Thank you so much, I'm so glad I found this before embarking on my quest to find a chair for my mother-in-law. (in 28 reviews)
I bought a Hoveround instead of a Jazzy because they spoke so much of their customer service. (in 8 reviews)
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My mom purchased a hoveround in June 2014. Supposed to be brand new. It has been one problem after another. The batteries will not stay charged, the technician didn't even know how to change them out. Twice I have had to change the batteries and show the technician how to replace them,"(the same technician each time). All he does is stand around pretending he is talking on the phone with technical support, smacking gum and blowing bubbles, (how much more rude can you be) smelling like he smoked a pack of cigarettes. Both of my parents suffer from copd so the smell of cigarettes smoke along causes them to start wheazing.They have also had joystick problems not covered under the warranty. My father recently fell and is in icu because the chair failed to work right and he had to push it to get my mom out of it safely. Hoveround response "we hope he gets better." That from the vp of marketing. They refuse to repair the chair, they say that the batteries and the joystick aren't their responsibility to replace. And they practically dared me to sue them. Really, there is no customer service, if you call technical support they put you on hold until you hang up. If you are considering buying one don't you will regret every minute of it. Unless you are paying out of pocket then they still will not help you but they sure will love your money. I hope the corporate office at hoveround is proud of "their product". From what I have read on here not too many customers are proud of their purchase, service or technical support they get.
First off, I have to say that I have had my Hoveround for 2 years. In that 2 years the chair has been a lifesaver for me. No problems as so many others have complained about, but I just got a flat tire, and here's were my headaches start. When the guy delivered my chair, he told me that they would service the chair for as long as I owned it, GREAT! Now I need service, so I call them and the customer service guy tells me "we don't send a repairman out to fix flats, there time is too valuable, but they will sell me a new tire and I can fix it myself!" That would be okay except I cannot walk (which is why I have the chair) so why can't they do what they promised to do?
So now I have to wait for the wheel & tire to come from Florida, then I have to find someone to come to my house to fix the chair. If they didn't lie to me in the beginning, I wouldn't be upset! So beware! You may have to do your own repairs on your chair!
DON'T LIE TO YOUR CUSTOMERS. . .IT'S NOT GOOD BUSINESS
Maybe I've just been lucky and got a chair that was made on a contented worker day. I love my Hoveround and have had only one small problem with it. It's 14 months old and has had medium usage. Something squeaks that sounds like bushings that if it gets worse I'll have to have it looked at. Here's a note for people about to get one. Get hard rubber tires that you don't have to air up.
My mother purchased a Hoveround electric wheelchair new and was told by the salesman that she had a full one year guaranty that would cover any repair on the machine. One of the tires went flat after only using the machine a few times. It was never ridden outside only on the carpeting in her assisted living center. After two months, multiple phone calls the company said that the tires were not covered under the warranty and that she would have to pay for the part and pay for the service call if she wanted the chair repaired.
I wish she had consulted me before buying this chair. She paid in excess of $4,000 for this chair and has only been able to use it a few times. Taking advantage of seniors like this unconscionable.
Paid 4 thousand out of my pocket for the mp5, i used the chair 6 times if that, now it wont power on i called hoveround and they said its the batteries or an electronic issues and i would have to pay for it my self 100.00 an hour or if its the batteries 200.00 for each one instead of helping people that need it they just rob you 4000.00 takes me a while to save i didnt have insurance and needed a chair should of just stood in bed buyers be ware
This is the second time that the chair has broken down. I was on hold with a so called tech that made my blood boil. 2 hours on hold and nothing resolved but making me lose my temper. Never again and I will tell anyone who asked that this chsir is the worst thing that can happen to you.
