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.