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CMA must review mobility equipment market to combat high costs, says new report

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A lack of competition in the mobility equipment market could be contributing to disabled people paying over the odds for things like powerchairs, mobility scooters and daily living aids.

That’s according to disability charity Scope, which has called for the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) to conduct a review into competition in the market to gauge whether the industry is working effectively for disabled people.

Scope is trying to get to the bottom of why mobility equipment and assistive technology is costing disabled people as much as it is and wants to assess the extent to which a lack of competition in the market is a factor.

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A new report by the charity was published this week to shed light on the high costs disabled people are facing in their everyday lives.

It claims on average, disabled people face extra costs of £570 a month related to their impairment or condition. This is because of a need for specialist equipment, greater energy consumption and higher insurance premiums.

Scope is now calling on the mobility industry, regulators and the government to tackle the “unfair financial penalty for disabled people”.

The report cited the Prime Minister’s pledge to tackle the “burning injustice” of disability discrimination and noted that regulators and businesses are thinking more about the needs of disabled consumers. But it has outlined recommendations for businesses and ministers to follow to improve the situation.

It said: “There is an urgent need to address the problem of extra costs, which requires action on two different fronts. It means ensuring disabled people have the right support from our welfare system to help with extra costs, and taking action to drive down these costs in the first place.”

One of the changes Scope wants is a “complete overhaul” of the PIP assessment process so that it can accurately identify the barriers that can lead to extra costs for disabled people.

The report also wants businesses to develop goods and services that help reduce costs, and it wants regulators to work together to develop a shared definition of vulnerability that recognises the extra costs faced by disabled people.

In 2015 the Extra Costs Commission published a similar report to investigate the extra costs faced by disabled people. It also drew on the high cost of specialist mobility equipment and urged regulators, the government and businesses to push for change.

Tags : cmaCompetition and Markets Authorityextra costs commissionmobility equipmentpipscope
Joe Peskett

The author Joe Peskett

3 Comments

  1. I couldn’t have put it better myself. This is very misleading, there’s a lot of competition in the mobility industry. Products are sold at very low prices, but if you want somebody to take care of you, come out within a few hours or so when you breakdown, loan you a machine if yours breaks, be at the end of the phone to help, etc, this costs money. We can’t do it for free. There is a reason the high street is becoming full of coffee and charity shops. If you push the prices down any further there will be no shops left to go to to try the products, as we couldn’t afford the overheads.

    1. Both above very well said. Competing against internet wonders offering lower cost items but with no ability or intent to look after customers needs looking at first. Not all internet sales are bad sales but most mobility products need a face to face assessment and not be sent on a pallet to the end user who then sees the product for the first time.
      I do not think the hour I spent on call out over the Bank holiday Sunday replacing an inner tube to get a customer mobile with the scooter they had bought elsewhere was over charged at a total of £20 inc the inner tube.
      If there was something along the lines of making it a legal requirement to conduct a face to face assessment of a potential end user prior to purchase then that would cut down on the internet only sales and I am then sure that many mobility dealers could look at price reductions due to the increased volume of their sales.

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