My mother purchased a Hooveround mpv 5, I begged her not to as patients I transport gave them the worst endorsement. She was convinced by the saleman that this is the only mobility chair medicare would pay for. After recieving it she used it twice to go to the mail box, nearly tipping on it's side going up the driveway curb (the chair would not go up/over it str8 away and had to be approached at an angle) my step father and I tried it to varify her claim, it started to tip on me, fully tipped on him (wieght ranging between 150-165 lbs). Hooveround had no explination for this poor designed, but did try selling a different model, naturally medicare would not assist with payments. Mom swore she would lay in bed till the day she died before she ever got into that "Hoover Junk" again, which she kept her word. I have it now, my step father kept it in great mainance, in hopes she would change her mind and use it, even replacing the batteries as for some reason, even with proper care, the die, no ryme or reason. I have used it once and it drained the new batteries taking me from my sofa to my bathroom, apx 50 ft. Hooveround service only wants to sell a new chair, refusing assistance as I am not the origanal owner. Took it to a scooter store, they informed me they don't repair them and veiw the Hooverounds as disposables. Mom was right, Hoover Junk...
VERY USER UNFRIENDLY.
DOES NOT HOLD CHARGE. TOGGLE SWITCH OPERATION IS AWKWARD AND NOT EASY TO CONTROL.
OVERPRICED, TOO HEAVY TO MOVE IF POWER DIES.
WISH I HAD READ THE REVIEWS BEFORE WE BOUGHT.
DON'T EVEN THINK OF TRYING TO GET RID OF IT IF YOU WANT TO SELL.
BEST BET! GIVE IT TO SOMEONE WHO LOVES MECHANICAL THINGS.
IT TAKES THE PRECISION OF A LASER SURGEON TO OPERATE AND IS A BIG NUISANCE TO KEEP CHARGED.'
THE RAMPS TO ALLOW ENTRY AND EXIT ARE EVEN MORE UNMANAGEABLE, ESPECIALLY THE LONG RAMP THAT FOLDS FOR TRANSPORT. NO HANDICAPPED PERSON COULD SET IT IN PLACE OR FOLD IT UP.
LOOK FOR A SCOOTER THAT IS EASIER TO MANEUVER AND HAS ;HANDLE BARS OR A DRIVING WHEEL. DOWN WITH TOGGLE SWITCHES.
TO END, THESE WERE THE GOOD POINTS ABOUT OUR HOVEROUND. THERE IS NOT ENOUGH ROOM TO WRITE THE BAD POINTS HERE.
Hoveround has FANTASTIC techs. If you've Medicare or Medicade they have to approve EVERYTHING, sadly it takes longer than We would like. When calling it sucks that we can't deal directly to a tech but a call center. If you get a good tech he'll provide his work cell. My TECH is Ed and he's gone far above any beyond to tend to me.
I don't understand all the negative comments on here. I have a hoover round and have never had any problems with it what so ever. I used it on my farm to get around and went up and down hills on the grass and never had one problem getting anywhere on it. The battery life is also amazing.
My elder mother called Hoverround and ordered a chair based on TV advertisements promising mobility and freedom. The chair was problematic from day one -- a lemon. Within the first three years, the chair was out of service more than in service waiting on parts or installation of unavailable parts. Service was agonizingly slow. The chair was never fit to my mom -- she was a danger to herself and to others. She was large and when seated in the chair it was top-heavy. The turning wheels in the back, combined with the joystick to steer and propel it was a very scary thing. When she was on a sidewalk that slanted or was narrow she was at risk for losing control and tipping over. In the elevator car she ran over others feet (mine) and crushed my daughter against the wall as she tried to turn herself around because the chair turns from the rear which is unnatural unless you are in a boat. What a stupid design for a chair that will be driven by someone who is already challenged. I felt like I had no recourse once the chair was delivered. DO NOT BUY A HOVERROUND. This chair gets a negative 100 $tars.
My father has a jazzy pride -- now there is a chair to trust.
