An 89-year-old great-grandmother has been locked in a nine-month dispute with a mobility firm over an expensive recliner chair she doesn’t want.
In September last year, Mary Davison, from Crieff, Perthshire, bought the motorised seat from “independent living specialists” Apple Health Care, based in Poulton-Le-Fylde, Lancashire.
She paid £1,700 for it over two instalments.
Her daughter Heather, a care home manager, had seen the device being demonstrated when a promotional roadshow rolled into the retirement development where she works.
“The salesman really had the gift of the gab and I thought the chair would be ideal for mum as it tilts and reclines,” said Heather.
“She lives in a sheltered house and has limited mobility. The company first came and took mum’s measurements in order to make a bespoke seat for her.”
However, when the chair arrived in November, Mary, who has 12 grandchildren, 22 great-grandkids and three great-great-grandkids, thought it was too big for her. It was not comfortable and she had difficulty sitting back in it.
“We contacted the company and they said we needed to allow time for it to adjust,” said Heather.
“But when I complained further, in December they came and took it away to make some adjustments.”
However, after the chair was returned to Mary in the middle of January a mechanism failed suddenly while she was sitting in it.
“As mum was reclining there was an almighty bang and it stopped working,” said Heather. “This gave her a terrible fright.
“Luckily a cleaner was in the building. She heard the bang and came to see what had happened.
“Mum was scared to move and she was stuck in the chair for another two hours until I managed to get away from work.
“After the chair was moved I found a bolt lying underneath it.”
Heather said that a number of attempts to complain to Apple Health Care were unsatisfactory. “The chair came with a two-year warranty but we had a lot of difficulty in getting the company to respond,” said Heather.
In frustration, Heather paid local repairmen £100 to fix the seat and it was found that a safety bolt was missing.
Consumer rights last for up to six years, depending on the quality and standard of the item when you bought it.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that goods should be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described. If something has gone wrong, you may be entitled to a refund, repair or replacement.
Yet, after a number of fruitless appeals to Apple Health Care asking for the £1,700 back, Heather wrote to Raw Deal. After several attempts to contact the company on Mary and Heather’s behalf, the firm eventually emailed back to say that it was declining to comment on the issue.
However, the Davisons then received a cheque from Apple Health Care for £100 – as “a gesture of goodwill” and for “any inconvenience caused”.
Heather said: “I feel that, as we had complained about the seat from the word go and we had to pay for it to be repaired, then it is not fit for purpose and my mum should be due a full refund.”
Mary said had she lost confidence in the recliner and insisted that it was now “useless” to her.
She now intends to take her complaint to Trading Standards.
“I wish I had never set eyes on that chair,” said Mary.