NEW HOPE, Minn. — Connie Stratton doesn’t mince words. “I feel like I was conned into buying this bed,” she said.
Connie contacted KARE 11 because she says she wants to warn other seniors about what she calls a high-pressure sales pitch in her senior apartment for popular Easy Rest adjustable beds that lasted nearly six hours.
Her lawyer says she endured “predatory sales practices” that are being used against “elderly and vulnerable adults.”
KARE 11 repeatedly contacted Easy Rest’s Twin Cities office requesting an interview, but the company did not respond.
Six-hour sales pitch
Connie says it all began with phone call out of the blue. “She just said, ‘Well do you have any sleeping problems?’” the caller asked.
“I believe I said I said I have sleep apnea.” Connie remembers. “And she goes, ‘Oh, this would be perfect for you then.’”
That phone call led to an in-person sales pitch inside her one-bedroom senior apartment.
“She arrived at quarter to six,“ Connie recalls.
What started at six o’clock that night continued for hours.
“And was just talking and talking and talking,” Connie says.
Seven o’clock. Eight o’clock. Nine o’clock.
“If I don’t tell her, ‘Yes,’” Connie remembers thinking, “I mean how much longer is she going to be here before she goes home?”
But she says the sales pitch continued.
Ten o’clock. Eleven o’clock. Until finally …
“I said to her, do you know what time it is? I’m going, ‘It’s a quarter to 12.’”
Around midnight, after nearly six hours, Connie says she finally gave in.
“I’m going, ok, fine, I’ll get the bed,” she said.
High pressure, high price
It was an expensive decision.
According to the contract she signed, the Easy Rest twin-size adjustable bed was priced at $3,438.
The total cost soared to $4,806 when you add the interest Connie would owe in an extended payment plan.
But the paperwork she signed said there was an option to cancel the sale within three business days.
Connie tried out the bed the night it was delivered. “I had the worst night,” she said.
So, she says called Easy Rest the next day to cancel.
But there was a catch.
The contract says the cancelation must be a “written notice” – or “a telegram” – delivered to the Easy Rest office by the deadline.
When she called the company to cancel, Connie says they never mentioned that.
“They didn’t say one word about that on the phone. Because I would have gotten up immediately and drove to their company and signed the paper, so they’d come and get the bed.”
Easy Rest told her they wouldn’t cancel the sale – and wouldn’t take the bed back.
Long fight to cancel
KARE 11 first met Connie in June, nearly three months after she first tried to cancel her contract.
She pointed to the mechanical part of the unwanted bed still stacked in a corner near her bedroom closet.
“Then I have to have the other half of the bed out here in my living room just because I don’t have nowhere put it,” she explained as she pointed to the mattress.
Connie eventually contacted Legal Aid. On June 3rd, an attorney for the Senior Law Project at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid sent Easy Rest a letter about Connie’s case.
It accused Easy Rest of “predatory sales practices” and of “deceptive” claims, saying Connie “was wrongly pressured into signing sale and financing documents … after an intense six-hour, late-night sales campaign at her home.”
The letter also accused Easy Rest of misleading Connie when she called to cancel before the deadline.
What’s more, the letter says it’s not the first time Legal Aid contacted Easy Rest about its sales tactics. Legal Aid wrote: “This is not our office’s first contact with your business related to questionable sales practices against elderly and vulnerable adults.”
Days later, Connie got a message on her phone. When she heard the caller say, “This is Easy Rest,” she hoped it would be about canceling her contract and returning the bed.
But it wasn’t the news she was hoping for.
“We know that you’re going to love your bed long term like everybody else does,” the message continued – leaving Connie more frustrated than ever.
When KARE 11 visited her apartment in mid-June, she had a simple plea for Easy Rest. “Please, come and get this bed, because I’m not going to sleep in it,”
In Minnesota and parts of 13 other states, court records show sales of Easy Rest beds are handled by a company called Adjustable Bedding Concepts, Inc. According to filings at the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office, the company is headquartered in West St. Paul. Its CEO is listed as Lee J. Pattridge.
KARE 11 began calling the company asking for an interview about Easy Rest’s sales practices. We even paid a visit to Easy Rest’s Twin Cities office to make the interview request in person.
The company never called us back.
After we started making phone calls, though, Connie got word her contract was finally being canceled.
And what about the bed?
As if this story couldn’t get any stranger, earlier this month, the truck sent to pick up the bed got stuck under the awning at Connie’s building.
Police arrived, discovered the driver had an outstanding warrant, and took him into custody.
“Oh, my god, I can’t believe he was arrested,” Connie said as she watched the scene unfold.
Another young worker finally hauled the bed out of Connie’s apartment, but he had to wait for a licensed driver to arrive before the truck could be driven away.
The unwanted bed had been sitting in Connie’s apartment for nearly four months.
“I would never, ever, want this to happen to anybody else. But I’m very happy the bed is out of my house.”
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