The perils of buying online – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

News has broken this week of yet another example of a mobility-aid scam “doing the rounds” online. This should serve as a stark warning to people considering a mobility aid of their own – always buy from credible vendors with an offline presence that you can visit in person. Today’s tale features a dog trainer from Surrey, and a fold-up mobility scooter that has turned out to be entirely fictional.

On Monday, the Express published a story about Lu Candy, an animal behaviour specialist who runs a popular dog training school in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. Inspired by a friend, whose life had recently been revolutionised by her purchase of a mobility scooter, Lu decided to look for one herself. What she found seemed too good to be true – and, as often turns out to be the case, it was.

After searching for mobility scooters on Google, Lu was contacted out of the blue by a seller on Facebook. What was on offer seemed incredible: a fold-up mobility scooter for just £108.66. She jumped at the offer, telling the Express “I got an email back confirming the purchase and saying that they would be in touch when it was being dispatched. But then it all went quiet and there was no more contact.”

Lu paid a company that lists its address in Shanghai, China, through her debit card. It is important to realise that debit cards do not have stringent consumer protections in place – it is up to the card issuer to decide whether or not it should refund transactions like this one, which was clearly a case of fraud. Thankfully for Lu, and to its credit, Barclays Bank was quick to offer a temporary refund while she continues to pursue the cheat that took her money.

Lu is not the only person to fall foul of these particular scammers. Victims have made themselves known from Australia, the US, and numerous other countries. So, if you or someone you love is contacted online and offered a mobility scooter at a fraction of the standard price, please remember the old adage “buyer beware”. Sadly, the people that these scams are targeted at (and the ones who often fall for them) tend to be the most vulnerable people in our society.

If you, or a friend or family member, need a mobility aid, remember to always do business with a reputable company. That means having an active BHTA membership (you’ll find the logo on the bottom of our homepage) and a physical location (you’ll find maps to ours on our contact page). And remember – if you want a top-class service from a trained professional, Shire Mobility is only ever a call away. Just get in touch here.

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