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Huge Price Hike - Stairlift Cover

(8 Posts)
AppleJane Mon 11-Mar-19 10:00:41

This is my first time posting so I'm sorry if I make any mistakes!

My elderly parents had a straight stairlift installed ten years ago and have purchased the cover ever since for callout, parts and servicing.

Four years ago they paid £550 for a four year cover which expires soon.

I happened to answer the phone when the company called to be told that they are stopping their 4 year cover and now only do yearly cover which will be £275.

Even if their prices didn't go up for the next 4 years which is highly unlikely the cover would total £1100 - double the cost from last time! Looking at the companies online accounts it seems their profits have fallen in the last couple of years.

What I did find concerning was being told by the rep that if we didn't take out the cover and the stairlift broke down that we would need their branded parts to fix it. Questions like 'is the chair used everyday?' with an audible concerned intake of breath when I said it was etc felt like tactics to pressure me. Now, I quickly put those concerns to rest by searching the net and seeing that parts and servicing are widely available but would an elderly parent do that?

If the company is having financial difficulties would cover members even get their money back if they went under?

Does anyone have any ideas where I should start looking for alternative cover please and a benchmark figure?

My DP is very handy so most problems we could probably fix ourselves but I'd still at the very least want a yearly service.

Thank you for your help!

Ariela Mon 11-Mar-19 10:09:53

There are plenty of independent stairlift engineers. Personally I'd look for one and see what they can offer in case of servicing cost, emergency call out etc, and take the risk to not bother insuring if you feel £275/year expensive. Obviously it's gone up because an older one is more likely to break down, but as the £275 covered a service, parts and call out, personally I think that is very reasonable and comparable to the expected costs, given ADT bought our nice local small intruder house alarm a year or two back and their standard annual fee including servicing costs almost £200/year not including parts.

AppleJane Mon 11-Mar-19 11:31:11

Thank you for your reply. I've seen a few cheaper quotes online but need to make calls to ensure they are like for like quotes.

I did ask why the price had gone up so much and he said company policy, didn't mention the age of the lift so that was a bit confusing.

I've noticed parts and second hand lifts are pretty cheap to buy online and with my DP being a mechanic I know we could deal with it ourselves but there's a nagging feeling that you should just pay the money!

MereDintofPandiculation Tue 12-Mar-19 08:47:31

My parents had a stairlift in their house for the best part of 30 years, and as far as I'm aware, there were no breakdowns or repairs. So £275 does seem a bit steep. It depends on their level of savings. They could take the view that insurance is for costs they couldn't bear themselves, so for example, you insure your house, because you couldn't afford to rebuild after a fire, but you don't bother to insure a kettle because you can afford a new one if it breaks down.

For what it's worth, our independent local supplier services our burglar alarm for £65 each year, which includes replacing the battery when necessary.

AppleJane Wed 13-Mar-19 21:00:49

Thank you Mere - my parent's stairlift has needed very little doing to it too so it does feel like throwing money away.

I've noticed on eBay there are reliable sellers selling reconditioned stairlifts including fitting for £700 (worse case scenario if we can't fix problems ourselves) so I'm leaning towards advising my parents to put the money aside and if it's not needed to go on a nice holiday instead!

I'm still ringing locals for a yearly service quote but pretty sure it will be similar to your alarm service charge.

Thank you for putting my mind at rest smile

MereDintofPandiculation Thu 14-Mar-19 09:50:13

There are a lot of places selling reconditioned stairlifts, not just on ebay. It's a sensible step because apparently most stairlifts are only used for a couple of years. We had a reconditioned one put in, which had only 2 months use ... on the other hand, the cost of the stairlift was less than 1 month in a care home, so it's paid for itself in that sense.

You can also hire stairlifts, which is another option if you end up having to replace and you don't see a long term need for it.

Finally, the stairlift comes in two parts, the rail and the chair. There's usually more than one model of chair will fit the rail, so logically if one part dies, you shouldn't need to have to replace both parts.

AppleJane Thu 14-Mar-19 10:25:26

Just in case this is helpful to anyone else:

Spoke to a lovely local engineer who was of the opinion that £275 was expensive for such an old model of chair. His advice was to 'put the money aside and in three years you can buy new' so pretty consistent with Mere's advice.

He charges £75 for a yearly service and has an out-of-hours emergency number too smile

AppleJane Thu 14-Mar-19 10:31:21

Oh I've just seen your reply Mere! Yes, the engineer said that usually the rail lasts for ages and it's more often than not the chair that needs replacing.

My parents are only in their 70's so I'm hoping they will need the chair for a good while longer yet smile

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