Pensioners who contact Age UK asking for advice about which mobility scooter to buy are directed to a mobility scooter company Quingo, which pays the charity at least £100,000 a year for the partnership.
Quingo has recently been accused of inundating pensioners with calls and pressurising them with sales reps visits to make them buy mobility scooters which are up to £3,000 more expensive than other comparable products. Age UK is investigating the allegations and would “suspend any partnerships” if it found evidence of pressure selling. The charity generates £100,000 per annum from the partnership with Quingo, based on an anticipated percentage of overall sales.
Great grandfather Vernon Morgan, 92, a World War Two RAF veteran, has complained that he was called by Quingo four times in just a few days after Age UK told him to contact the company, who twice tried to arrange someone to go round to his Lincolnshire home to do an assessment for a mobility scooter. Vernon explains: “They called me and said we have a sales rep in your area tomorrow, they can come and see you for an assessment. I said wait a minute, I just want a brochure. This to me was sales pressure”. He added that he had two calls within half an hour of each other.
Quingo, the exclusive mobility scooter retailer on the Age UK website is more expensive than other suppliers and a range of mobility scooter prices are upwards of £3,000 more expensive than those made by other manufacturers.
Dot Gibson, general secretary of the National Pensioners’ Convention said: “Pressure selling on older and vulnerable people is something that needs urgent attention. There are far too many instances where pensioners have been preyed upon by unscrupulous companies and salespeople who are trying to force them into buying something they may not want. Consumers need greater protection from this kind of harassment”.
The claims follow the Office for Fair Trading’s (OFT) ‘provisional findings’ that mobility scooter manufacturer Pride Mobility, misled pensioners for two years by fixing prices on the internet ( as previously reported on this blog ).
Hugh Forde, managing director for retail, trading and training at Age UK said they were disappointed by the complaints. He commented: “Age UK is committed to providing good customer care and takes all customer feedback seriously. We do not condone any form of pressure selling. If there is any evidence of such selling we would suspend any partnerships until we are absolutely reassured”.
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