If you are in the market to purchase adaptive equipment, like wheelchairs, stair lifts, scooter lifts, wheelchair vans, etc. you may be overwhelmed by the cost of some of these items. There is a robust market for used mobility products and wanted to share some tips when shopping for used adaptive equipment.
1. Research the right product for you and your needs. Not all stair lifts, wheelchairs or handicap vans are the same. The allure of a great deal should not deter you from getting the best product for you. We’ve seen it happen over and over where consumers are in the market for one item, but purchase a less expensive similar item and are never satisfied because it doesn’t completely fit them or their needs.
2. Use helpful internet tools by checking prices and reviews. Check out websites like Crytico.com and the manufacturer’s website. The manufacturer’s website should have all the specifications, dimensions and features listed to ensure the mobility product will fit in your home, garage, car, etc. They should also be able to give you a quote on what that used product you are researching is new. After you’ve done some research on the product, then see what your peers have to say about the product by researching it on Crytico.com. Crytico is a website of unbiased reviews made by your peers; people that actually use the products, not just someone trying to sell you something. Remember that all reviews on Crytico are authenticated by a call center so you can feel confident of their authenticity.
3. What is the warranty left on the used product for sale? Some new mobility products have lengthy warranties and some have a warranty less than a year, so it is in your best interest to find this out before making any purchase. After you find out what the original warranty is, then find out if there is any warranty left on the used product you wish to buy. #1, It’s useful for you to determine if the price of that used product without a warranty makes up for buying the same item new with a full manufacturer’s warranty. #2, It can help with price negotiations; If the warranty is expired, use that to your advantage when talking price with the seller. Some warranties are not transferable, so if there is a warranty left on the used item, do your due diligence here. Lastly, some products, like wheelchair vans have two warranties associated; one for the original van (like Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna) and then the warranty for the wheelchair conversion (like VMI, BraunAbility or Amerivan). If you are in the market for an accessible van, ensure you research both warranties.
4. What is the condition of the used product? This is important especially if you are looking to purchase the used mobility product over the Internet (sight unseen). Ask the seller questions like (1) How often was the product used? Remember the days of buying Grandma’s old Buick? Despite the car being 15 years old, she only used it to go to the store and back so it had minimal usage despite it’s years. On the flip side, we have seen products that get heavily used so don’t let the “newness” of the product (i.e. less than a year old) mask how often it may have been used. (2) Is the seller the original owner? Many mobility products have been sold over and over, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but something you should be aware of. (3) Is there a maintenance history on the product? If you are in the market for a used wheelchair, remember they are like little cars with lots of moving parts. Maintenance on any adaptive equipment will extend its life. (4) Has it been inspected by a certified mobility technician? You maybe be able to convince the seller to have it inspected for minimal expense for added piece of mind.
5. How long do you intend to use the product? Many disabilities and disorders cause people’s mobility to get worse as time goes on, like Multiple Sclerosis or ALS. On the flip side, with advancements in technology, many spinal cord patients are seeing vast improvements with their mobility. What product fits you today may not fit your needs in a year or two years. Or, the product you are seeking may be a solution for years to come. This time frame should be weighed in your buying decision when looking at new vs. used.
6. Try it out! If the product you are shopping for is local to you and available to try before you buy, do it. Some products, like stair lifts and home elevators can’t be demonstrated because of the nature of the product (must be installed in your home). However, there are many products that you can try out; like wheelchair vans, scooters, wheelchairs, etc. Make sure the product fits you and is in good condition.
7. Do a gut check. What’s that old adage, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is”? If after you go through our six tips for purchasing a used piece of adaptive equipment and it does not “feel” right, your best bet might be to walk away. The market for used equipment grows everyday as people trade in old equipment for new products, or they simply don’t need the mobility device any longer. In addition to that, the new equipment that is coming on the market may have more and better features that better suit your needs.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Crytico team if you have any questions. Our job is to help out in any way we can. 844-CRYTICO / email@example.com.