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Thread: Shopmobility or SHOCKmobility - your view.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    Shopmobility or SHOCKmobility - your view.

    Well I was pretty angry today when trying to book a Shopmobility scooter.

    I needed to book a scooter but found myself talking to a very hostile woman who was very protective of their scooters. The conversation went like this . . .

    Light 'Morning, I'd like to boo a scooter for tomorrow morning'

    Shop - 'Have you been with us before'

    Light - 'No - I just need to hire it for a few hours'

    Shop - 'You'll need to go on our training course first for Health and Safety reasons'

    Light - 'OK, no problem. It'll only take a few minutes'

    Shop - 'We'll need to book you in for a training session first'

    Light - 'I have used them before. I've been disabled for 38 years and I drive a car. It's hardly rocket science'.

    Shop - ''Without the training we can only loan you a manual wheelchair'

    Light - I want to hire an electric scooter because my left arm doesn't work so I can't use a manual wheelchair'

    Shop - 'In that case you'll need to book a training course first'

    Light - 'Can we do the training before I take the scooter out'

    Shop - 'You'll need to book the training in beforehand'

    Light 'Good grief - is your Manager in'

    Shop - 'no he's on his lunch'

    Light - 'In that case I'll speak to his manager'

    Shop 'You can't he's busy'

    Light 'How much is the hire fee

    Shop '£2 plus £10 registration plus the car park fee'

    Light 'I'll leave a message with the manager.

    In retrospect I don't think I'll bother trying their 'service' out.

    Areas of concern
    - cost
    - arrogance and lack of common sense used
    - flawed policies and inflexible procedures
    - they forgot why they exist - to help remove disabling barriers
    - staff customer service 'disability awareness training' issues
    - no forms on website to offer feedback on 'how well their service is run' - how can they learn from mistakes
    - not fit for purpose
    - puts people off from using the service - a lost customer who will tell other disabled people about the bad service you get just trying to book an electric scooter.

    What's your experience when trying to hire a shopmobility scooter.

  2. #2
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    What a shame this woman ruined what is usually a really helpful service. Went to Bournemouth last month and hired a scooter from Shopmobility in the shopping precinct. The lady couldn't have been nicer - scooter brilliant - and cheap. No registration fee and no car park charge. It cost me £4 and all I had to do was fill in a very short registration form - then I can use their shop anytime. What a shame about the branch you went to - we have 2 local Shopmobility to me in London and they are both run by really nice people. Perhaps a moan to their head office might work!

  3. #3
    Senior Member catlover's Avatar
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    I think some sort of training is a good idea as some people are lethal once they're in charge of a mobility scooter, but a few mins showing how to use the controls before you take it out should be sufficient, particularly for those who have used a scooter before. Having to book on an actual training course is ridiculous.

    I have generally had good service from shopmobility but I had a bit of a barney with a woman at one branch when she tried to charge me an extra hour (her mistake and I could prove it but she wouldn't admit it).

    The cost of scooter hire does vary dramatically. Some places it's free to register, others charge or just charge an hourly fee. I hired a scooter for the Tatton flower show last year and was appalled to be told I would have to pay £25 for the privilege (on top of having to pay the same for entry). However when I went to collect the scooter it was in good working order, the staff were lovely and couldn't do enough to adjust it for me and make sure everything was comfortable.

    This is why I'm planning on getting my own as soon as I can afford to. That way I get one that is the right size and adjustment, always available and no arsey staff to deal with

  4. #4
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    Well i've had good and bad. First off, you do have to register with them and provide evidence that you ARE disabled. I could not hire a scooter cuz of epilepsy.
    "we need a letter from your GP"
    GP: Well i can't see the machinery, so i can't say you will be safe.
    Shopmobility: No letter, no scooter.

    So it had to be a manual and as my shoulder got worse, had to hire carer to push it.

    You can hire a chair in other towns, did in once in Lancaster to visit my daughter, but frankly they landed us with a dud.
    Four small wheels proved not up to Lancaster's cobbles and hills!

    And we never had to do a training course. what bollocks!

  5. #5
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    You see NOW why i rapidly evolved from Shopmobility to buying manual to buying power pack?? You can do it, Lighttouch!

