Victims of dodgy disability aids sales practices have new rights to get their money back.
Vulnerable people who have been lied to or intimidated by salespeople when buying disability aids have new rights to get their money back, under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.
The new rules apply to disability aids such as mobility scooters, bathing aids, riser-recliner chairs and adjustable beds.
Consumers may be able to get out of a contract if they can show their purchase was due to a misleading action, such as aggressive selling or a misleading description.
Which? members can log in to see reviews of mobility aids including mobility scooters and riser-recliner chair Best Buys.
If you’re not yet a member you can sign up for a £1 trial to Which? to see all our test results and reviews – from easy-to-use home appliances, to bathing aids and blood pressure monitors, as well as great advice on buying.
Dodgy mobility aids sales
A Which? investigation into the home-selling of mobility aids, and a subsequent market study in 2011 by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) uncovered unfair sales practices targeting – sometimes systematically – elderly and vulnerable people in their own homes.
The highest number of complaints to the OFT were about doorstep sales – for example, someone posing as a council worker to enter the person’s home and refusing to leave until a mobility aid sale is made.
These practices – by a small minority of firms – has the potential to cause serious harm to vulnerable people. This can include distress leading to health and wellbeing problems.
People can also end up paying very high prices due to an inability to compare prices – either because they don’t have access to the internet or because they sign up without shopping around. There can also be a lack of price advertising and transparency.
Good disability aids advice
A 2013 Which? survey of 2707 people (Which? members and the general public) found that nearly one in ten people (9%) buying mobility aids got their advice or information from a manufacturer or salesperson visiting their home.
Which? senior lawyer Peter McCarthy said: ‘We welcome these changes to the law as they will give consumers new rights to redress when they are ripped off by misleading statements about what they’re signing up to, or bulldozed into buying by aggressive sales techniques.’
We have full advice on your new rights under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading regulations.