced. Many are not, and have "customer service" that is far below their boasted levels. The whole MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) pricing game on furniture is such a joke. Manufacturers set these meaningless over inflated MSRP prices so that when stores actually sell the furniture at their normal "everyday" prices, they can claim they are giving you a huge discount, especially with 50% off sales.
The furniture manufacturers treat "MSRP" similar to the way car companies do. It is just a starting point and a marketing tool. Usually in secret between the manufacturere and the home furniture stores there is another price called MAP, which stands for Minimum Advertised Price. This MAP price is the bottom threshold selling price allowed by the manufacturer. Sales people at one matress store that shared information with me get 15% to 20% commission for selling at MSRP and they only get 7-10% if they sell at MAP. Naturally you'll find a lot of resistance from salespeople to sell at MAP.
Beware of stores claiming to have the lowest prices in town or that they will beat any store's price. Wait a minute, I think that's almost every store! These stores are the ones whose prices can actually be MORE than their competition. You might say "But Jeff, they say they have the lowest prices guaranteed!" Usually their prices as you see them on the floor right now are not really the lowest price. You have to go and find that low price at another store, on an IN STOCK item and then you can try to get them to meet or beat that price.
Typically stores that advertise the "lowest prices" like this have prices no better than the next store. If you stop to think about it, they really could not be better if MAP is the lowest you can go and if all his competitors are selling at MAP. More and more, consumers are educating themselves and going online to buy from the discounters who sell at MAP everyday with no games. Many people even drive to the Carolinas and visit all the discount home furniture stores and drive it back themselves to save on shipping or they have the discount furniture store ship it to their house.
The big scam in mattresses is that no two competing stores get the same mattress EVER! And I do mean ever. We searched every major department store and alleged "discount mattress" store and could not compare apples with apples prices because the mattress companies make different model names for different retailers. Even on many of the online sites it's hard to compare. This is all part of the industry scam to keep you in the dark and prevent you from comparison shopping apples with apples. Toyota does not make 20 different model names for Camry in the U.S., so why do mattress companies do this? It's all to help the stores get higher prices and allow them to "beat the lowest price" because you can't possibly find the same model.
Compare all the parameters of the mattress, the layers, the stuffing, the coil count, everything. Competing stores may have a different name sewn in the label, but to you the model name is inconsequential when comparing mattresses from different stores. You need to look for the same quilting, damask patterns, layers, number of coils, coil gauge, etc. That's how you know that you are looking at the same mattress you saw in another store.
By now, you've gotten used to seeing that ominous looking asterisk, that once you see it, you heart sinks and you immediately begin to wonder "OK, what's the catch?" First of all, you must be approved for credit to get 0%. Just like when car dealers advertise these deals, only people with great credit scores will get approved. The second catch is you better read the fine print associated with that asterisk. Usually, if not paid off in full in one year, interest (at 21-25% APR) will accrue from date of delivery.
We always warn people at car dealerships not to purchase things that you don't really need. The same holds true when buying furniture. Don't be tricked into buying overpriced extras like stain protection. You can get a can of Scotchgard at Walmart for under $10 and do it yourself.
Make sure your definition of "delivered" matches that of the furniture store
Is it delivered AND setup in the house, or just dropped off out front? Make sure you have it detailed in writing or you'll be horribly surprised. There are usually two kinds of delivery:
Get everything in writing on what they will do, whether they setup or not. Don't just compare prices of Furniture Store A to Furniture Store B. Compare the entire deal including the shipping charges and any fees. Furniture Store A could charge $100 less for your dresser than Furniture Store B, but then charge $200 more on shipping, so be careful.
What happens to your old mattress?
When you buy a new mattress, will they remove the old one for you? How much will it cost? You better get that in writing before you sign any purchase papers. Don't take their word for it.
How do you pay for furniture that you order online, or from discount stores in the Carolinas?
Pay your deposit with a credit card, most stores require usually 30% down, NON REFUNDABLE. This is because they have to go buy it from the factory and don't want to be left holding the empty bag when you change your mind and try to weasel out of the order. When your furniture arrives, you can pay the delivery driver the rest by check if they can't take cards on the road.