I will not give Hoveround another thought. Their service is beyond terrible. They shipped my mother the wrong model, would do nothing about it, so it sat in her home for a year and a half gathering dust. Their motto should be "Customer No Service and We Don't Care at All" What a poor excuse for a company and the morons who work there. They seem to have a racket with the insurance companies and get paid before the machine is delivered. It's like paying for your meal in a fancy restaurant before you eat it. The entire episode was a waste of time and money and shame on the company and the people who work there. They must be taught to be indifferent. Maybe we could start a class action lawsuit against them or at least have the government investigate them. (I guess that would be like putting the fox in the henhouse) In a nutshell THEY SUCK and do not waste your breath or time with a useless company who should be in jail. They are on my list of the most hated company I have ever dealt with and I used to be a purchasing agent.
I am a disabled male who can only use one side of my body hoverround is nothing but a run around hide behind excuses the chair they brang me has been messed up since i got it told them the first day i got it something was wrong with it fast forward 2 weeks and it wont turn on wont do a thing the tech checked it said it was defective yet here it sits in my kitchen doing me no good i asked for a new chair to replace it since i have had it less then a month and they are making me jump threw hops to get anything done at all the service of this company is not worth a damn and the techs dont seem to know much i think this company needs to be shutdown
Tip for consumers: Go else where do not give your business to hoverroundAsk denis about Hoveround
My review isn't about Hoveround, but about this site. Thank you so much, I'm so glad I found this before embarking on my quest to find a chair for my mother-in-law. I had seen all the commercials on TV and Hoveround was what I was planning to look into. That WILL NOT be the case now. I will look elsewhere.
A two year old hoveround chair requiring major maintenance raise quality control issues, however, hoveround service is non existence. After 8 calls, not one representative was able to confirm or deny what the other 7 representatives said. It is therefore a fair statement to say that customer service for customers who paid for their Hoveround's is non existent as well. Horrible service and equally horrible customer service once you pay.
Tip for consumers: Save your sanity: look for a different type of a chair.Ask Michael about Hoveround
After purchase support and service is non existence.
DO NOT BUY!!!!
I wish I could go lower than one star but...I have been waiting over 4 months for service on my scooter. Each time I call, I have to wait forever to get a tech on the line and when I do talk to one, it is one excuse after another (we're waiting for the part, we have to get insurance ok first, etc.) But if I want Medicare to buy me a new wheelchair...well we can certainly help you with that! My scooter is over 6 years old and needs repairs and I don't want a wheelchair. I want my scooter fixed!!! So far one tech has been out and had the wrong part. A second tech said they were ordering the part. This started back in April and it is now July. If I could send Tom Cruze, the CEO, an email, I'd let him know how horrible his company has been. Don't buy a Hoveround if you can find an alternative.
you will be sorry if you buy a hoveround and need service. not only will they come, they won't pick up the phone when you call them.
I have been combing the web for a wheelchair for my mom and came across the Hoveround. At first viewing it seemed like a good fit for her and I liked that it doesn't have that wheelchair look. The light grey would not stand out so much in a house that is light in color. I called the company to ask some questions and the person on the other line was very helpful, only I could detect a little strain in her voice. I then did further research and came upon a site showing reviews of former employees of the company and was disgusted by what I read. I really want to support American made products and was happy to see that they are made in the USA. But having said that apparently the company treats it's employees rather poorly. I know that I am only one person, but based on what I saw, I have decided to go elsewhere. There is no need for this kind of treatment, when you will get so much more out of people when you treat them like part of a team.
IF YOU HAVE A HALF OF A BRAIN DON'T GET A HOVEROUND WHEELCHAIR
My husband became disabled this year. He suffers from heart/lung ailments. His medical ins. denied our request to get a scooter. So, we paid for it ourselves.
We just received it and he just loves it. I was not pressured to get any one Hoverround over another. I knew what I wanted and got it. The scooter will give him more quality of life instead of sitting at home with no quality of life in his pjs I would highly recommend Hoverround, and their service. The only improvement I could suggest to Hoverround is to improve their scooter manuals to be more complete in their scooter information. Otherwise, BRAVO HOVERROUND!!!!
I have the HR mp5.---It is horrible to maneuve, they have the turning wheels in the bsck. How would you like to drive your car with the steering wheels in the rear?
