Within a few days, we’ll be getting ready to head out to the beach. Lynn loves the beach. His favorite past-time has always been to surf fish. Since he became restricted to a wheelchair, this has not been possible. So in hopes of being able to participate in that joyful experience he purchased a very expensive 4-wheel drive wheelchair from Radical Mobility in 2009. Unfortunately, he has never been able to use it (see my post about this from March 2013 for details https://mscaregiverdonna.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/thinking-of-buying-4wd-wheelchair-dont-buy-from-radical-mobility/).
When it first arrived, he was too sick but by the following summer, he was well enough to take it with us to the beach. However, once there, it would not carry him up the ramp into the van and it would not drive on sand; both essential functions if you want to go to the water’s edge.
When we returned home, he started attempting to contact Radical Mobility to find out about having it fixed. Per their instructions we sent them the parts that were defective in April 2012. To date, we have not gotten them back. When I posted that blog, Radical Mobility commented to it:
Dear Mrs Steigleder,
We are extremely sorry that you did not receive the controls that was sent, we should have checked back with you to make sure everything was in order. We did receive email from our new branch in Durban but assumed you have received the package. I have forwarded your mail to our CEO, (firstname.lastname@example.org) who is going to be livid and heads are going to fly.
He has had some heath issues this past year but is recovering well. We will send you a new control, cable and power module on Monday 4th when the factory opens at 08h00. It will be sent with TNT, UPS or Fed ex so we can assure its arrival this time, only thing we will need is picture of the two motor plugs. They are the plugs with the red, black and two white wires in the centre, reason being that they can get the polarity correct on the programming.
Once again we apologise and hope to get Lynn fishing soon, please join our blog, Facebook page, Twitter, Flickr as we don’t see you at all on those sites.
You can mail me direct at email@example.com, lets get these parts to you soonest and Lynn out fishing again.
Radical Holdings (Pty) Ltd
T/A Radical Mobility
I was so excited to think that our waiting was over and they would promptly correct the problem. I trusted them at their word to send back out parts. To date, we still don’t have the parts. We were told weeks ago it had been shipped and we would get the tracking numbers. Though we have emailed multiple times and requested the tracking numbers, we have not received them.
In my frustration, I threatened to write bad reviews anywhere I saw them advertised. Their response was to threaten to take me to court. I don’t know the laws in South Africa but I would assume that a company is held to their verbal commitments to stand by their product so as long as I comment on what we have experienced, I don’t think I have a legal concern.
To be honest though, the legal issue is not my main concern. My concern is that once again we’re heading to the beach and Lynn will be left out of much of the fun because he can’t get out on the beach. It’s so very depressing to be so close yet so far away. It’s bad enough to feel bad every day, to not be able to do anything for yourself, to have to watch others have fun while you sit on the sidelines; but what is worse is that they PROMISED we would have the parts back easily in time for him to have the wheelchair working this year. They lied. We built hope around that lie and now, though he’s not saying it, I know Lynn is dreading going. And because he can’t participate, neither will I for most of the activities. I’ll need to stay close by in case he needs anything. Our kids will stay with him some but they want to go out too. They stay usually in one room while he sits in another watching TV or typing on his book. He gets very lonely because he has limited access to all the fun and to being part of the group. Some of that is his own fault because he doesn’t want to watch what they do and won’t do so just to be in the group (but on the other hand, if he’s miserable, watching a program you don’t like doesn’t help either.)
We’re trying to stay positive. I hear the fire department there might have manual wheelchairs we can use on the beach so hopefully we can rent one for a few days. But it’s a shame we have to pay money to rent a chair for the beach when we have one we bought for that purpose sitting right here in our living room.
Lynn doesn’t want to take legal action, but I see no other choice to bring this to resolution; so does anyone know what type of lawyer I need to deal with a company in South Africa who breached their contract? If so, please let me know.