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Elderly Being Ripped Off When Buying Disabled Mobility Scooters

mobility scooters

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.

The Trouble With Mobility Scooters

mobility scooters

Did you know that the UK has the highest number of mobility scooters currently in use than any other European country?

It has been calculated that we have around 330,000 of them whizzing around our little island, and the number is actually increasing year on year.

With figures as extraordinary as these, it is no wonder that the BBC made a TV documentary about the phenomenon. You may have seen it recently? It is called ‘The Trouble With Mobility Scooters’ and you may be able to watch it on catch-up TV if you missed it.

There is no doubt that mobility scooters offer their users a chance of independence that has been denied them because of their age or medical condition, but for other road and pavement users, they can be a complete nightmare!

Unlike with other motorised vehicles on the roads, scooter users do not have to take any form of driving test, or pass a proficiency test before using one. You don’t need any form of insurance cover to use one either. Did you know that you can even be allowed to drive one if you are registered as blind? An oversight there I think – no pun intended.

The BBC TV documentary took a warm-hearted look at the problem with mobility scooters by following a group of users as they went through a driving course put on by the South Yorkshire Police force.

The scooter users were from South Yorkshire, north Wales, and Derbyshire, and the TV crew observed them as they went about their lives using their scooters, and seeing first-hand how they have become a lifeline for their owners.

However, the stories were not always so rosy, especially for those people who have had encounters with mobility scooters and have come off worse because of it. Accidents involving mobility scooters are on the rise, and it is only expected to get worse as the number of users increase.

The documentary interviewed people who had been clipped, knocked down or run over by mobility scooters while out shopping, and one lady even gave up shopping in the Trafford Centre because of the sheer number of scooters she had to dodge each time she went there.

It is hardly surprising that collisions may occur in busy shopping centres and on the streets when you have a person driving a scooter that can reach 8 -10 mph, but who may be visually impaired, or who has physical reactions that have been drastically reduced through age.

One of the featured scooter drivers was put through the police training course by his son, because he didn’t think it was a very good idea that his 80-year-old dad should be driving one with tunnel vision!

Just because you don’t need insurance to drive a mobility scooter does not mean that you cannot get some. There are insurance companies that specialise in insurance for scooters, and the TV crew also got a behind-the-scenes look at one company as they fielded some quite distressing telephone calls from claimants.

You may smirk at the thought of some scooter-related accidents – bins being knocked over, shop signs being ran over etc. but there is an increasing call for insurance companies who have to deal with the aftermath of the chaos caused by scooter accidents.

While the TV show seemed to delight in retelling the amusing stories, such as the lady who drove her mobility scooter into the baptismal bath at her church, simply because she wanted to meet the handsome new priest, there is a serious side to these accidents that you cannot ignore.

There were also sad and touching moments within the programme that really helped to bring home the message of how important these scooters can be to the people who use them.

Despite the image of an elderly scooter driver springing to mind whenever you think of them, people of all ages with serious medical conditions use them too. Such as the 34-year-old mother who has to use one because she suffers from MS. It was heart-breaking to see her watch an elderly woman walking around completely unaided, while she herself was confined to the limits of her mobility scooter, probably for the rest of her life.

Overall, the programme helped to make people aware of just how important mobility scooters are to their users, and generally how they are a good thing for society. What is your view on the programme?.




Happy New Year from us all at Pro Rider Mobility.

We sincerely hope that 2015 brings you good health and prosperity and we look forward to making your 2015 even easier with our wide range of mobility products.

2014 saw the Pro Rider Mobility business go from strength to strength and in 2015 we look forward to continuing our first class knowledgable and friendly service apotheke viagra kaufen.

We also look forward to introducing many more products to our already extensive range of mobility scooters, rise recliner chairs, wheelchairs, rollators and walkers.

One area we will be continuing to expand is our range of access ramps. Whatever your vehicle, we have a lightweight access ramp to make getting your scooter in and out of your car a doddle.

Have a look at our mobility scooter access ramps on our main site.

Have a great 2015 and don’t forget to call us if you need anything mobility related (01604 813428).