Did not appreciate the quality of the customer service when I called Hoveround. Would look for another electronic wheelchair provider.
Hoveround eh? Well its more like "run around" when they need service. The company people are nice but can never get anything done except billing on time. Multiple repairs over 5 years and the dealing with HoverRunAround and the insurance company is unbelievable. If you want an exercise in patience or need a way to get your blood pressure up just talk to them about service needs. Prices are incredibly high and while they are very pleasant to deal with they still tell you no. Then when finally service is scheduled the repair people set their own darn routes and days. Avoid this HoverRunAround company like the plague. Any other scooter must be better!
HOVEROUND IS BEYOND HORRIBLE!!! Nice to begin with. They didn't measure me or anything. Just got the OK from Medicare, then out came a chair and they dumped it into my house. I never even plugged it in because I didn't know how. That's when I realized this company is SCAMSVILLE, USA! One day after delivery I filed a FRAUD CHARGE WITH MEDICARE! Because MC was renting it for me for 13 months, Hoveround took SEVEN WEEKS to pick it up and collected Medicare money while the chair sat there untouched. I told Charlie on delivery day 'IT DOESN'T FIT ME!!!" My legs were too long and the seat was too tight. It was NOT measured to fit me. The day after they Hoveround retrieved the chair, I met with two PTs and my doctor, and they all filed for a proper wheelchair made to fit. I have a scoliosis, pulmonary fibrosis, two new knees, a replaced neck and four rotator cuff surgeries, not to mention one fused wrist. Now I'm being taken care of by Travis Medical and they've wasted no time. FOR GOD'S SAKE, DON'T GET ANYTHING FROM HOVEROUND, MOST ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE ELDERLY AND IN REALLY BAD NEED OF A WHEELCHAIR. They never even showed up to change, fix, or correct anything as promised. And if you have one and want to send it back to H, DON'T SIGN ANYTHING!!! BEWARE THE FINE PRINT, FOLKS!! Scammed majorly by Hoveround and to think I believed it to be a reputable company!!! It definitely is NOT!
All I have to say is "don't buy a Hoveround". It would take me a day to write the problems we have had and it started a month after my husband received it. The company will tell you one thing and never follow through with it including you not having to pay for parts they said you wouldn't have to pay for. They lie and don't care if they leave a handicap person in stranded.
I AM 78 AND HAVE A LEFT BELOW THE KNEE AMPUTATION AND AM UNABLE TO WEAR A PROSTHESIS. MEDICARE AND MY SUPPLEMENT INSURANCE BOUGHT ME A HOVEROUND A LITTLE OVER A YEAR AGO. TWO WEEKS AGO I EXPERIENCE TWO FLAT TIRES. I CONTACTED HOVEROUND AND AS TODAY I AM STILL GETTING THE RUN AROUND.
EACH TIME I GET A DIFFERENT STORY FROM THEIR REPS. THE DOCTOR HAS NOT CALLED, THE DOCTOR HAS NOT SENT BACK THE PAPERWORK, WE FINALLY GOT THE PAPERWORK AND ARE SHIPPING THEM TODAY (THAT WAS LAST THURSDAY) AND THEN TODAY(A WEEK LATER) THE DOCTOR SENT BACK THE PAPERWORK BUT A REQUIRED NUMBER IS MISSING. THE GIRL WAS VERY POLITE BUT STATED SHE COULD NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DOCTOR MESSING UP SO I TOLD HER I WOULD CONTACT THE DOCTOR MYSELF. SURE ENOUGH THEY HAVE NOT TALKED TO THE DOCTOR AND THE PAPERS THE SENT TO THE DOCTOR HAD BEEN FILLED OUT AND FAXED BACK THE SAME DAY THEY RECEIVED THEM.
THEY ARE FLAT OUT LYING AND I FULLY INTEND TO CONTACT MEDICARE AND MY INSURANCE COMPANY TO COMPLAIN.
