3OYS UPDATE: Mattress store owner speaks out

Posted: Updated:
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- You might remember the 3 On Your Side report about a woman who found an old mattress inside what was supposed to be a brand new one.

Gary Harper has now heard from the man who sold the mattress. Gary went to Mattresses 101, located in Phoenix, when the owner invited him, saying he wanted to set the record straight regarding the first 3 On Your Side report.

In that first report, Allison Kiefer claimed the twin mattress set she purchased from the store for nearly $200 was infested with bed bugs.

"They literally had to throw the mattresses out of the third story window because I didn't want them coming back through my house," Kiefer told 3 On Your Side in that first report.

However, before disposing of the mattresses, Kiefer claims her exterminator made a video of himself cutting open the mattress, only to find another ratty, old mattress stuffed inside. The exterminator provided the video to 3 On Your Side.

But the owner of Mattresses 101, Neal Chotoki, is now speaking out. "Life has been really, really bad. Our reputation has really been damaged," Chotoki said, shaking his head.

Chotoki explained to 3 On Your Side that every single mattress he buys is brand new, sealed in plastic and delivered straight from two major Phoenix manufacturers. He said he is puzzled, and claims it is nearly impossible to have sold a bug-infested, used mattress to Kiefer.

But Chotoki did offer one possible explanation. "The possibility is, the possibility still exists that I bought the business and there was stock here from the old owner."

Chotoki said he's unsure if the mattress set Kiefer bought is actually from his old stock from the previous owner.

However, to resolve the issue, Chotoki gave 3 On Your Side a $400 check to reimburse Kiefer for her mattress purchase and for the exterminator she hired.

Kiefer, though, turned it down, saying she wanted more than $3,500, an amount that Chotoki said keeps going up.

"She made a claim for $3,575. We phoned her yesterday and now her claim has jumped from $3,575 to I don't know what. She's talking about something like $6,000."

3 On Your Side went back to Kiefer, and although she wouldn't provide specific details about money, she did confirm she has retained an attorney. "At first, I thought I was just out what I paid for the mattresses," Keifer said. "But, I am way up in the thousands right now."

Although Kiefer and her kids have moved into another apartment and bought new mattresses, she said they constantly think about the horrible experience they went through. Still, she said she's glad 3 On Your Side got involved.

But Chotoki has a different point of view, and said Kiefer could put him out of business if she keeps pursuing the matter. "The store can not afford that amount of money, and that will put us into a state of bankruptcy. We don't make that type of money," said Chotoki.

As of now, both sides remain in sort of a stand off. Chotoki and his mattress store say they are still willing to resolve the issue by giving Kiefer $400.

However, she said the issue is much bigger. She had to move, and throw out clothes and other items. She also had to purchase additional mattresses from another retailer.

3 On Your Side will update the situation with any developments.