Most of us take getting out and about for granted. A walk to the shops, a stroll along the beach, walking the dog are all second nature.
But when Tina Roberts’ health started to fail her, being able to independently get around became a top priority.
The 62-year-old former QA health support worker was no stranger to mobility problems. During her working life she had to care for people who couldn’t get around any longer.
So when she was retired on health grounds one obvious solution was to investigate the freedom provided by mobility scooters.
Last January she settled on a scooter from her local branch of Eden Mobility in Fareham.
The £695 Eden Mobility Bootmaster machine appeared to meet all her needs, and she was looking forward to taking her two dogs for their daily walk.
Tina explained: ‘I bought the scooter at the end of January because I’ve got arthritis and other medical conditions and I needed to get used to using it before I had my knee surgery.
‘From the beginning I had problems with it. When I went to use the scooter it wouldn’t start. I called them three times.
‘The first time they said there was nothing wrong with it, the second they said the connection to the battery was loose, but it still didn’t start so they changed the batteries. Then it didn’t start again, and by this time I’d had enough. I made another call to them and about five weeks ago they gave me a loan scooter and took mine away. Four weeks later it came back but they were adamant there was nothing wrong with it.’
At her wits’ end, Tina contacted trading standards.
Eden responded by claiming she didn’t know how to use the scooter and it would send someone round to teach her how to drive it. When an engineer finally appeared from Eden to instruct her, Tina says he was in and out of her Fareham home like a shot leaving her none the wiser.
She said she was reduced to tears of frustration when she felt they were ignoring her problems with the scooter and were treating her as if she was stupid and thick.
She had no difficulty using the loan scooter so on the advice of trading standards she asked for the machine to be replaced but her request was turned down.
When Tina told Streetwise her story we were surprised at all the inconvenience she’d been put to by Eden trying to fix the scooter, and understood why she’d lost confidence in it.
We put her complaint to senior management because although the law says the firm was within its rights to insist on repairing the scooter, it was also obliged not to cause her unacceptable inconvenience in doing so.
A company spokesperson responded promptly and proposed to have the scooter independently inspected free of charge to ensure it was working okay.
After discussing the matter with Tina we got back to the firm to argue the suggested remedy didn’t appear remotely appropriate considering how she’d been messed about.
Her complaint had been ongoing for five months and a vulnerable customer reduced to tears.
We asked it to reconsider.
To give Eden its due, within a matter of hours it generously agreed to replace it with a superior model, priced £200 more than Tina had paid for her original machine.
In a statement to Streetwise, group after sales manager Kristian Johnson accepted Tina was not happy with her machine and confirmed the company had agreed to replace it.
He said: ‘Despite numerous visits to this scooter by our engineers we were unable to find any fault.
‘We then brought it back into our workshops to be investigated and road-tested but again no fault was found. Unfortunately our customer had lost faith in the scooter so as a permanent resolution we have agreed to exchange the original machine for a brand new alternative.’
A relieved and delighted Tina said the out of the blue offer was much appreciated and very welcome.
‘I felt the company just wasn’t listening to me,’ she said. ‘I’m so grateful for your help in this matter.’