A Wolverhampton mobility equipment dealer faces disciplinary action from the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) – including the possibility of expulsion – following allegations made against it in this week’s BBC Rogue Traders programme.
Arise Mobility featured in this Wednesday’s episode, where it was challenged by BBC investigators over cold calling, the length of time its sales staff spent at potential customers’ homes, and lack of pricing transparency.
However, speaking to Access & Mobility Professional this morning, the company’s sales and marketing director, Martin Sampson, said the business felt it was “misrepresented” on the show and is disappointed that it didn’t get the opportunity to answer the allegations in full.
“We requested to go on the show and give our view [on the allegations] but the BBC declined this,” he explained.
Mr Sampson said the company was working with official bodies, including Trading Standards, to provide an accurate account of its practices. It has also employed a legal firm to review its internal policies.
He expects the disciplinary meeting with the BHTA to be scheduled in the coming weeks. “It is likely to take place in August and I am extremely happy to attend,” he said.
Arise Mobility describes itself as a “well-established family-run business” that was founded in 1982. It specialises in adjustable beds and rise recliner chairs.
On its website, the BHTA confirmed it had begun disciplinary action against Arise Mobility over allegations that its selling techniques could have breached its approved industry Code of Practice.
The association said the code is intended to protect consumers and is approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.
The BHTA’s director of governance and policy, Sarah Lepak, stated: “This firm has not been a member for very long and is already facing disciplinary action leading to expulsion. The sales techniques described are not consistent with our Code of Practice.
“Our aim is to prevent companies from cold calling customers, either by telephone, or at home. No assessment or sale should last longer than three hours, except in very exceptional circumstances. Inappropriate selling tactics, such as high pressure selling with a high initial price followed by a discount, withholding price information until the end of a sale, or any form of price conditioning, are banned.”
Mrs Lepak said the BHTA works hard to ensure that all members adhere to the code through the use of mystery shoppers, regular audits and through customer feedback.
The BHTA also provides information to assist consumers with purchasing goods and every member company is required to make its advice available to assist people when purchasing products that help to maintain independent living.
Mrs Lepak added that Trading Standards, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Furniture Ombudsman had all been made aware of the action that it is taking in relation to Arise Mobility.