If you find yourself in the situation where you need to buy mobility equipment – for yourself or a loved one – is it best to shop in store or online?
In this high tech age, when it’s possible to purchase just about everything on the internet and it seems so convenient to click a button and wait for the goods to show up at the door, is this necessarily the right approach when shopping for disability aids?
Whilst that is an option, we’d certainly suggest you exercise plenty of caution before making your selection from a computer screen or mobile device. Here are some key reasons why there really is no substitute for buying from a local shop.
1. Personal service
There are some things that money just can’t buy – and one of them is personal service. Purchasing mobility aids – whether they are large ticket items like wheelchairs or smaller accessories such as bath mats – are very much down to what suits an individual. Being able to make a proper assessment in the presence of a professional who can provide one-on-one consultation and advice is impossible to replicate remotely on a computer screen.
We specialise in working with people who have disability issues who put their trust in us to recommend the right equipment, to improve their quality of life. That means making sure the item is suitable right now – but also planning ahead. We will also aim to future-proof any purchases, recognising that, if a condition or state of health may deteriorate over a period, then the product being bought will still meet your needs. No online retail environment will ever offer the same assurances.
2. Online Confusion
If you don’t know precisely what you are looking to buy, or are unfamiliar with the type of products you are sourcing, online information can be misleading and even hard to understand.
As an example, let’s say you are looking for a lightweight transit wheelchair that you can lift in and out of your car. If you were to search for ‘lightweight wheelchair’ in Google, the amount of choices would be huge and so scattergun that it would all blend into one big muddle. To add to the confusion, you’ll be faced with entries purporting to be lightweight chairs but which aren’t lightweight at all. It just turns into a free-for-all where you, the customer, are none the wiser!
Often, chairs are called lightweight because they are made from aluminium instead of steel. But this is misleading. A ‘lightweight aluminium chair’ could actually still weigh about 15kg – not very lightweight. But a genuine lightweight aluminium wheelchair, like the Karma Ergo Lite 2 that we have on display in our Alton showroom – weighs just 9.2kg. In fact, we stock a number of aluminium wheelchairs – from standard to super lightweight models. The difference between us and online resellers is that customers can come in and ‘try before they buy’, test the respected weights of the products and, from this, make an informed decision.
3. What if there is a fault?
And what happens if something goes wrong with your mobility product? We strive to sell high quality, reliable aids, but sometimes faults occur. If you buy online, however, the returns procedure is invariably difficult. Say you’ve ordered a bed or a mobility scooter with which there is a discrepancy. You are expected to return it in the same packaging. But most people wouldn’t think of keeping all the cartons and, besides, re-packing a bed or scooter is hardly straightforward. Also, you’d usually be expected to foot the bill for the return and, since items like these are cumbersome and heavy, this can turn into a very expensive exercise.
But it needn’t be such a hassle. If you are to purchase from us and there was a problem with your product, then we would come and collect and offer a temporary replacement whilst yours was being fixed. Or, if you were able to fit the product into a car, since we are on the doorstep, you could always bring it into us to take a look at. So much simpler than the “convenience” of buying online!
To be continued….
Read our next blog to find out more reasons why buying local is best.
We have one of Hampshire’s best stocked mobility and disability equipment showrooms, plus on-the-spot expert advice! So, whatever help you may need, we are here to help. For further assistance, call us on 01420 549481.