We explain what to look for and check when buying a mobility scooter, from the price you can expect to pay to the right questions to ask before you buy.
Buying a mobility scooter safely
Pride, Sunrise Medical, Kymco and TGA are some of the best-known brands of mobility scooters in the UK. But rather than picking one particular brand to go for, it’s more important to focus on buying a scooter that suits you and your size, requirements and lifestyle.
If you’re buying from a specialist retailer they should come to your home to assess your needs, ideally bringing a selection of products for you to try.
Buying from a specialist means you might pay slightly more, but you’ll have the reassurance that you’re likely to be guided to buy the most suitable scooter for your needs. It’s wise to buy from a manufacturer or retailer that is a member of the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA).
Its members have to abide by a code of practice, approved by the Trading Standards Institute. This means they should not pressure you into buying or sell you something unsuitable for your needs.
Look for a BHTA certificate displayed in the company’s premises or the BHTA logo on their website. You can also check whether a business is registered on the BHTA website.
Shop around and try before you buy
Although there are many online retailers, when it comes to mobility scooters it is advisable to try before you buy – even if this means limiting yourself to a smaller range of models available to try out in person.
You can get a feel for different models by visiting your local mobility shop or a specialist advice centre, such as a disabled living centre or a mobility centre. You can also ask for an assessment at these places to help you find the right model for your needs.
When trying one out, make sure you can sit in a comfortable and stable upright position with sufficient leg room, and can easily reach the controls. Some of the seats on small scooters will be too narrow for larger body types, while some of the more expensive scooters will have adjustable seats and backrests.
As well as sitting on a mobility scooter, make sure you test drive it, too. Once you’ve found a model you like, you can always try to find it cheaper online, providing you are not in a rush to buy.
If you’re buying online, read all the instructions and advice carefully before buying, and consider getting advice if you’re not sure. Check that your scooter comes with a guarantee and an after-sales service.
Models should come with a guarantee of at least one year; some come with two or three years. You may also want to consider an extended warranty if one is available.
Mobility scooter prices
The mobility scooter market can be confusing as there are big variations in price, even when you’re buying new. For example, mobility scooters can be less than half the price when bought online, but there are drawbacks – for example, the price might not include assembly, servicing or maintenance.
Prices vary greatly depending on the specification of the model, but here is a general rundown of the average prices you can expect to pay for new models.
Pavement scooters (Class 2): £1,000–£2,000
Road scooters (Class 3): £1,500–£3,000
Dismantling boot scooters: £650–£1,500
Folding boot scooters: £1,500–£2,500
Don’t take the recommended retail price (RRP) at face value – most retailers display it as a price guide, but will often have offers or promotions, or sell way below it. Don’t be shy about asking whether there’s a deal to be done. If you’re concerned about the cost, you can also look into buying a second-hand mobility scooter or you could also lease a mobility scooter, such as through the Motability scheme, if you’re on certain disability benefits.
Ask the right questions before you buy
Find out about extra costs – such as buying batteries and servicing your scooter – before you commit to buying. Here are some key questions to ask before buying a mobility scooter:
Will I need to buy any additional accessories or does it come with everything I need?
How long will I have to wait for delivery?
Will the scooter be delivered fully assembled or will I need to put it together myself?
Will it come with instructions explaining how to use and care for the scooter?
Does the scooter come with a guarantee and after-sales service?
Are spare parts available for the model I have in mind and are they easy to get hold of?
For more help making the right decision, read our guide on How to choose the right mobility scooter.
Should I buy a second-hand mobility scooter?
Many people trade in their old models to part-exchange or upgrade to a different one, so you’ll see lots of second-hand and reconditioned models for sale in mobility shops.
This can give you some more affordable options, but expect to see a reduced warranty on them – around three months, say, as opposed to a full year. Read our guide to buying a second-hand scooter to understand the pros and cons of buying a used model.
Mobility scooter shopping rights
If you buy in a shop, you don’t always have the right to return the item – make sure you check the seller’s policy before agreeing to the sale.
If you don’t think your scooter is fit for purpose, then the Consumer Rights Act applies. Under this act, you have a right to reject goods that are unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described and get a full refund. But this right is limited to 30 days from the date you buy your scooter.
After the initial 30 days, you can’t demand a full refund in the first instance but you still have the right to a repair or replacement. If you buy a scooter online, you have additional rights to return the item. Read more about your online shopping rights. Visit our Consumer rights guide for more advice on your shopping rights.
How to avoid paying VAT on a mobility scooter
If you’re disabled or have a long-term illness, you may be eligible for VAT relief on the purchase of a mobility scooter. Many types of mobility scooter are zero rated for VAT for eligible consumers. Ask your supplier if the model you are interested in qualifies for this relief.