OFT to investigate mobility aids industry

OFT to investigate mobility aids industry

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is going to investigate the market for mobility aids such as wheelchairs, stair lifts and adjustable beds.

Retailers of the equipment, usually sold to those with a physical disability or older people, will be investigated after numerous complaints received by the Consumer Direct advice service.

The investigation will look into whether consumers are treated fairly and well informed and if the industry is competitive.

In 2009, almost 5,000 complaint calls were made - a 20 per cent increase on the previous year - and concerns about the sector have been raised by the media.

John Fingleton, OFT Chief Executive, said: "Increasing complaints and the wide nature of the concerns make it appropriate for us to examine this sector and consider whether there is potential for improvements on a consumer or competition level, or both."

He added that the OFT was eager to carry out market research to confirm key issues before embarking on the work.

The UK mobility aids industry was thought to be worth approximately £500 million in 2008.

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