It began in May, when, being unusually organized, I booked a service call for Becky’s power wheelchair. It is very important that it is working well and she can rely on it. Without it, she cannot move around her own bedroom, her own home, or the rest of the world. The wheelchair was running okay, but she was due to go away to camp at the beginning of July, and I thought it would be a good idea to give it a tune-up. The service call was booked for Friday, May 27. The company doesn’t give you any idea of a time, but they are supposed to call the morning of, and give you an estimate of when they’ll be there.
Our service guy called somewhat later rather than sooner and said he’d be there late afternoon. We had already waited in half of the morning, but we had a couple of hours before we had to be back again, so we trundled off into retail land and came back home for lunch. He called again about 1 pm and asked how urgent the service call was. I explained the tune-up idea, and he decided that he couldn’t make it out that day after all. ‘Hmmm.’ The company would call next week to book a new appointment. Really.
Of course, no-one called, so I spent another couple of hours leaving messages, missing calls, leaving more messages, and finally finding a live person. Our regular service guy was on holiday, so they would be sending someone else on June 7.
Service guy #2 called at 8:30 am and told me when he would be there. He arrived promptly, took the chair apart and tested the batteries. The batteries were okay, the wheel bearings were not. No problem, he’ll order more caster wheels and install them at a later date.
The next service call was June 20. At this point, the wheelchair had started to show some eccentricities in the power department. Service guy #2 installed the new casters and felt that this would eliminate the power problem.
It got worse. Much worse. I called the next day with no response, and three times after that, with no response. Feeling completely frustrated, I called the sales department, and they managed to find someone who was answering their phone. I explained that the power display showed a drop in power after only an hour of use, and it would drop very rapidly after that. I also reiterated that Becky was going away to camp on July 3, and needed a working power wheelchair. No problem, they assured me.
On June 24, service guy #1 returned. He checked the batteries and decided that they need to be replaced, which he proceeded to do. I paid the bill and off he went. I charged the batteries the rest of that day and overnight, and the next morning…the power dropped after thirty minutes.
On Monday, June 27, we had two different service guys visit; one in the morning with a new battery charger, and one, service guy #3, in the afternoon with a new controller. “Can we rent another wheelchair”, I asked, “just in case this doesn’t help?” They would put together a loaner chair if we needed it, but they were both confident that this would work.
It didn’t. Now the chair started losing power after ten minutes and was almost empty by lunch. I called for the next two days and finally got a response on June 30, the day before a holiday. Obviously, no-one was coming out with a loaner wheelchair on Canada Day. We had had six service calls, had new casters and new batteries installed, plus we were given a different battery charger and wheelchair controller to try. Each time the wheelchair had gotten worse. Becky was leaving on July 3 for a ten day camp and her wheelchair only made it though half the day. What the bloody hell were we supposed to do?