My Acorn stairlift brochure arrived today. This is in response to my enquiry to “Which Stairlift” and the unasked for follow-up phone call from a name I can’t recall.
This brochure is useful as far as it goes; nice photos; good illustration of how a stairlift is fitted and detailed specification. But nothing at all about the cost !
Given that most of these lifts will be sold to older people on fixed and often limited incomes, you would think they would want to give some indication of the price of their stairlifts. Perhaps they just want to get their foot through the door first? I know all stairlifts will vary to suit the staircase, but these are expensive items that you are only going to buy once, so cost is a key issue .
Elderly people are all too aware of the pressure of door-to-door salesmen, selling everything from dish cloths to double glazing. Not everyone, especially an elderly person on their own, is able to resist that pressure. Yet without any indication of the cost, you are expected to invite a “surveyor” into your home. The surveyor is just a salesman by another name and may tempt you with discounts for a quick purchase. According to the brochure after the visit the “surveyor will instantly be able to give you the peace of mind of knowing exactly how affordable an Acorn stairlift is”. So it can’t be too difficult to calculate can it? Now you wonder why I am suspicious of this cagey hanging back approach to cost.
Within a day of receiving the brochure, I get another follow-up phone call to check I have received the brochure. I guess they are not too confident about the post these days :-).
“Rachel” was a very nice lady, very chatty. She told me Acorn are the leading manufacturer of stairlifts worldwide. She is obviously following a script because she also manages to get out that Acorn lifts are made in the UK, — that they are the slimmest on the market, — that they have local surveyors all over the country — and their own engineers who can be called out day and night, — 365 day a year. All without taking a breath 🙂
What she did not do was tell me anything about cost. She did say to go direct to manufacturers and not to use “middlemen”. The inference seemed to be that middlemen cost more, but when I asked what commission they added on, she did not know. When I pressed her several times on the cost of a stairlift, she eventually said that a straight stairlift would be between £1800 and £2500. No mention of maintenance costs – I guess she did not want to put me off.
We left it that I would call her back when I had read the brochure. She ended by again telling me that Acorn was the largest manufacturer of stairlifts worldwide.
At the end of the brochure under the heading “complete peace of mind” is the reassurance that Acorn fits a lift every 14 minutes, 365 days a year somewhere in the world.
That is:- 4 per hour
100 per day
36,500 stairlifts a year
At say an average cost of £3,000 each
That is £110,000,000
In the concluding paragraph of the letter accompanying the brochure, the last line says:-
“If you phone us today, we may even be able to fit your new stairlift tomorrow”.
That would be supersonic customer service if you have just come out of hospital and urgently need a stairlift.
But it could be mistaken as a high pressure sales technique if you are an elderly person at home alone, with no prior knowledge of cost and no time to obtain competitive quotations.
No Pressure ?