Beware mobility doorstep traders, says OFT

The Office of Fair Trading has warned about sharp practices used by traders selling mobility aids, such as scooters, stairlifts and adjustable beds, to the elderly and disabled in their home.

Last year, Consumer Direct, the OFT-managed advice service, received 4,500 calls from people complaining or asking for advice about mobility aids. Further investigations by the OFT found that elderly and disabled customers who are subject to pressure sales techniques from doorstep traders can pay high prices for mobility aids. It also highlighted the stress and inconvenience caused when customers are misled into making an inappropriate and expensive purchase.

In response, the OFT is encouraging people to shop around and to understand their rights when buying from doorstep traders. Many traders treat their customers fairly but some use tactics that encourage people to make decisions without comparing prices or checking to see if the product is right for their needs, the OFT found.

"It's important that people aren't pressurised into making a hasty decision that could leave them out of pocket or with an item that's not what they need," Colin Brown, of the OFT, said.