MEANWHILE I AM DOING WITHOUT MY HOVEROUND AND HAVE SPENT MONEY TO FIXED UP MY FIVE YEAR OLD CHAIR TO USE IN ORDER TO GO TO THE BATHROOM AND FIX MY MEALS. I HAVE NEVER HAD A FLAT ON THE OLD CHAIR (WHICH IS NOT A HOVEROUND) I HAVE COPD, HEART TROUBLE AND CANNOT USE A REGULAR WHEELCHAIR.
I WOULD NEVER RECOMMEND HOVEROUND TO ANYONE.
I FOUND HOVEROUND HELPFUL AND ASSISTIVE DURING THE APPLICATION PROCESS FOR GETTING A POWER WHEEL CHAIR. HOWEVER, ONCE THE CHAIR WAS DELIVERED, THEIR FRIENDLINESS AND ASSISTANCE CEASED. ABOUT 6 1/2 WEEKS AFTER DELIVERY, I FOUND THAT ONE TIRE WAS FLAT AND THE OTHER HAD LESS THAN HALF THE REQUIRED AIR. THE TECH PERSON AT THE COMPANY TOLD ME THAT IT SOUNDED AS THOUGH THERE WAS A FAULTY SET OF WHEELS. THE COMPANY OFFERD TO SEND ME TWO TIRES BUT THAT I WOULD HAVE TO PUT THEM ON MYSELF. I REMINDED THEM THAT I GOT A CHAIR BECAUSE I WAS HANDICAPPED AND THAT I COULD NOT SIT ON THE FLOOR TO FIX THE LOW LYING WHEELS. HE TOLD ME TO HAVE MY ELDERLY WIFE FIX THEE TIRES. SHE IS NOT ABLE TO DO SO. THEY TOLD ME TO HAVE A FRIEND OR NEIGHBOR FIX THEM. I POINTED OUT THAT THE FAILURE OF TWO TIRES WITHIN 7 WEEKS OF DELIVERY OBVIOUSLY SUGGESTS A PROBLEM WITH THE PRODUCT AND THAT THEY SHOULD FIX IT AS THEY PROMISE ON TV COMMERCIALS AND IN THEIR LITERATURE. AFTER SEVERAL CALLS TO SEVERAL SUPERVISORS, THEY REFUSED TO FIX THE TIRES. I CALLED MEDICARE'S COMPLAINT DIVISION RELATED TO PROVIDERS OF "DURABLE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT" (THE CATEGORY TO WHICH POWER CHAIRS BELONG) AND THEY ARE BEGINNING AN INVESTIGATION. I STRONLY SUGGEST THAT ANYONE WHO HAS A PROBLEM WITH THIS COMPANY OR ANY OTHER COMPANY WHOSE PRODUCTS ARE FUNDED BY MEDICARE CALL THE MEDICARE COMPLAINT NUMBER AT (800)MEDICARE (800 633 4227.) IF ENOUGH PEOPLE COMPLAIN TO MEDICARE (YOU MAY CALL THEM ONLY IF YOUR EQUIPMENT WAS PAID BY MEDICARE) THE COMPANIES WILL BE FORCED TO PROVIDE REASONABLE SERVICE OR THEY WILL BE DROPPED AS A MEDICARE PROVIDER.
I have a neighbor that has a Hoveround. He is completely dependent on the chair. He got a flat tire on 11/21 and called me. I looked up Hoveround and found they have flat free tires for $50.00. I called the number and after going through 5 or 6 different options, finally got a live person on the phone 5 minutes into my call.
