Electric scooters have been increasing in popularity for children and adults. Scooters and the elderly are like partners that is why they always had a large market among the elderly. Unlike the trick-performing scooters that are popular among teenagers, or the maxi-scooters that help a number of people commute across the city, Elderly scooters help senior make senior citizens’ lives easier.
More like a Cart
More like a cart than a scooter, these devices consist of three to four wheels and can be found at major supermarkets around the country. For many pensioners with arthritis or mobility issues, these scooters are an excellent way to travel. They make it easy to go outside for fresh air, and they certainly help with shopping.
A bit expensive?
However, many advocate groups are worried that the elderly are being taken advantage of with high prices. These low-powered, electric scooters can cost upwards of $9,000, which is more than some high-powered, gasoline powered maxi-scooters. This is exactly why some watchdog agencies in the United Kingdom are pushing for stricter regulations regarding the sales of elderly scooters.
However, retailers argue that the pricing is fair in a free market. With the number of elderly citizens growing rapidly, the price of scooters is adjusted to supply and demand. This begs the ethical question: is it okay to gouge the elderly for money? Many government representatives are against this, and are looking at implementing laws to protect seniors from being taken advantage of.
Safety Regulations might be a Problem
Another problem is safety regulations. Mobility scooters are not classified in the same manner as touring scooters, so they do not need to adhere to the same safety rules and regulations. This has created a demand for cheaply made, off-brand scooters that can be dangerous.
What actually makes a good mobility scooter?
A huge problem with these scooters is the disparity in prices. Because of a brand name, users can pay thousands of dollars more for essentially the same machinery. While a functional mobility scooter can cost $1700, people can expect to pay as much as $8000 for premium versions. However, these premium versions often have minor, cosmetic differences.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT), Britain’s government watchdog organization designed to keep the market fair and balanced, has criticized two popular mobility scooter retailers for price gouging. The two companies, Pride Mobility and Roma Medical Aids, have been accused of limiting customers’ access to affordable scooters. The OFT found that prices could be inflated as much as $5000 in some cases.
Citizens are unhappy with their options
Many elderly and disabled citizens are unsatisfied with the unethical practices of some scooter companies. In many cases, scooters are being marked up as much as 200%. To make matters worse, a lot of the scooters are poorly made, and may not even last a full year without needing repairs.
Until there are official laws in effect that protect vulnerable citizens from blatant exploitation, governments need to look at other options to limit fraudulent practices. One solution would be to subsidize reliable scooters with an elderly healthcare program. Another option is to help educate consumers on which companies are reliable, and which are fraudulent.