Barry Pearson, director of Ableworld, which has just opened a new mobility store in Blackpool, says planning carefully for installing a stairlift is essential.
But he says beware of deals which offer advice as they may well be disguising a hard-sell tactic.
Some companies and charities can earn commission by introducing people to third party providers for the installation of stairlifts, he says.
This commission structure is not uncommon, and perfectly legal. Many mobility retail shops get paid commission for introducing stairlift leads to national stairlift companies. These commissions are built into the final price that the customer pays – the higher the price of the product, the more commission the salesperson will earn. And even if people don’t agree to a sale at the time, they will often receive phone calls afterwards from office-based sales team, which are designed to be very persuasive.
Time of stress
Sadly, the decision to buy a stairlift is often taken at a time of stress, perhaps after someone has suffered a fall or had a diagnosis of a debilitating illness. Therefore, the last thing a family needs when trying to research stairlift options is high pressure sales teams, especially when they think they have approached an independent charity or retailer that they can trust.
In reality, stairlifts should be embraced as a modern accessory to prevent falls and preserve the dignity of our loved ones, allowing them to stay and make use of their entire home and not be confined to living downstairs. A frightening statistic is that one third of over 65s and one half of over 80s in the UK fall down stairs at least once a year. So why wait until there is an incident which forces thinking about buying a stairlift?
Here Barry sets out a few pointers for people to consider when buying a stairlift:
Many mobility retailers and advisers will simply pass on your stairlift enquiry to another company and in return they will receive hundreds of pounds in commission. This commission is naturally built into the final price that you pay.
Warranty/after sales service
You need to ensure that you have total peace of mind with a good warranty from trained engineers. Check that there are no high servicing costs linked back to the warranty and you know who to phone if you have a problem - are there local engineers or a faraway call centre?
Beware high pressure sales
Many firms employ high pressure sales teams who are paid commission. Don’t invite them into your home unless you have somebody with you who can take notes and help you to encourage them to leave when you have heard enough! Better still, don’t invite a sales person to your home until you have had chance to examine their brochures. Also, keep your home telephone number private so they can’t pester you.
Try before you buy
You wouldn’t buy any other household item of equipment without testing it first. This is particularly important when it comes to the seat on the stairlift since, just like people, seats come in many shapes and sizes and you need to feel safe on your stairlift.
Plan ahead and think about what level of mobility you will have in another five or 10 years. For example, if you suffer from arthritis of the hand/wrist, you may struggle to turn the stairlift at the top of the stairs, so you may need to consider a motorised chair instead. Buy the stairlift now which is going to help you for the next 10 years, not just the cheapest which will satisfy your immediate needs.
Ableworld is the UK’s No 1 mobility retailer - they are the current titleholder of the Dealer of the Year UK Access and Mobility Professional Awards and the largest independent installer of stairlifts. Ableworld does not install stairlifts for another company and only sends out trained stairlift engineers (not salesmen).
You can also visit your local Ableworld shop and test working stairlifts which are on display before you agree to a no-obligation survey from an Ableworld engineer who will give you a written quote after they have inspected the property.
Barry says: “'There will be no bombardment of phone calls, no pestering phone calls or pressure selling. You're free to call us back any time for further advice or when you're ready to get a stairlift fitted from us.”
There are options for both renting and buying. Ableworld rents stairlifts in addition to selling new and reconditioned models and should you have a problem with your Ableworld stairlift, you can phone an Ableworld stairlift engineer direct 24/7 and they will undertake a home visit to resolve any problems if needed.
For more information please phone Ableworld, Cherry Retail Park, Cherry Tree Road, Blackpool, FY4 4TH on 01253 335613.
You can also visit their website here.