I ordered the tires and asked them if they were in stock. They assured me that they will ship the next morning. Today is 12/4/12 and no tires. I called Hoveround and again taking 5 or 6 minutes, get a live person. They do not have have my name in the system. I give them my confirmation number, they cannot look it up by that number. transferred to billing........ Billing finds my receipt and confirms that is was indeed ordered 11/21/12 but never shipped..... transferred to customer solutions.... "Hi this is Ben" I tell Ben that I have a neighbor that is dependent on a power chair and I ordered new tires for him on 11/21 and I have not received them. Ben apologizes. I tell Ben I need them now. Can they ship them overnight so I can have them tomorrow? Ben states; " Sure, no problem. I have to clear that, can I call you back" I tell him that my confidence in them is rather low and I prefer to wait. He assures me that it will only be a few minutes, read back my phone number and told me he would call back. I have now been sitting by the phone 2 hours, where are you Ben?
i have a bariatric XHD model i bought used and the chair itself is great.
it has gobs of power and carries my 450lb arse anywhere. the company
on the other hand sucks, their tech support dept has no clue and has
consistently given me wrong information. you can call with the same
question 3 times and get 3 different answers. their web page says free
shipping on all accessory orders over $50 but they continually try to
charge shipping AND tax when medical items are tax exempt.
I was dealing with the Scooter Store to get a new power chair (mine is broken). They were SO helpful, but they're outside our insurance network. My insurance told me I would have to go through Hoveround. I'm hearing & reading nothing but horror stories about them. Seems that the chair itself is hard to use, the batteries last just 6 mos., and their customer service is actually UN-customer service. This site just reinforced that for me.
I currently have my third Hoveround. Two bought by insurance and one that I bought. (I am responsible for maintenance on that one. ) On the first one service was great! The next one was a different story. The Service Reps. (not the technicians) are rude and condescending. They act as though "it's us against them", like you are trying to beat them out of something.
For example: After eight years of depending on a power chair, I am familiar with symptoms of weak batteries; short life and long recharge times. For one thing the newer batteries are inferior and therefore the cheapest they can provide. If I get stranded by failed batteries I have to call for assistance. The Tech practically accused me of working the system.
Judging by the charges that I see on my Medicare and BC&BS statements, they are the ones working the system. But they can blame it all on Medicare......
I,ve had my chair fro 4 yrs. When I called for a replacement battery, I was told I have to pay 162.00 deductible,129.00 for the battery, plus the service call. Where is the "no cost to the customer"? I,m on retirement, not the executive secretary to Donald Trump!!! Apparently Hoveround doesn't care about the disabled consumer to whom they are alledgedly supposed to be concerned about. With them, it's all about the cash, not the customer!
Hove round is a racket, Before there changes with medicare. My chair was paid for and I had a receipt to prove it. The chair is slow. The lift cost me over 2200.00 its not designed for someone that has back trouble etc due to the ramp one must lower to drive it on manually.. The batteries are expensive and according to my manual they are warrantied for 6 months. Well mine where going bad, requiring charging everyday to go no where. The batteries are expensive. And its a propitiatory item. Like everything else. W/O good batteries the lift won't work as well. I was fortunate my morphine pump worked, had no need for chair or lift. I couldn't give it away, did give the chair away with the lift. The chair was at no cost and the lift was 800.00 in excellent condition, took months to sale it. Chair is designed with a fuse if wheels start to spin and if that happens your dead in the water, It stops!. I had to change tires to gain traction. This company makes its money on the back side. Not when its bought. Customer service is a joke. Would not advise anyone to purchase this chair. Also if you vehicle can't handle the tongue rate. you have a problem almost 300 lbs. My truck was not designed for that tongue weight, not to mention, at the last moment I was told I needed a C rated hitch, and blocks to compensate for weight.On leaf springs. Not a good thing on brakes or the terrible ride. Gas cost jumped as well. I have a friend in the medical retail business and he can't move the lift, at reduced price and its brand new. Something to think about.
I have a Hoveround that literally collects dust. After several times using it I had to stop. When riding it on the sidewalks, the slightest bump gave me severe back pains. The Hoveround Has No Way of obsorbing Any shock. What I don't understand is; Why does the Government approve a product like this. Whoever designed this product certainly did not have safety and compfort in mind. For those of you intending to buy this product I warn you---DONT
If you happen to get a hoveround chair, at least on the "MPV4" to make the seat recline, on the left side (as you are sitting in the chair) at the hinge for the back of the chair there are 4 drilled & taped holes. If "your" chair does not recline, remove the stop screw in one of the holes. Thats It!. It'll now recline. Hoveround wanted $500. to remove that screw 5 years ago. Of corse they won't tell you what's needed to make it recline.
