Householders and shoppers are being warned of the perils of buying what appear to be bargain-priced mattresses from the back of a van that has been spotted in central Croydon.
Buyers have quickly realised that the crisp new mattress for which they have just paid as much as £150 is anything but the bargain they had thought it was.
Closer inspection has revealed that it is either an old mattress that has been re-covered to make it appear new; or it is a cheaply produced item that fails to meet UK safety standards and could be a deadly fire hazard.
And, by the time the bargain hunters have realised that they have been conned, the van and its driver have disappeared from sight, leaving his victims stranded with a worthless product, out of pocket and with no means of seeking a refund.
Croydon’s trading standards team has received a number of complaints about a man selling mattresses from the back of a van bearing “home furnishings” and “Dreams” markings on the bodywork.
The team is satisfied that the van has no connection to the reputable Dreams bed dealership that trades only from fixed shop units and via online and telephone sales.
Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice
“I can’t recommend strongly enough that people resist the temptation to shell out for what, on the face of it, appears to be a bargain.
“They’re falling victim to what is an illegal and dangerous practice. It’s been found that some of the mattresses being sold don’t measure up to UK flammability regulations, and others are just plain filthy and worn out.
“Unfortunately, consumers are being fooled into thinking they’re buying a new mattress, while, in reality, they’re getting an old one that has been discarded, intercepted on its way to disposal and simply put into a cheap new cover.”
Anybody approached by somebody selling mattresses from the back of a van should refuse and make a note of the seller’s description and as much information about his van, including registration number, as they safely can.
They, and anybody who has bought a mattress from such a vendor, should call the council’s trading standards team on 020 8407 1311.