This month’s poll question on mobilitymgmt.com asked mobility dealers and rehab technology suppliers how they felt about advertising scooters and power chairs through general media.
Is it appropriate to advertise mobility and/or rehab equipment via general-interest magazines, television commercials, radio spots and Web sites seen and listened to by the public at large?
Results: 65 percent of respondents said it was inappropriate for at least some types of power mobility to be advertised to the general public.
In fact, 38 percent of respondents said it was inappropriate to advertise any power mobility to general audiences. That figure ran as high as 51 percent a few days after the poll question was listed in MM’s eMobility newsletter; over the following week, the percentage answering “always inappropriate” dropped. But that answer remained the most popular.
Throughout the survey period, respondents who thought it acceptable to advertise certain mobility products through mainstream channels overwhelmingly preferred to market scooters that way. Very few respondents said it was OK to advertise power chairs, including less complex ones, to public audiences.
“It’s great to see there are other reputable dealers out there,” said Jim Marks, manager of Wheelchair & Scooter Express in Houston. “The advertising, especially on television, is nothing but an enticement for the beneficiaries to use their Medicare benefits. If CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) would enforce the rules they already have in place, we would not have to be changing anything. These companies that use ‘FREE, FREE, FREE’ or are showing persons at the Grand Canyon, then use the word ‘Medicare’ in the advertising, are committing fraud, and CMS knows it. CMS would rather state this in the ‘gray area’ than to enforce their own policies.”
“On your question about selling scooters and power chairs over the Internet: I wish you had a place to tell why I don’t think it is right,” wrote Charlie Kusler, Kusler Enterprises, Snellville, Ga. “Although I am mainly a repair center, I have had people inform me they bought a scooter, power chair or lift chair over the Internet. Once they received it, it did not serve the purpose they thought it would. The Internet seller refused to take it back, then (the customer) expected me to purchase it for what they paid for it and sell them the right one at a discount. Also, since the Internet dealer would not come and do the repair work on the scooter when it broke down, the customer expected me to do the repair work free of charge….One customer informed me that he called the company and they just laughed at him and said, “Do you think we are going to come up from Florida to Georgia to work on your lift chair?”
Due to the open nature of the web, the results of this and other mobilitymgmt.com polls, including the one printed in MM March, are instant opinion tallies and are not scientific.