I bought a Hoveround instead of a Jazzy because they spoke so much of their customer service. I have had my hoveround for a little over a year and the battery went dead. I have been trying to get someone from Hoveround to replace my battery for 5 days now, and no one has yet to come. Keep in mind that I cannot walk. I have had to have people come and bring me meals, help me to the restroom, etc. Hoveround said my insurance wasn't responding. I called my insurance co.... Hoveround had never contacted them. So I called Hoveround back and explained that situation. They then said they were waiting for my dr. to return their call. So, I called my dr. You guessed it, Hoveround had never called them, either. So, I had my dr. call Hoveround. And I am still waiting. Not sure what the excuse will be tomorrow. My advice to you is to steer clear of Hoveround and buy a Jazzy!
This is a personal experience of this company - others may well have had great experiences and no problems whatsoever, so don't necessarily be guided by my comments, just be careful and be informed.
We applied to this company for a wheelchair for an elderly relative whose insurance is Medicare. The company told us to arrange a "face to face" with the doctor, who would then write up a report indicating whether he felt the patient needed a chair or not. We were told that Medicare would then approve the chair, or not, and we'd be informed.
After the face-to-face, everything went quiet for a few weeks. There was no contact from Hoveround at all. Then suddenly we got a phone call telling us that they needed to make a couple of adjustments to the chair and that they would be delivering it the next day. Well OK then, that was great but we would have preferred to have been kept informed in the meantime. Never mind though, because we did have the chair. I just had one comment for Hoveround, while they were apparently setting the chair up for my relative's specific needs: I pointed out that a major problem was with hand-eye co-ordination, due to a slow but progressive condition which left his hands unsteady. That was apparently noted.
The following day, the chair arrived with a guy who explained it's workings to our relative and allowed him to try it out. I was not expecting the chair to be so difficult to steer, which the basic model is; the steering wheels are on the back, rather than the front, so steering it and even keeping it in a straight line is not immediately intuitive. It's more like steering a boat than a car. And my relative found it to be difficult too, unsurprisingly, but he did give it a good try and overall we felt he would likely get the hang of it, though his hand control of the joystick and his co-ordination were poor to begin with.
While he was there I commented to the delivery guy/ rep about being told the previous day that they were "adjusting the seat" especially for the user. He was surprised and observed that the seat was fixed and no such adjustment was possible. He said he'd look into it and get back to me. And that was the last we ever saw of him.
It soon became apparent that although my relative was slightly able to control the chair, the very sensitive joystick combined with having the steering wheels at the back combined to make it a difficult experience. Also the seat (allegedly made for him) was so uncomfortable that his back was hurting after about 20 minutes.
Hoveround state that: "Your doctor and our Mobility Specialists will recommend a motorized wheel chair or electric mobility scooter that supports your lifestyle and physical needs."
FACT: The doctor hadn't dealt with Hoveround before and didn't know what they wanted from him. He hadn't seen their products and wasn't in any position to recommend a particular model. Their "mobility specialists" had no part whatsoever in choosing the chair - Medicare tells them which model to supply, i.e. generally the cheapest one. They have no say in the process, or so they later admitted to me.
LIE #2: Hoveround state that "A motorized wheel chair comes with a variety of options that allow you to recline, automatically adjust your height and more."
TRUTH: Nope. The chair had no automatic adjustments for height. It did have the option to alter the angle of recline of the back, but only in big steps and that required using a special tool - it was not possible to adjust the seat while the user was in it, and the users themselves would be unlikely to have the strength to do the job anyway.
LIE #3: Hoveround state: "You will be spending a lot of time in your new electric wheelchair and you want to make sure it fits properly, so that it can be as supportive and comfortable as possible. Our Mobility Specialist measures your torso, hips, arms and legs to create the perfect seat height and distance between where the small of your back meets the back of the chair. We also measure your home's doorways and hallways so that you can maneuver easily through your home."
