An assistive bed manufacturer hopes a new educational campaign and drive for clearer industry pricing will help end-users to avoid being targeted and ripped off by unethical and unscrupulous mobility traders.
Theraposture’s campaign aims to highlight the tactics some traders have used in recent months to take advantage of vulnerable customers, such as using misleading or artificially-lowered prices to entice customers into booking a home visit.
This can lead to a commission-based salesman then delivering a high-pressured sales pitch to sell products in an opportunistic way, often at unrealistically high prices.
The bed supplier said that there is no reason why accurate guide prices cannot be given up front, even for bespoke items. Its latest initiative therefore is designed to encourage clear pricing across the industry.
Without genuine price transparency on the telephone, internet or within adverts and literature, unscrupulous salesmen have the opportunity to manipulate figures to their advantage resulting in a poor deal for consumers, Theraposture believes.
Even when inflated costs are communicated during a home visit, particular rogue traders will use a technique called ‘price conditioning’. This involves the trick of ‘phoning their boss’ to achieve a ‘that day only deal’.
In addition, advertised prices may hide extras and not include reliable warranties or caring after sales support. Ambiguous refund and return policies are also commonplace especially if a product is deemed ‘bespoke’.
Theraposture said that all unethical sales techniques need to be irradiated so that the well-being, independence and safety of customers are protected.
Liam Braddell, sales director, drew on recent examples on the BBC Watchdog TV programme to highlight the way in which some providers sell adjustable beds and chairs “needs to change”.
He said: “Many vulnerable end-users, who live with mobility and health challenges, continue to be specifically targeted by product suppliers simply to maximise profit.
“This has been an inherent problem for years – a systemic problem without empathy, care or integrity.
“Polished, high pressure salesmen continue to gain entry to peoples’ homes with a view to selling products at the highest possible price through dishonesty and deceit. Choice and control needs to be given back to the consumer.”
He continued: “Our fair selling campaign aims to empower consumers so they are aware of the many pitfalls of purchasing an assistive bed or rise and recliner chair.
“As a family-run business, our Trusted Assessors continue to meet large numbers of end users who have been ripped off by companies who frankly have no moral compass.
“Without question we believe fair and appropriate selling must never waiver – that is why we adhere to the Trading Standards Institute approved BHTA Code of Practice.
“We have introduced a simple guide to risk free purchasing which is now available on our website so consumers can avoid the many dangers associated with direct selling companies.
“We do hope our latest educational initiative changes market culture and re-educates society so that elderly and disabled people are not victimised anymore.”