31 March 2017

Rights! Said Fred: What’s led me to become a proud customer of Ability Plus

I’ve been a user of mobility scooters for many years now, having acquired my first in the mid-1990s. Over the past year, I have become a customer of Ability Plus and I’d like to share with you my journey of chairs, the challenges faced and what’s led me to become a proud customer of Ability Plus.


First chair, was acquired through the Access to Work scheme when I was the IT officer for a small charity. It was a Sunrise model, which back then did a measly 4mph, and had a range of 12 miles. That said, it did last me around 8 years: You know the saying, they don’t make things like they used to!


After that, I had another Sunrise model. This was also through Access to Work and offered a similar speed and range. This one lasted me around 6 or 7 years until 2010, which by then, as I was no longer in employment, meant I could not benefit from Access to Work. I approached the Mobility Trust, which is a charity set up to fundraise the cost of powerchairs for disabled people, where they’re unable to buy them themselves. There’s a specific criteria one needs to meet, which fortunately I did, and I was given an Invacare Spectra XTR. This one had an improved maximum speed of 6 miles and would travel up to 20 miles on a full charge. I liked this chair and had it for around 5 years. It was nice, comfortable and had lights too, which I found useful.


I do feel that nowadays the lifespan of a powerchair or scooter is less than what it used to be, but I guess that applies to a lot of modern technology! I’d say nowadays, you should think of them lasting you around 5 years, though this of course depends upon usage.


Since then I’ve had another Spectra XTR, which I did have some issues with, though fortunately the insurance covered those repairs and I definitely recommend having that.


One area in which I think chair manufacturers could improve, is the robustness of some parts of the chair, in particular the front end (the area around where footrests are). These get a lot of knocks, for example if you’re unlucky enough to hit something, and this does happen from time to time.


Eventually the motors on my XTR scooter needed replacing, and enough work needed doing on the chair, that it became apparent it would be better just to get a new one. Unfortunately, the criteria at the Mobility Trust had changed and the wait time was up to a year, which really left me in a pickle.


After much toing and froing, I managed to get enough money together with a loan to buy another chair called a K-ACTIV. This was OK at first, but then I started having some problems. The range was dropping significantly, and eventually the chair became useless to me as I was having to charge it all the time. As you can imagine, all this aggravation was causing a lot of problems, and so I contacted a variety of mobility providers in the area.


This is what led me to become a customer of Ability Plus. They spoke with me and offered to do a range of tests on it. Though the original fault could not be found, they agreed to work with me to do a part-exchange deal. They recommended a Puma 40 chair – not a cheap model by any means, but offered a much greater range of up to 25 miles! What I liked a lot with Ability Plus was the overall package. This chair was already a year old and did need a bit of work doing on it for it to meet my needs. This was all done for free. They put in new batteries, upgraded tyres, a three year insurance and warranty scheme plus breakdown cover. Sorted!


I’d like to extend my great gratitude to them, in particular to Graham, its CEO for his patience and kind help which he has offered me during this time.