A “flea market stairlift” might not be the bargain that it appears to be at first. Stannah offers this guide for purchasing used stairlifts, so you can make an informed decision and be sure you have the right stairlift for your needs.
Stairs a Problem? The Search Begins
So, you’re looking for a stairlift. Maybe you need it for yourself or you’re researching options for a loved one. Either way, stairs have become a problem and you’re in need of a solution. You like what you’ve seen from stairlift companies online, but you don’t want to pay top dollar. After all, you’ve proven yourself capable of finding “the deal” time and time again. So, why should this be any different? Maybe you’ve seen some second-hand listings online or heard from a friend that they saw a stairlift down at the local flea market. Perhaps a neighbour is selling their old stairlift and it looks like you can get a great bargain. These all sound like great options on paper, but there’s more to this story than meets the eye. Let’s take a look at some of the pitfalls of purchasing a stairlift on the secondary market and how buying from a reputable business can save you some money without compromising safety.
It seems simple enough, but the very first question that you should be asking is, “Does this stairlift actually work?” Unfortunately, if you’re buying on the secondary market, there’s no way to be sure. Of course, you’d like to think that the person you’re dealing with is honest and trustworthy, and perhaps they are; but if the stairlift has been sitting in a garage or basement, unused for months, there is no telling how it will operate (if at all). Worse still, if the stairlift isn’t working, it could be difficult to find someone to repair it properly. Sure, there might be a “one man band” in town, but there’s no guarantee that the local handyman has the expertise to safely repair your stairlift. It might also be difficult to get parts for an older stairlift. Furthermore, unsafe repairs can leave you stranded, or worse, with no reliable contact for service. That’s why working with a reputable company is so important. Whether you’re buying new or used, it’s important to have access to quality service, from a company that stands behind their product.
Self-Installations: Compromising Safety & Reliability
When you own a house, there are plenty of opportunities for a good old-fashioned DIY project. Installing a stairlift is not one of them. Unsafe installations not only damage the stairlift, which can lead to breakdowns, but can also cause accidents and compromise the safety of the user. The Accessibility Equipment Manufacturers Association (AEMA) has taken a strong stance against self-installations, publishing a position paper that highlights some of the dangers. Above all, before getting a stairlift you should be sure that it can be installed…
- In a safe manner
- In a manner that ensures operational safety
- In conformance with local codes and regulations
Even if you have a background in carpentry or electrical work, it’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to safely install a stairlift. A safe installation requires very specific training and an understanding of the product. While many people are capable of installing a stairlift, attempting to complete the job without the proper training and experience is like building a house without blueprints.
Custom-Made… For Someone Else’s Stairs
Another important factor to consider is the shape of your stairs. Is it a straight run up to the top or do they take a turn? If the stairs turn, do not purchase a curved-rail stairlift second-hand. Even if the configuration looks about right, close is not close enough. Trying to put a curved-rail stairlift onto a staircase it wasn’t designed for can lead to a rough ride at best and, an extremely dangerous one at worst.
Furthermore, getting the length right is key. Even if it’s just a straight run, a rail that’s cut too long or too short can cause issues and make it difficult for the user to get on and off the stairlift safely. Getting the measurements right is critically important and with a second-hand stairlift, it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll get it right.
Used Stairlifts From the Manufacturer: Safety & Peace of Mind
So, what’s the answer then? Sometimes, the simplest solution is actually the best option. Remember those stairlift manufacturers that we mentioned at the beginning of this article? In the long run, purchasing a reliable used stairlift from the people who design, manufacture and service these products, is usually the safest and most cost effective option.
You’re likely going to pay a little more up front, but it’s hard to argue with the benefits of working directly with the manufacturer. At Stannah, all of our used stairlifts have been returned, tested, repaired, cleaned and are 100% ready for your home. We don’t sell our stairlifts for self-install, instead we send our factory-trained technicians to do the job right. If you’re looking for a used stairlift, there’s no better option than a refurbished Stannah. We stand by every stairlift that we sell, and with our extended warranty, you can rest assured that you’re getting a product that will serve your family for years to come.
So, to recap: what should you look for in a used stairlift?
- A reputable stairlift manufacturer or dealer to ensure a functioning product
- Factory-trained technicians to guarantee a safe installation
- An extended warranty from a company who stands behind their product
- Reliable, local service
- A company with a proven track record and a reputation for safety and reliability
It’s important to be aware of the pitfalls when purchasing a stairlift second-hand. Know the history; know who you’re dealing with and take into account the real cost of your purchase. If you’d like to learn more about what Stannah has to offer, you can learn more about our stairlifts or contact us today!