A study conducted in 2011 found that wheelchair users who don’t perform regular maintenance checks on their wheelchairs are at a significantly higher risk of having potentially life-threatening accidents.
However, even if you’re diligent about maintenance, sometimes things happen. When things inevitably break, you have to get them repaired, but they have to be repaired correctly.
For that, you’ll need to choose a good wheelchair repair service provider.
If you’re currently looking for one, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. There are many options to choose from, and each company claims they’re the best.
The following tips will help you comb through the flakes and choose the right one.
Do Your Research
It’s easy to hop on a search engine, or comb through local listings, and choose a business randomly. It’s all the same, you might be thinking, and you’re only concerned about the location and how near or far away it is from your home.
Don’t fall into that trap.
Remember, this is about your safety and the safety of the people around you. Take your time.
Decide Where You Want it Done
The first thing you need to do is decide what’s more convenient for you. Do you want to travel to a repair shop, or do you want a provider to come to you?
Each option has its advantages and disadvantages.
If you go to a repair shop, it’s likely that you’ll get faster service. The service provider who will be working on your wheelchair will also have more tools at his disposal and possibly other people to help him. The problem is getting there. It might be too much of a hassle, or it might not even be possible.
On the other hand, staying at home and waiting for someone to come is just convenient. The downside is that this option is sure to be more expensive. Also, some people don’t like total strangers in their homes, especially if they’re going to be making a mess.
The point is, be sure to check what kind of service is being offered and make sure it aligns with your needs.
Check if They Accept Insurance
Before you do anything else, see what your payment options are. A reputable company should be able to accept private insurance and Medicare, as well as cash and credit.
If they only accept cash, you’ll want to be on your guard. Wheelchair repair companies that only accept cash as payment are often not licensed.
Check What Services They Offer
Not all service providers provide the same services. Some providers don’t offer you your choice of parts. In other words, you have to use the parts they choose for you; you can’t order your preferred parts yourself.
Ordering parts on your own can save you money and give you peace of mind.
You’ll also want to ensure that your future provider can repair whatever you need repairing, whether that’s your batteries, chargers, tires, controllers, joysticks, armrests, or more. You want to make sure you’re covered.
Check Their Reviews
It’s important to keep in mind that companies can claim to do all of the above well but in actuality do them poorly.
Sometimes it’s important to remember that all companies, regardless of industry, are looking to paint themselves in the best light. Their customers on the other hand, will give you a more complete picture.
Always search for customer reviews. If a company’s reviews are overwhelmingly negative, pass on it.
Read each review carefully. Look for patterns. If numerous people are saying the same thing, then it must be true.
Some Caveats About Choosing A Wheelchair Repair Service
Watch for Scams
Unfortunately, scams in this industry exist – they’re referred to by the AARP as “medical equipment scams.” You should be on the alert for anything that doesn’t seem right. If you think you’ve run across a scam, trust your gut.
Fortunately, there are some telltale signs to look out for.
Reputable companies are generally available to take calls or answer e-mails. They also usually have a web presence.
Scams, on the other hand, don’t. If they did, they’d be easy to trace.
Another thing to watch out for is if they ask for personal and financial information without good reason. If they haven’t rendered a service yet, and are asking for your credit card numbers, run the other way.
Always ask to review a prospective provider’s licenses and accreditations, and find out how long they’ve been in business. The longer they’ve been in business, the more reliable they are.
Friends and Business Don’t Mix
Everyone has a handy friend or family member but opting to turn to them for your wheelchair repairs is a bad idea for several reasons.
For one, they might not be properly and specifically trained to work on wheelchairs.
For another, if things go wrong, which they can, who bears responsibility in a situation like that?
This is especially true if this person is not a friend, but a friend of a friend of a family member. It’s best to steer clear of such commitments.
Popularity Doesn’t Mean Anything
Lastly, choosing a company based on the fact that you recognize its name is not advised. You must do your research: check for what services they offer, what they’re known for, what payment methods they accept, and what their customers are saying about them.
Sometimes, a company’s popularity can actually work against you. You could be just one of their many, faceless customers.
Smaller, but still reputable, businesses might be more attentive to your individual needs.
There is everything you need to know about choosing a wheelchair repair service.
Keep the advice above in mind, be wary of scams, and you should be good to go.
If you have any questions or concerns and you’re in North or South Carolina, don’t hesitate to contact us.
We’d be delighted to assist you.