Big purchase to help senior stay mobile becomes hazard

An elderly Cypress couple paid a lot of money to stay safe and mobile in their home, but when the device they purchased became more of a hazard than a help, they called investigator Amy Davis.

CYPRESS, Texas – An elderly Cypress couple paid a lot of money to stay safe and mobile in their home, but when the device they purchased became more of a hazard than a help, they called investigator Amy Davis.

Before you make any major purchase, you should get multiple estimates and check reviews and the background of the company you’re working with. Unfortunately, sometimes even good companies with the best of intentions can hit snarls that leave customers feeling frustrated.

The problem

Janice and Jerry Dobbs know it’s important to stay active. They exercise their minds by playing the ukulele and their bodies. When it became too dangerous for Jerry to climb the stairs of their two-story home in Cypress, they paid $13,000 for a custom stairlift. Katy-based Livewell Mobility and Modifications installed it in February.

“And it’s been a problem ever since,” said Janice Dobbs.

Davis saw it first-hand during her visit in Late September. Jerry rode the stairlift halfway up the stairs. At the landing, instead of turning the corner to continue the ascent, the stairlift stopped.

“Sometimes when you get to the point where it stops, it just turns the power off completely,” Janice told Davis.

Sometimes, Jerry is stuck, precariously, halfway up.

“I have done that one time, slid out and slid down the stairs, Jerry Dobbs told Davis.

Each time the lift malfunctioned, Janice called Livewell. And each time, the company sent out a technician. He’s replaced multiple parts, getting it working again before it stops and stalls again.

After 10 service calls in six months, the Dobbs still didn’t have a reliable, working stairlift.

“I’ve offered my empty bedroom upstairs to the serviceman just to move in,” Janice told Davis since the technician had spent so much time at their home.

When Livewell told Janice the manufacturer had agreed to replace the motor and brains of the chair, but that the parts were on backorder until the end of October, Janice called KPRC 2 Amy Davis.

“I’m just tired of them coming out here,” Dobbs told Davis. “When I pay $13,000 for something, I expect it to work properly.”

The resolution

When Davis reached out to Livewell’s owner, Nate Davis, he said he shared the customer’s frustration.

He explained that the chair manufacturer, Handicare, is based in the Netherlands. He said he had to wait for the company to send the parts. But less than one week after our call, Livewell received that new motor and had it installed. Jerry’s chair is now working.

Livewell also agreed to reset the one warranty period and free six months of service. They made it effective the day they got the new chair working.

See the full statement from Livewell:

“Thank you for reaching out to me regarding Ms. Loocke’s (Dobb’s) unfortunate situation with her stairlift. We share in her frustration and commit to continuing to provide the same quick response and quality service that she has received from our team. In our industry, our clients depend on the products that we provide for their independence and safety and we take any concerns seriously and urgently. As she has mentioned, we have been to her home to service her stairlift numerous times - more than anyone would like. We do not normally offer after-hours and weekend support, but we have continued to provide that to her multiple times without charge as we work through the issues with the stairlift manufacturer, Handicare.

The stairlift was custom-designed specifically for her stairs and manufactured by Handicare in The Netherlands. LiveWell Solutions is one of their local dealers in Houston. Handicare is known in the industry by their excellent quality and reputation. However, the issues that Ms. Loocke is experiencing with her stairlift are unique. Because the issues are inconsistent and erratic, it has been difficult for Handicare to diagnose. Handicare has agreed to replace multiple parts throughout the process to try to rectify the situation with her lift. Nearly every time, Handicare has expedited the parts to us (beyond their warranty policy) and we have promptly installed them within 1 or 2 days of receiving them. Each time we performed a service call, our technician did not leave her home until the chair was operational and functioning properly. Unfortunately, due to the erratic behavior of the issue, the lift continues not to function consistently, and we have continued to respond each and every time. Ultimately on September 14, 2022, Handicare authorized to replace the entire power unit (motor and brains). They have pulled a unit off another order so it can be shipped and installed expeditiously to avoid any further delay. We all share in Ms. Loocke’s frustration and we all have gone beyond normal policies and practices to help her. In addition, Handicare’s representative has been in contact with Ms. Loocke to let her know that her concerns are acknowledged at the highest level and they are committed to providing a consistent, quality stairlift. Most recently on September 22, 2022 a representative from Handicare called to explain the ultimate resolution and the shipping status and she hung up on them repeatedly.

Sincerely,

Nate Davis, Owner & President”


About the Author:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.