With an ageing population on the rise, the demand for mobility scooters is also growing. However, a recent news feature said this is being seen by some retailers as an opportunity to take advantage of pensioners looking for new mobility scooters.
Prices for mobility scooters are reaching an all time high at £6,800 with some retailers, but are these high prices really justified?
Disabled Mobility Scooter Exploitation
Because there is such a demand for scooters from the elderly to enable them to keep their independence, and enjoy their old age in relative freedom, some unscrupulous retailers believe they can charge what they like for a new mobility scooter.
Viewed as a captive market, some retailers may be taking advantage of the desires of the elderly to carry on with their normal lives, and are slapping on higher price tags because they know they are not only selling the scooter itself, but also the idea of the freedom the scooter will allow the pensioners to have.
The National Pensioners Convention (NPC), have openly accused scooter sellers of exploiting their position of trust, and taking full advantage of the fact that there is so little regulation in place regarding mobility scooters.
The NPC are one of the largest lobby groups for the elderly in Britain, and believe that pensioners are wide open to exploitation by retailers because of the ever rising demand in the market for scooters.
It is not only new mobility scooter sales that the NPC are concerned about. There is also a growing market for second-hand scooters, but with the lack of regulation in the market, and the ability for scooter owners to drive without a licence or any form of instruction or lessons, there is concerns over the safety aspect of second-hand sales.
Getting What You Pay For
With so many makes and models available on the market, the price you pay for a mobility scooter can range from under £1,000 for a basic model to the heady price of £6,800 for a model that is built for all-weathers with glass screen and full cover.
Although you can quite often find a better deal when you shop online, sometimes the price you pay will mean you assembling the scooter yourself once delivered. It pays to check the sales small print to make sure you know what you are paying for.
Even the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) have weighed in on the issue. The official regulator has openly criticised two of the UK’s leading mobility scooter retailers, stating that they are restricting consumers ability to get good value for money.
The two companies that were named by the OFT are Pride Mobility, in Bicester, Oxfordshire, and Roma Medical Aids. Both companies were seen to have ‘infringed competition law’ with their sales practices.
Finding A Good Retailer
Despite the findings of the OFT, there are some very good retailers out there that are not out to rip off their elderly customers. The best way to find them is to shop around and compare prices, models and services available.
An example of a good mobility scooter buy was found by Doug Somerset, 63, from Bexleyheath. Doug has suffered with mobility issues for 20 years, relying on mobility scooters and wheelchairs.
The retired engineer paid £939 for his ProRider Road King mobility scooter, and he is very happy with his purchase. The Pro Rider Road King Scooter has a maximum speed of 8 mph, with a range of up to 35 miles, as well as a massive 1100 Watt motor.
The ProRider is one of the cheapest on the market, but the quality and build is of a very high standard, and suits Mr Somerset’s needs very well. However, Mr Somerset was not surprised to see a similar model on sale with other retailers for £2,500 or more.
In a recent newspaper interview, Mr Somerset said, “Disabled people and pensioners are being used as a licence to print money by some retailers. Many of these mobility scooters are pretty poorly made, with cheap components and the mark-up is astonishing. In some cases people are simply being ripped off. Something needs to be done about it.”
According to RICA, a charity that conducts consumer research for the disabled and elderly, there is an issue with the pricing of mobility scooters. Customers are confused about how much they should be paying for a scooter. There is such a huge variation in price that customers can be left bewildered.
RICA advise people to shop around for the best deals, and look closely at what is included in the price, particularly in terms of an assessment, warranty, servicing, delivery and assembly.