Are you considering buying a brand-new mobility scooter? Read on to understand the pros and cons, and your rights.
If you're buying from a specialist retailer they should come to your home to assess your needs, ideally bringing a selection of products for you to try.
Buying from a specialist means you might pay slightly more, but you’ll have the reassurance that you’re likely to be guided to buy the most suitable scooter for your needs.
Some specialist retailers have been known to refuse to sell scooters to customers who they don't think need them – a good sign that they are putting the needs of consumers first.
It's wise to buy from a manufacturer or retailer that follows an industry code of practice, such as the one set by the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA). This should ensure you don’t encounter pressure selling. You can check whether a business is registered on the BHTA website.
Rather than picking one particular brand, it’s more important to focus on buying a scooter that suits you and your size, weight and lifestyle.
If you’re buying a folding travel scooter, make sure it's easy to fold without your fingers getting caught in the frame. If it dismantles, make sure you take it apart, lift its component parts and put them back together again.
You’ll also want to experiment with how you’ll get your mobility scooter into your car, either lifting it, perhaps with help, or with the aid of a ramp or hoist.
There is no such thing as a standard boot – while two cars may have similar capacities, they’re sure to be different shapes. So, the only way to tell whether a scooter will fit in your boot is to try it in your car.
You can get a feel for different models by visiting your local high street mobility shop or an independent specialist advice centre, such as a disabled living centre (DLC) or a mobility centre. You can also have an assessment at these places to help you find the right model for your needs.
It's important that you test drive the mobility scooter to make sure it's right for you.
When trying each out, make sure it lets you sit in a comfortable and stable upright position with sufficient leg room, and from where you can easily reach the controls.
Some of the seats on small scooters will be too narrow for larger body types, while some of the more expensive scooters will have adjustable seats and backrests.
As well as sitting on a mobility scooter, make sure you drive it, too, and do the same with different models.
If you're shopping for a scooter, consider taking a friend or family member along. If you're buying online, read all the instructions and advice carefully before buying, and consider getting advice if you're not sure.
Once you’ve chosen a model, you can always try to find it cheaper online (see below), providing you are not in a rush to buy.
If you buy in a shop, you don’t always have the right to return the item – make sure you check the seller’s policy.
If you don't think your scooter is fit for purpose, your rights depend on when you bought it. If you bought your mobility scooter from 1 October 2015, then the Consumer Rights Act applies.
Under this act, you have an early right to reject goods that are unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described and get a full refund. But this right is limited to 30 days from the date you buy your scooter.
After the initial 30 days, you can't demand a full refund in the first instance but you still have the right to a repair or replacement.
See the for more advice on this or - if you bought your scooter on or before 30 September 2015 - on your shopping rights under the Sale of Goods Act 1979.
Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations, your right to cancel an order starts the moment you place the order and doesn't end until 14 days from the day you receive your goods. Also, the seller shouldn’t make cancelling an online order unnecessarily difficult.
However, you can't cancel an order if the mobility scooter is being made bespoke or personalised for you.
It's usually your responsibility to return goods to the retailer within the 14 days of cancellation and you'll have to bear the direct cost of doing so. This isn't always the case though. If the terms and conditions or returns policy don't state who pays for returns, the retailer must cover the cost of postage.
In some cases, the retailer may offer to collect the item, so it's worth checking whether they will, or at least cover the postage costs - this is especially important for a large item like a mobility scooter.
Mobility scooters vary widely in price, so researching before you buy will help you to understand the differences between models and what’s worth paying for, to make your choice easier.
Be careful not to take the RRP at face value – most retailers display it as a price guide, but will often have offers or promotions, or sell it at a discount.
Make sure you ask the following questions when buying a new mobility scooter.