More MS news articles for Mar 2002

Crackdown on cheap scooters

1 March, 2002

A charity which was undercutting retail prices on electric scooters by £900 has been told it can no longer buy them direct from the main supplier.

The HAND Partnership in Norwich was charging £955 for Shoprider Sovereign scooters, which can cost more than £1850 from other dealers.

But DMA Days Medical, which can sell the scooters to retailers at a trade price of £720, has now said that it will not sell the scooter to HAND.

It told the charity that it had received letters from dealers "concerned" at HAND's pricing. The company said that it needed to ensure that scooters were sold by suppliers which provided adequate warranty repairs and aftercare to customers, and had not known HAND was selling scooters.

HAND chief executive, Gary Gilden, said he was disgusted at the prices some dealers charged. He said: "I recognise that people do need to make a profit but we are dealing with elderly, disabled and vulnerable people."

DMA refused to comment.

Ray Hodgkinson, director of the British Healthcare Trades Association of which DMA is a member, said: "Margins that are built in by reputable dealers are there to cover for warranty work, services and additional work that comes up. People shopping round to get the cheapest deal should make sure that everything is there in terms of back-up."

Meanwhile, Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk, is calling for government action to tackle other firms which sell sometimes inappropriate disability equipment like stairlifts and scooters. He said: "There have got to be some clearer rules of the game."