Rica’s advice on buying a new stairlift

Rica (formerly Ricability) is the trading name of the national research charity Research Institute for Consumer Affairs. They focus specifically on issues of concern to disabled and older consumers. Rica was founded through Consumers Association, publishers of Which? but is now an independent charity.

With grant funding, Rica research and publish free consumer reports. They are all based on rigorous research and provide practical information needed by disabled and older consumers.

Rica also carry out commissioned research work with manufacturers, service providers, regulators and policy makers to improve products and services. Our aim is to increase their awareness of the needs of disabled and older consumers through specialist research.

Rica Stairlift Advice

“The longer or more complicated your stairs, the more you’ll have to pay. In Rica’s research for Age UK in 2014, they asked three firms to quote for installing a lift in each of three houses. The quotes varied from house to house, and quite significantly from company to company. They show that it’s worth getting more than one quote – Rica strongly recommend getting three to compare.

See our advice on choosing a supplier

Ask how payments are scheduled. You shouldn’t have to pay the last instalment until the lift is installed and you are happy with it. In addition, you should ask for details and quotes for servicing costs.

Stairlift rental

You can rent stairlifts from some local suppliers and manufacturers. Rica last researched rental prices in 2010. Prices from local suppliers vary – typical charges that we found were around £350 for installation and then around £10 a week rent. This also includes the cost of removal. Of the major national manufacturers and suppliers:

Dolphin charged £700 to rent a straight stairlift for one year. This up-front fee included installation, future removal charges, 12 months’ rental fees, and servicing and breakdown cover. If there was a £50/month rental fee to rent the stairlift for longer than a year. They did not rent curved lifts.

Stannah rented stairlifts for straight stairs starting at £57 a month; curved stairs from £148 a month. In addition to this, there was a one-off charge of £795 (straight) or £1300 (curved) that covered admin, installation and removal. Fees included servicing.

Money-saving tips and reconditioned lifts

Some firms have a price-matching scheme and will match their competitor’s prices for similar products – ask about this when you talk to them.

Many firms sell reconditioned second-hand stairlifts – you may be offered one by the firms you ask to quote. These are considerably cheaper than buying new and come with a year’s guarantee and sometimes a free service.

The law says that all products must be fit for their purpose, so you can expect a second-hand lift supplied by a manufacturer to be in good working order. However, because it’s difficult to know when this has been properly done, it’s best to buy reconditioned lifts from manufacturers or a well-established retailer. Ask for an assurance that the lift has been tested, for a full service history and a guarantee.

You may find that a company can offer you a discount or a cheap deal on a particular model. Usually, you have to sign up quickly to get this discount – think carefully about accepting a ‘special offer’.

Stairlift running costs

Stairlifts do not cost much to run in terms of electricity. For example, one manufacturer calculates that the annual cost, based on seven return trips a day, would be around £5 in electricity charges.

Note that there should be no VAT to pay on the purchase or installation of your stairlift, because products designed for and used by disabled people are zero-rated. For more information, see HMRC’s Notice 701/7 VAT Reliefs for disabled people (August 2002).”

Visit Rica’s website that has a wealth of well research and independent stairlift information.

Gary Lineker rides a stairlift

Gary Lineker finally gets his comeuppance for refusing to share his Walkers over the years in the crisp brand’s latest advert airing tonight (Thursday 26 March).

The advert sees Lineker take on the role of handyman, as he arrives to fix an elderly lady’s stairlift. As the sweet looking 91-year-old spots his secret stash of cheese and onion Lineker, once again, shies away from sharing and blocks her efforts to steal a crisp; however the crafty OAP has a plan b.

Of the advert, which ends with the Match of the Day presenter being catapulted out of a window, Lineker said: “I normally do all of my own stunts but for once I was glad I had a dummy double. Who would have thought that such a sweet looking lady would have the intention of throwing me out of a window, all for a bag of Walkers crisps? I think I have learned my lesson on sharing the hard way this time..”

Rachel Holms, Walkers marketing director, commented: “The Walkers ads are loved by the nation as they are tongue in cheek, funny and often the unexpected happens. This was a factor for us when thinking about the next campaign development. Pairing Gary with this fabulous lady and seeing the lengths she would go to get her hands on a bag of Walkers was a great dynamic that hasn’t been seen from Walkers before.”

