What you really need to know
Who doesn’t love a bargain? Many of us enjoy discovering hidden treasure among the weekend flea markets and garage sales throughout the land. In fact, we think most people would agree that nothing quite compares to the thrill of finding a steal amongst piles of unwanted goods. Or maybe you’re an armchair bargain hunter, preferring to scour through the many online platforms like Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace, searching for items that catch your eye – ones you didn’t even know you needed.
But what if you’re searching for something you do need: second-hand mobility equipment that could mean the difference between independence and feeling trapped. Safety and a potential fall?
Things to consider when buying second-hand mobility aids
While it may well be true that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, – especially if you’re looking for a used pair of sandals, a cuddly stuffed toy, or a bit of fantasy fiction to get you through a rainy afternoon – this simply isn’t the case for electrical items. So much could be hiding under the hood of that used mobility chair or second-hand mobility scooter, so it’s key to get a good look at what you’re buying before you part with your hard-earned cash. This is especially true if buying remotely, so make sure you have systems in place to give your equipment a test drive before anything is made final.
There are many options out there of where to buy used mobility devices, so here are a few things to consider when picking your supplier:
Picking your mobility equipment supplier carefully
When it comes to buying second-hand mobility equipment, you may not know where to start, so one way is to approach it as if you were buying a new car. All those questions that spring to mind when you’re checking out a used motor? They apply to mobility devices, too, so they’re a great place to begin to get your bearings.
- Has it undergone annual maintenance?
- Has it had any major repairs?
- How many owners has it had previously?
- Is there a log of its history?
Once you’ve got some background, you can move on to some specifics – things that only apply to used mobility devices, like where they’ve been previously. If we’re talking about fixed equipment like a stairlift, it will have been removed from its previous owner’s home. As well-intentioned as a person may be when handling electricals, if they don’t know what they’re doing, there’s a lot that can go wrong, and when it’s your safety on the line, you shouldn’t be taking any chances. Questions you may want to ask about the removal process include:
- Who removed it?
- Was it done so carefully?
- Has the equipment been checked to ensure that it wasn’t damaged?
- Have any necessary repairs or replacements been carried out since?
The answers to these questions are key, though there’s one more area you should think about before you buy: the question of getting your new equipment installed in your home, starting with:
- Will it fit? Do the components need to be cut or made longer?
- Does it work? Are the onboard circuit boards operational?
- What about the batteries? Do they still hold a charge?
- Does the equipment interface with any other mobility equipment you own?
And finally: who will install it? Are you planning on doing it yourself? Do you have the knowledge you need to ensure every safety spec is met?
Opt for a Certified second-hand mobility equipment supplier
If you’re certain that second-hand mobility equipment is the right solution for you, you may want to choose a certified vendor that specializes in recycled or refurbished mobility equipment. Buying from a shop or other business brings several advantages, from giving you more choice of second-hand mobility aids to allowing you to ask for a full service history of your equipment. In fact, these sellers often recondition equipment, fit it with new batteries, provide installation services, and even a warranty that lasts at least three months, giving you the peace of mind that your safety has been put first, all for a lower price tag.
Though we all want to save money, cutting corners with your safety equipment simply isn’t worth the risk. In fact, with so many things that could go wrong, from equipment removal to installation, a DIY approach may end up costing you more in the long run. As such, we recommend getting to know the history and the potential cost of parts and installation before purchasing used. Better yet, contact qualified vendors and discuss your needs directly. Let them fit your need versus trying to make your flea market treasure fit you.