Friday, July 23, 2010

The Wheelchair Runaround: Oh the Bitter Irony

A durable medical equipment vendor in Northern Virginia recently got to see a side of me rarely seen. (NO. Not that side...)

I am non-confrontational by nature. I was voted "Best Friend" by my 4th grade class. But if you try to dupe me or in some other way wind up on my doo-doo list, you will be rebuked. And if you try any of the above AND it involves my kids,'ve been warned.

All they had to do was replace a knob on the back of Isaiah's pediatric wheelchair (his "extreme stroller"). The knob attaches to the screw that attaches to the bar that keeps the seat upright or reclined. And keeps it street legal for bus use. They gave us a temporary, workable solution back in the spring. Told us the part would be available in 2 weeks. That was in March. What we've experienced has been a lot of empty promises, countless minutes waiting on hold, and a serious lack of decent customer service. All I wanted was straight answers.

It wasn't all about the knob. Well, not entirely. It was about a company, who provides equipment to individuals who very often can't speak for themselves ~ clients whose very day-to-day existence depends on the care and consideration of others ~ doing the right thing.

My son can walk, but he's not a safe walker--physically or cognitively. He uses his wheelchair EVERY SINGLE DAY. He uses it on the school bus during the regular school year and more recently, during the summer session. We depend on it. If it's not 100% in any capacity, that affects us all.

You would think a business that provides those services would realize that.

And for the most part, I have found they do. We've had nothing but positive DME experiences up to this point. I know it's not an industry-wide problem. Someone dropped the ball in our particular case (the original tech who evaluated the chair and was supposed to put the order in for part is no "no longer with the company"...) But I'm not going to give them the chance to drop it again. There are too many other companies out there who take pride in what they do. Who understand our daily struggles. Who see the worth of their work and what it means to families like ours.

The rep. I dealt with did call me back to apologize. (Earlier, J and I had inadvertently slipped into our Good Cop/Bad Cop routine on speakerphone. Can you guess who I was?) I refrained from rolling my neck and sucking my teeth, but I didn't mince words. It must have worked. The part will be in by mid-week--no charge.

For all that we've been through with this company, you'd think they'd throw in a uniformed technician to push Isaiah around for us for about 4 months ~ just about the length of time we've waited for the knob.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

You get them girl! That is just wrong. I hope the knob actually comes in and it all works out.