Friday, October 20, 2006

Stairlift worries

This article appeared in the Disability Now magazine and highlights a problem I mentioned in a previous post. If you buy a Stannah 260, make sure the people that sell it to you are Stannah authorised dealers.

A disabled man has been left without a maintenance contract for his reconditioned stairlift, after it was discovered the stair rail had been welded together using parts of other second-hand rails.

Andrew Dunnington is considering legal action against the maintenance company, Stannah Lift Services (SLS), which took nearly five years to spot the alleged problem.

But Stannah claims the case highlights national concerns about some reconditioned stairlifts sold by firms.

Dunnington, who has a spinal injury, bought the reconditioned Stannah stairlift for £5,450 in 1994 from Multicare, which installed it on the curved staircase at his home in Stockport, Cheshire.

Three years later, Dunning-ton signed a contract with SLS to carry out regular maintenance.

But it wasn't until this February that SLS discovered the stair rail had been welded together from various second-hand rails, and told Dunnington it would no longer honour the contract.

Jon Stannah, managing director of SLS, said the reconditoned rail was "made to look extremely convincing, like a new Stannah rail".

"More of these re-welded products are emerging all the time and are a real concern," he said. "We do not believe you can recondition a [curved] rail safely."

But Martin Baldwin, managing director of Multicare, said: "Mr Dunnington had eight years of use out of it."

He added: "The integrity of a reconditioned curve is as good if not better than one Stannah would make. To all intents and purposes, it is a new track. There are a lot of very satisfied customers."

David Fazakerley, managing director of the Lift and Escalator Industry Association, said his organisation had "concerns" about the issue of reconditioned stair rails.