Can do-it -yourself stairlifts save money? Maybe, but at what costs? Do-it-yourself mobility solutions may seem like a cost-efficient option, but they may compromise your safety, security, and put you in harm’s way. There are a lot of scams surrounding low-cost mobility aids- particularly online- that could cost you a lot more than just money, later.
If you live with mobility issues, you have a lot to lose by purchasing unsafe devices or aids that are not endorsed and serviced by a reputable and qualified mobility vendor. Sure, some deals may seem too good to pass up, but be careful: many of these offers are not deals at all but scams. Make sure that when it comes to something as important as mobility aids and equipment, that you only buy from companies that back-up their products and that will assist you if and when you need it.
Be cautious when shopping to avoid these likely scams and issues associated with DIY mobility aids and stairlifts:
Listen for claims that seem too good to be true; a scammer will say anything to make the sale and take your money. A reputable vendor will point out the advantages- as well as the disadvantages- of the purchase, without making you feel pressured or under a time restraint. Also, don’t believe sellers that assert that battery-operated stairlifts are not a prudent choice; in fact, this style lift makes up around 90% of the lifts in operation currently across the globe. Be careful who you listen to and what you believe.
Stairlifts are not cheap. That being said, you may have some relief through insurance; talk to a mobility retail representative to learn more. However, when a seller advertises a stairlift at a price far below regular retail, be wary. Why is the lift so cheap? How can they afford to sell such technical equipment so cheap? Ask if these are ‘DIY’ stairlifts, that is, do you have to assemble and install yourself? If so, run- don’t walk- the other way! Even a skilled handyman should not attempt to self-install a mobility stairlift; it is complicated, requiring special training and tools to do the job right. Plus, allowing anyone other than a qualified mobility aid technician to install, service, repair, or work on your lift can devoid any manufacturer warranty that may be in place. Truth be told, there is a lot involved in installation of a lift, like cutting and setting tracks, hooking up power circuits, screwing in treads, and internal adjustments to the controls- the list goes on and on. The lift that you bought to increase safety in the home could become a hazard if not implemented properly and professionally.
Generally, a ‘do-it-yourself’ stairlift means you will be putting this complicated piece of machinery together on your own, as well as installing it in the home or dwelling where it will live. If pushed, some sellers will provide “professional” installation, which is typically nothing more than a subcontracted handyman who does not have distinct mobility aid experience and is not an employee of the seller. This is bad news for buyers that have already paid for equipment that will likely not be installed or that will not be installed properly.
Safety is the biggest concern when it comes to the installation of a lift. There are special parts, tools, and skills that come with servicing a stairlift; also, every set of stairs is different and may require additional measures to properly fit the lift.
The first question is to ask is ‘where did this used lift come from?’ After all, a lot of sellers don’t take trade-ins so these could be salvaged units. Another possibility is that they are lifts that have been recalled or returned to a buyer or seller for being damaged or defective. It is also possible that original buyers simply could not install the device and returned it. These are all worrisome scenarios that don’t bode well for buyers. Skip the hassle, headache, and stress; buy from a reputable and recognized mobility retailer. Visit online sites to find a brick-and-mortar vendor near you or call to speak directly with a mobility professional.
Think you may have dodged a bullet with a mobility deal? Perhaps, but eventually you will need service or support on most mobility devices. The true test comes when you need a repair, part, or have a question for knowledgeable industry professionals, and you try to contact the seller. Don’t risk being stuck with expensive equipment that you can’t utilize. Buy from a qualified vendor.
Want to score a true deal on mobility aids? Visit the mobility professionals at Pacific Mobility and see for yourself what they have to offer. For unparalleled customer satisfaction, efficient installation, professional service, and support after the sale, call or visit us today.
President, Husband, Father, Grandfather Graduate of UC Davis- Bio Sci Major- Go Aggies! Jeff has extensive experience in all of Pacific Mobility’s products and services, and specializes in accessibility products as well as stairlifts, ceiling lifts and custom wheel chairs. His hobbies include spending time with family, gardening, mountain biking, exercising and off road motorcycle riding.
24 years as Owner/President of Pacific Mobility Center – selling, installing, and servicing stairlifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, handicap ramping, specialty wheelchairs, scooters, power wheel chairs, and other power mobility devices
Certified Environmental Access Consultant since 2008
Licensed General Contractor since 1998
Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2016
Board Member for Home Access Professionals
Member of Association of Members of the Accessibility Equipment Industry (AEMA)