TRUTH: Nope. None of that. Though we were shown how to adjust the arm to alter the distance of the joystick from the body.
Well we did give it a try. We went outside in it a total of three times, and got it a way up the street and back. About half a block was enough, before the backache and tiredness set in, and it still wasn't easy to keep the chair moving in a straight line, but there was a little progress. We couldn't use the chair in the home, because although it would just about fit through the doorways, my relative didn't have the fine control needed to carry out that manuever. Even I had trouble getting it through a doorway because the steering control was so touchy and unintuitive.
So what happened was that the chair went into a corner and was never used again. Months passed.
Then out of the blue, we got a letter telling us that Medicare had denied the claim. Pardon? We'd been told that the chair was ours, it had obviously been approved. No? NO. Everything on the Hoveround website is designed to give the impression that the steps needed are these, in order:
1. Get a doctor's approval in a face-to-face assessment;
2. Do the insurance paperwork and see it through;
3. Deliver the chair.
In fact the sequence is:
1. Get a doctor's approval in a face-to-face assessment;
2. Deliver the chair, without revealing that it hasn't been approved by anyone;
3. Bill Medicare for it;
4. Hope Medicare approves it. If so, fine, if not, tough. Recover the chair.
I have to say that at (4) I assume there is the possibility of appeal, because the rejection letter comes from the appeals department at Hoveround. But when I contacted them, very annoyed that they had misled us into assuming the chair was ours, I wasn't offered the chance of an appeal. I didn't even think, I was that upset. So I said, oh well, I guess you'd better come and collect the chair then, and the person at the other end just said, fine, I'll put it out for collection. No "well hang on a moment, you do have the right of appeal".
The reason cited for the denial was that in the face-to-face, the doctor had failed to correctly document the conversation. This isn't too surprising given that he didn't have any guidelines from Hoveround or Medicare to work with. So it wasn't our fault at all. But all Hoveround would say was that we would have to go back to the doctor and start the process over again.
There are other layers to this story as well.
During the time we had the chair I contacted Hoveround and spoke to someone in their technical support department about the difficulties we were having steering the chair. I'd done a little research and found that other chairs in their range steered from the front, which looked more appropriate. This person tried their best to be helpful but ultimately said that any issues with the suitability of the chair had to be taken up with the sales department, and that it was unlikely that they'd be keen on offering us a different model even if it were better.
Before I got round to doing anything else I got a customer satisfaction survey through the mail. I made several comments about our disappointments with the chair and the lack of customer service, and mailed it back. Nobody ever contacted me about this.
Also, I got a phone call from someone at Hoveround doing another customer service survey, and I explained at some length that the chair wasn't being used and why not, and how we really wanted the opportunity to try another type of chair. This girl then told me that there were no such chairs in the product range and what chairs there were, weren't suitable for my relative's weight. I then told her, as I was sitting at the PC looking at the site at the time, that she was completely wrong about everything she'd said about Hoveround's product range. She then admitted that she'd probably been given old information to work from. Did she actually work for Hoveround? Oh yes. But the sales people hadn't given her up-to-date material. So she promised to pass on my request for attention to her supervisor and that was that. Literally, that was indeed that - I heard nothing whatsoever from Hoveround again, until the letter telling us that the chair had been denied by Medicare.
Bottom Line: Terrible customer service with no after-care and no communications. No opportunity to ask for a specific model of chair or try out different models in the range. Misleading information everywhere about the Medicare process. No interest shown in trying to get the best model for the patient's needs.
I suspect that if you go to this company with money to buy your chair, everything improves enormously. And if you get a savvy doctor who knows how to manipulate Medicare, that's going to be a big help too. So you may well get much better service than we did. BUT ... even so, our experience shows what this company is capable of, even if it doesn't happen to you.
And remember, Hoveround don't bill Medicare until AFTER you've got the chair and become attached to using it. If you think their website intentionally implies otherwise, then you may draw your own conclusions.
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