The campaign furthers Walkers brand proposition – ‘How much do you love them?’ – and borrows humour from the Walkers ads of old. Courtesy of The Drum News

Couple donate stair lift to disabled boy

A couple have donated a stairlift to a disabled boy who would otherwise need his parents to carry him up and down the stairs.

David's new stairliftDavid Househam, aged seven, has the progressive muscle disorder Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He uses a wheelchair and his health will deteriorate as he gets older. David struggles with everyday activities including going up and down stairs and has to be carried by one of his parents.

His dad Nigel placed an appeal in the Boston Target for a stairlift and a cutting was placed on the wall of a chip shop. This was seen by Leasingham couple Raymond and Sue Duncan – who had stopped off for a fish and chip supper. They had a stairlift stored in their garage.

Mr Duncan said: “We saw the paper cutting on the wall and read it. It really touched us. We had bought a stairlift for my wife’s dad which sadly he never got to use so thought this would be a great cause to give it to.

“We are really pleased to have been able to help in some way and reading the article brought a tear to our eyes.”

The stairlift will provide a short-term fix until the Househam family, from Woad Farm Road Boston, are moved to a more disabled friendly property.

They were overwhelmed when they received the call about the stairlift. Mr Househam said: “We had to go and see the stairlift first to see if it would be appropriate and fit. It did which was great news. It really has helped out with getting David up and down stairs and we cannot express how thankful we are.”

Harbour Light Fish and Chip Shop in Mareham-Le-Fen has been fundraising for David and displayed the Target’s article on David on the wall in the shop. Owner Ian Wright said: “We started fundraising for David Househam when one of my regular customers who works at his school told us that he suffered from Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

“I put the article from the Target on the wall so customers could read what we were fundraising for.

The Househams are supporting Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Home Truths Campaign to highlight the severe lack of disabled friendly homes in the UK.

Campaigns manager Emma Lindsay said: “The generous gift of a stair lift will be a huge help to David and his parents, but this is only a temporary measure for the family who urgently need an accessible home before David’s condition worsens.

“People should not have to rely on the kindness of strangers for support, which is why the council and the Government need to address the severe lack of disabled friendly homes in the UK.

“As part of our Home Truths campaign we’re calling for all new homes so they are easy to adapt if people become disabled and ten per cent to be fully wheelchair accessible.”

Family Mosaic and Prestige Stairlifts

Prestige Stairlifts are now looking after all aspects of Family Mosaic stairlifts, from installation right through to repairs and servicing.

Home Improvements Agency is part of Family Mosaic, one of the largest housing associations in London, Essex and the Southeast. As well as providing affordable homes, they also provide complex support and care services to over 8,000 people, many of which help them to live more independently.

Their services offered include practical support, advice, adaptations, small handyperson jobs and information for older or disabled people.

Small changes can make a big difference to someone’s ability to live independently and Family Mosaic services aim to enable people to stay happy and healthy in their own home for as long as possible.

Stairlift campaign finds Alfie Peak

Alfie Peak's stairlift from Prestige Stairlifts

Alfie Peak’s stairlift

Prestige Stairlifts ran a campaign on Facebook to find someone that would benefit from having a stairlift installed free of charge. Thanks to overwhelming support for a local young man Prestige Stairlifts heard the story about Alfie Peak. Alfie was sadly left brain damaged after a brutal attack in Bexhill on Sea.

Alfie, a young father, left hospital for the first time in seven months on his 26th birthday after the savage attack which left a trainer print on his face. Once we heard the story and read all the compelling nominations for Alfie Peak, we had to install a free stairlift to help improve his life. His partner, Tanya White, wrote “I am nominating Alfie Peak! He was sadly attacked in July 2013 and sustained a traumatic brain injury which left him with severe brain damage. Alfie uses a power wheel chair to get around but has never been able to go upstairs in the house and has not ever seen his children’s bedrooms. I know Alfie would greatly benefit from a stairlift”. I think this also shows that stairlifts are not just for the elderly… a common misconception.

Stairlift installed for Alfie Peak

Prestige Stairlifts has now installed a stairlift in his home. Alfie will now be able to go upstairs and put his children to bed. Until now upstairs has been out of bounds. We are really pleased to be able to give something back to the community and install this stairlift for Alfie Peak and his family. Read more about Alfie’s story