  6. #6
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    Apologies for drifting from the thread of this, but adding to post above I would be very interested to know more about this chair. I have a scooter (plus boot hoist) but there are lots of situations where a chair is better, and I can't manage a manual chair by myself. So keep us posted please

  7. #7
    Senior Member catlover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reddivine View Post
    Well i've had good and bad. First off, you do have to register with them and provide evidence that you ARE disabled. I could not hire a scooter cuz of epilepsy.
    "we need a letter from your GP"
    GP: Well i can't see the machinery, so i can't say you will be safe.
    Shopmobility: No letter, no scooter.

    So it had to be a manual and as my shoulder got worse, had to hire carer to push it.

    You can hire a chair in other towns, did in once in Lancaster to visit my daughter, but frankly they landed us with a dud.
    Four small wheels proved not up to Lancaster's cobbles and hills!

    And we never had to do a training course. what bollocks!
    That's ridiculous that you have to provide a letter from your GP. So if I go in with a crutch, limping and with a speed slower than your average snail they'd still want some confirmation from my GP that I'm disabled? Thank god other places have a more rational approach. I've hired scooters in all sorts of places - supermarkets, chester zoo (I'm a member so hire one regularly there), national trust properties, shopping centres etc. and whilst the service, quality of product and price vary wildly I have never, ever been asked to provide proof that I'm disabled. Surely the fact that you want one in the first place is proof enough.

  8. #8
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    As is often the case, you can see this from both sides.


    The Shopmobility service has a duty of care to users to ensure they have adequate training to be able to use the powered mobility aid in the town centre / shopping centre location without supervision. They also have a duty of care to the public not to allow untrained or unsuitable people to use Shopmobility owned mobility aids. Taken together, these duties weigh quite heavily on a Shopmobility scheme, in part because of the liability connotations should something go wrong.

    Probably the most important outcome of the 'training' is assessing whether the aid is suitable for the user and the user is safe to be allowed to use it in public. Sadly, there are some who would benefit greatly from powered mobility aids who are not capable of using them safely, for example because their vision is too poor. If a Shopmobility user goes on to injure themselevs or someone else because of an issue the Shopmobility scheme could reasonably have foreseen from observing them during a short training or handover session, it is likely that the Shopmobility scheme is liable in negligence for these outcomes. As the scheme is more likely to be insured than the user, it makes sense to bring any claim against the scheme's insurers. Insurance is likely to be a significant part of the scheme's overheads, so they want to do everything reasonable to minimise the risk of their operations.

    I suspect the importance of making good decisions about risk and liability is why the front line staff are often not allowed to train and authorise new users.


    However, you are quite right to point out that the primary duty of a Shopmobility scheme is to serve the mobility needs of their client group, Lighttouch. There's really no excuse for poor disability awareness from an organisation that exists to serve the disabled community.

    Shopmobility schemes have limited resources and often relies on volunteers who may not always have the best training.


    It would help greatly if there was a national training scheme for Shopmobility users, so that once you've completed training on a Shopmobilty scooter, you are issued with some proof that is recognised by all other Shopmobility schemes. It's important to recognise, though, that even if such a scheme existed, each Shopmobility scheme would have to reach its own view on the suitability of the user, as they take on the burden of liability if they fail to prevent a foreseeable accident.

    Each Shopmobility scheme is an autonomous organisation. They can affiliate to the National Federation of Shopmobility, and many schemes do, but NFS has almost no control over the operational policies of each scheme.

    NFS attempted to launch a National Passport Scheme (the sort of national user training credential I suggested a couple of paragraphs ago) and national booking scheme as long ago as 2008, but. so far as I'm aware, both initiatives were essentially stillborn due to lack of funding.

  9. #9
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    Firstly, I think that each Shopmobility outlet is independant, I don't think that there is much national structure.

    One of the beefs that I have with some scooter users in general, and in particular shopmobility users, is that a lot do not understand the rules for class 3 scooters. If it is capable of going over 4 mph, then it must have a way of limiting the speed to 4mph, and that switch must be activiated if using it anywhere other than on a road. The speed limit for scooters in pavements, parks, pedestrianised shopping centres, etc. is FOUR MPH.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fliss View Post
    Apologies for drifting from the thread of this, but adding to post above I would be very interested to know more about this chair. I have a scooter (plus boot hoist) but there are lots of situations where a chair is better, and I can't manage a manual chair by myself. So keep us posted please
    Ah well if you find the "I'm going to MS Life !" thread, and scroll down you will see a pic of me in my chair. I chose it because it comes apart and the component parts can be lifted into a NORMAL boot. No hoist or WAV vehicle needed. And I don't drive so getting it on/off public transport was a necessary. Lighttouch saw it and he's in lurve.....(not with me....!!!)

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