I was recently asked by a customer to explain the pro’s and con’s of buying and installing a second-hand stairlift. Second-hand stairlifts are also known as pre-owned or re-conditioned stairlifts. This particular customer needed a curved stairlift installed in his father’s house in Cork city. Recently, his father was struggling to get up and down the curved stairs in the house. However, the price tag of just over €6000 for the new curved stairlift meant that this was a large purchase for one item, so it needed careful consideration. As a cheaper alternative, they were considering installing a second-hand stairlift instead.
I sat down with the customer and we discussed the pro’s and con’s of purchasing a re-conditioned stairlift rather than installing a new stairlift. These were the main points of our conversation :
The advantages of purchasing a second-hand stairlift are
1. Second-hand stairlifts look almost identical to new stairlifts. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between them. The curved rails and seats are completely new and fabricated to suit the shape of your particular curved stairs.
2. All pre-owned stairlifts come with a 12 month guarantee as standard.
3. The batteries are replaced with new in a re-conditioned stairlift.
4. Every second-hand stairlift is tested, so that it meets the minimum safety standards.
5. Re-conditioned curved stairlifts are well over €1000 cheaper than new curved stairlifts.
6. Most companies selling pre-owned stairlifts, offer a full back-up and maintenance service.
7. Pre-owned quality stairlifts look every bit as good as a new one.
Therefore, re-conditioned stairlifts are tempting, when the price tag is far cheaper than the new alternative.
However, there are several pitfalls which you as a customer should be aware of. The questions that you need to ask before taking the plunge and purchasing a pre-owned stairlift include :
1. Can you tell how old the stairlift motor is? Unless you remove the safety covers and expose the motor to see the manufacturer’s date stamp, you will have no idea how old the second-hand stairlift motor actually is.
2. There are dozens of stairlift manufacturers selling their stairlift products in Ireland. They all vary in terms of quality and reliability. Do you know who these manufacturers are? Do you know the difference in quality between their products?
3. Are you buying a quality stairlift or a budget stairlift? The majority of stairlift motors are manufactured in China and assembled in the UK. They typically last from 1 to 3 years. Only 2-3 manufacturers build their motors in-house, to much higher quality standards. Could you tell the difference between a quality motor and a budget stairlift motor made in China?
4. Are you going to fit the second-hand stairlift yourself, or do you need a qualified engineer to do the job? What will the engineer charge for call-out and installation?
5. Is a 12 month guarantee adequate? If you need the stairlift for more than 12 months, what is the additional cost over a 3-5 year period? Would purchasing a new stairlift work out cheaper in the long run?
6. How can you tell the quality of the pre-owned stair lift? Is it in good working condition, or waiting to break down?
7. Do you know if the re-conditioned stairlift was serviced regularly? Just like your car, a stairlift motor and rail needs servicing to keep everything in good working order.
8. If the second-hand stair lift breaks down after 12 months, can you get the parts to repair it? Is there a company out there who will carry out the repairs for you? If so, what do they charge for call-out and labour?
At the end of our conversation, the decision as always, is left entirely up to each customer. A week later, I got a phone call from this customer telling me of his decision. In the end, rather than to buy cheap and buy twice, he decided to would purchase a new quality stairlift. As his father was nearly 60 years old, he viewed the stairlift as an investment. Peace of mind over the coming decade ensuring his father gets up and down the stairs safely.
This customer chose a platinum curve which is a high quality, reliable stairlift that comes with a full 3 year no-quibble guarantee as standard. Platinum curve stairlifts have been tried and tested to last at least 10 years or more, so this customer took a long term view. Everyone is different, but once you weight up the pro’s and con’s so that you are making a well informed decision, the type of stairlift you chose, will generally be the right one for you.
If you need more information on re-conditioned or second-hand stairlifts, please contact our office on (021) 432 0052. Alternatively you can email [email protected] or visit our website www.CorkStairlifts.ie