Why Shouldn’t I Buy a Used Stairlift? 4 Reasons You Need to Forgo Used Stairlifts Home owners who want to add a stairlift to their home are often tempted to check Craigslist and even eBay for used lifts as a way to save cash. This is not a good idea. At best, it’s a waste of time and money, and at worst, it’s completely unsafe, and someone could get hurt. The stairlift industry has had new and used lifts as options for a long time, but the used ones are carefully selected by trained professionals. Often, people buy a stairlift and only need it for six months to a few years. But it’s not as easy as just finding a used stairlift online and settling on a price. Here are four important reasons why you should avoid used lifts.
1. Your Stairlift Could be “Other” Handed
Take a look at your house. Which side of the stairs are you going to put yours? Some people need a righthand lift, but what if you bought a lefthand configuration? What if you have a door right in front of the bottom of the stairway? You can’t just switch sides of the staircase, because the rails are configured for either lefthand or righthand usage. There are some units that can switch sides, but they’re often very difficult to take apart and switch, unless you have a lot of experience doing so.
2. The Length of Rail May be Off
The length of a stairlift rail is usually 16 feet in length, and covers most residential applications. So it can be a real problem if the rail has been cut down. What would you do if you need 14 feet of rail, but you bought a 12 footer? The previous owner had a shorter staircase, so their rail was trimmed down to the right size. Stairlift dealers don’t often keep four-foot sections of rail in their warehouse. They just use 16 foot pieces as needed, so it’s not like you can call around for an extension. Besides, they’re all different sizes and styles. Even manufacturers will change their styles over time, so two rails from the same manufacturer can be completely different. Knowing how they fit and how to extend them is a big issue, and not one that can be tackled on a weekend project.
3. Did You Get All the Parts?
When the other person pulled the stairlift out of their house, did they get all the parts to it? All the bolts and brackets? Did you get the battery charger, or did they forget to ship it? What about that extra piece they had left over and stuck in the junk drawer for three years? What if that’s the most crucial piece for your particular setup? Unless the owner kept every manual and parts list, and has done a complete inventory of what they sent you, you have no way of knowing whether you have every part until you’re done.
4. Does It Even Work?
Even knowing whether the stairlift works at all is a big deal. If you buy a used stairlift from someone you don’t know, you’re buying their problem. Maybe they bought it used themselves and couldn’t get it to work, but they want to offload it. Or maybe it never worked quite right, and that’s why they’re trying to sell it. But they can just claim you damaged it or that it broke in transit.
Bottom line: You have to ask yourself, what’s the gamble in buying a used stairlift and paying only $1000 less for something that may or may not work, may not have all the parts or the right sizes, and may not even match your stair configurations. You’ll get an item that doesn’t have a warranty, doesn’t fit, might not work, and you’ll end up absorbing significant losses if it doesn’t work. Your best bet? Call the professionals at Country Home Elevator and ask for more information on a stairlift for your home.