(Click on “UPLIFTING EXPERIENCE” in the TAG CLOUD for other posts in this series).
Just had another follow-up phone call that I did not ask for from “Fred” who is from “Companion Stairlifts” that I did not contact.
It turns out they are the sales company for “Minivator” who are now called “Handicare” who do all the work for “Age UK”. Still with me? I looked up their website which appeared familiar, although I had not seen it before, and again there were no prices to be found anywhere. Unusual for a sales site – wouldn’t you say?
One small interesting fact deep in the Companion website, was a news item saying that in 2009 they had sponsored a charity ball for Help the Aged which aimed to raise £20,000 for the charity. How nice of them? I guess that must have been the start of the much more profitable relationship that has now blossomed into £900,000 commission from “Handicare”.
After only 40 minutes of conversation and friendly chat, Fred did tell me that a curved lift would cost around £3,500 but a surveyor would need to do a site visit to confirm the price and I may want some extras, so the cost could be higher. The lift comes with a two-year guarantee and thereafter a £200 a year maintenance charge. Although Fred said he may be able to extend the guarantee at no extra cost.
Fred said that Companion / Minivator / Handicare were one of only three manufacturers in the UK. The other two were Stannah and Acorn, but one of them had some bad press recently. Also it is best to deal with a manufacturer because there are some shady practices amongst some suppliers, e.g. “discounts that are only offered for a quick sale”.
Now I am feeling really confident about this market :-(. I had better look up a few more of the 1.5 million Google results.
Maybe I can find some independent advice about stairlift suppliers? My search continues.