I mentoned the probelms with he FreeWheel.
Turned out that was only half the story. Here is the rest.
The FreeWheel is, as I mentioned before, a big wheel which can be clipped on to the front footplate of a wheelchair. It lifts up the little from castor wheels and allows easier access on rougher terrain - anything from a sports oval, a bush track, or yes, even the uneven footpaths. As soon as I saw one I knew I wanted one, not just for the easier access, but also so I could run with BooBoo.
When we chose her current manual wheelchair, the FreeWheel was part of the discussion from day one. The supplier knew I wanted one.
So quite how we ended up with a footplate that did not support the FreeWheel I will never quite understand. But then, surely, a solution could be found?
The chair was delivered in April. In June I started hassling the sweet lady from the supplier to sort this out. It proved complicated.
In the end, I was told they would work something out for me for $770. I said cool. And then the appointment to get it done never came. Turned out that the office had to send me a quote first, and after I paid some of that we could make an appointment.
So I told the lovely lady to get me a blimmin' quote. Which came two days later. And which I paid immediately, in full.
And then no appointment.
About a month later, the lovely lady came to explain to me why it was so tricky. Except she had neither a FreeWheel or a chair with the same and a different footplate to show me, so I have to say I still didnt quite get why it wouldnt work.
I mean, I get that BooBoo is small, and this means her footplate is quite high. So if you lift the chair up at the footplate it gets a bit, well, tippy.
But surely there was a solution?
Apparently not. And not for that price.
It was going to cost more. Not sure how much more.
But they were going to have to refund me my quote and get back to the drawing board.
What the hell?
When a company gives you a quote, they undertake to do the work for that price. That is how it works, right? Well, not in the captive market of disability equipment apparently.
To put it mildly, I got a bit cranky.
I send three messages asking where we were up with that "drawing board". I asked if this was going to happen or should I go elsewhere?
I got no reply.
So although the lady is really very sweet, and I like her a lot, I cut my losses on this one.
I went and found someone else who supplied he Freewheel in Australia.
I came across a company called "Specialised Wheelchair Company". They supply the FreeWheel. And they have people working for them who can screw in nuts and bolts, and can weld if needed.
I took BooBoo's chair this morning. Two hours later I got to pick it up again.
The FreeWheel is on.
All it took was half an hour of creative thinking and an hour of labor fitting two bolts on the footplate and some minor adjustments.
So here it is.
And guess what?
Total cost (wheel and labor) was $750.
All done in two hours and twenty bucks cheaper! And I still have not heard back from the original supplier.