Stair Lifts

Does anyone have a stair lift - have you had trouble with it? Whose lift have you got?

I had an Acorn double curved lift fitted on Jan 3.

The chair had to be replaced with an earlier model immediately and since then I have had another 7 visits from engineers, who repair it and leave it working, but usually after a couple of hours of charging it goes wrong again, sometimes (like yesterday) immediately, once or twice after several days. The uncertainty's driving me and my wife daft.

The thing cost as much as a small car and when it goes wrong I'm virtually trapped on whichever floor I'm on.

I've just told them to take it out & refund my deposit. I will join MBNA into the case as they're jointly & severally liable for the quality of the product.

Your experience & advice will be really valuable.


28 Replies

  • Good god, we were thinking of having one fitted next week. My sons brother-in-law works for Acorn as their fitter and he was going to come and give us a price for it. We have a straight-forward staircase so thought it would be easy.

    I will, if you want me to, copy and paste your message and send it to my son and he can have a word with his brother-in-law as I don't suppose for one moment they want their products running down, they may be able to do something for you quickly and sort your problem out. If you want me to, just send me a message and I will do it, and if my son asks for more information I can get in touch with you and you can email my son or brother-in-law direct.

    Just give me a nod. I don't know where you live and it may be a different area fitter altogether but at least I can try.

  • Hi Sweetthing. The supposedly top engineer in the area (I live in Gloucester) came up from midwales at lunchtime. It seems that one or other engineer did not fit a cover properly so that allowed electrical connections to work loose, and that burned out a fuse. The cover was definitely not put on properly - I saw that. I gave them another last chance and now the lift is charged and has just worked ok. I've said I won't pay any more until the thinhg has worked flawlessly til the end of the month. If yours is a straight staircase it will be simpler, take up less room, and be cheaper. By all means copy anything I've said to your son - it may malke them monitor your installation closely - which is what they say they will do to mine now. Frank

  • Hello Serenityfrank, I had a stair lift fitted via my local council and had numerous problems with it breaking down, not charging, etc. Fortunately it was on hire so after not getting satisfaction from the company (handicare) I asked the council to stop paying the rental charges. The chair and all fittings were immediately replaced and I have had no trouble since. It seems from talking to others in Yorkshire that there are "rogue" chairs but the company is loath to replace them until it has to. Good luck.

  • Hi Auntymary. It seems there are only three actual manufacturers but the stairlifts are sold by lots of agents. As I write the lift has been repaired with a plausible explanation by a senior engineer, but I am in the middle of a confusing conversation with a customer service rep who has just rung to say they want to change the chair again. Thanks for you good wishes - I'm going to need them. Frank

  • Hi. This is my first post although I've been 'lurking' for quite a while!

    I had to break silence to highly recommend Bespoke Stairlifts based in Yorkshire 01484516777 because they are amazing!

    About 18 months ago they made and installed a specialised curved unit within four days and were by far the cheapest as well as super-efficient.

    I had one panic when it stopped working but they sent an engineer out promptly (it was just the battery within their guarantee period so no charge) and, touch wood, it has worked perfectly ever since.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Jude in Worcs

  • Hi Jude. Thanks for your reply. Acorn stairlifts themselves are based in Yorkshire and supply 70% of all the ones in this country it seems under different brand names. The senior engineer who came today said a previous engineer had done something wrong, so I've given Acorn 1 last chance. 5 minutes ago it was working. Fingers crossed, eh? Frank

  • Hi Frank.

    That's really good news and I'll definitely keep my fingers crossed for you!


  • Hi Jude. Just gone wrong again. Aaaaaaaaargh

  • Oh Frank nooooooo.

    If that's the senior engineer's result, it certainly explains the previous engineer's incompetence!!

    Whatever it is, it certainly ain't good enough when we depend on these things for daily life. Hope you can sort it pronto without more aggro.


  • tell them to replace as not fit for use get tradeing standers on to it or your o therapist you

    don't need all this although is good to get support from other people if you don't they will keep

    blameing each other

  • To continue the saga, they have said they are going to replace the chair itself & the electronics, but it has to come from Yorkshire (and I think how much I liked Scarborough) so in the meantime I have an engineer downstairs right now trying to get it working yet again. We have a man here to quote to make us some vertical blinds - I think the engineers must be blind men too! Frank - past incandescent fury - now building towards a volcanic explosion

  • Hi Serenityfrank, you should not be going thro all this, you need to be able to rely on your stairlift. I am so sorry you are having problems. If I were yoou I would be asking them to take it away and replace it with another. You do not say whether it is new or secondhand. if it is secondhand then I am sorry but as I discovered when I shopped around for mine, that secondhand is not best as you basically pay and take your chance. If it is new then it is obviously faulty. You mention charging?? Is your stairlift not plugged into the mains permanently?? I used Age Uk and there pricing was very good and I have not had any problems, in fact I recommended them to a friend and received £50 as a thank you for the introduction. Good luck, hope you get this sorted out soon. Oh by the way you mentioned MBNA - did you buy it with your credit card? if you did tell MBNA and they should help you too. Maximonkey

  • Hi Maximonkey and serenityfrank

    Can I just say that Age UK make quite a good profit on these (they don't make them themselves) so that's why they can afford to give "commission" ... I found this out when I was investigating which one to buy. It annoyed me because I thought Age UK was a charity but they make money out of the people they purport to help! Is my cynicism showing?.


  • Hi gbjb, you may have good reason for saying this about Age Uk but I can only speak for myself. Age UK gave me a good deal on my stairlift via Handicare. Handicare said I needed a sliding rail as opposed to a fixed rail and charged me £1791 which was a very good price compared to all the other large companies who quoted over £2,500. The Building inspector who can to sign off the fitting of the lift said I did not need a sliding rail and offered to phone Handicare for me, they later refunded the cost of the rail making the cost £1391. I had been quoted this for a secondhand stairlift so I was well pleased. Take care. Maximonkey

  • Hi Maximonkey

    I'm really glad you got a fair price in the end but someone had to intervene to prevent you being overcharged by £400 ... that's the sort of thing that makes me so cynical and one of the reasons I prefer to give work to small companies.

    My house is an old timber frame with a wide curved staircase and the stairlift was purpose built at £1700. A straight one was around £1200 from memory but then I'd have had to walk the last five stairs. (Lucky I didn't go for that!)


  • Hi gbjb, so glad you managed to get a good deal. You are right that the intervention came from a third party, however, Age UK was the cheapest at the time. I take your point about using local labour, I too always try to use locals, however, no-one in my area would make a stairlift. By the way your house sounds gorgeous. Good luck, Maximonkey

  • Hi Maximonkey, thank you - the house is lovely but far too big and expensive to run in my state!

    I didn't use locals as there weren't any here either just a small firm and quite frankly I don't know how they could do it at the price - Yorkshire to Worcestershire is a fair trek but it sounds like we both did well ...


  • Thanks Maximonkey.

    They are replacing the chair and electronics as soon as they can get it down from Yorkshire.

    If that doesn't work reliably I have told them they will have to remove the whole installation, compensate us for 40 holes in new stair carpet, and refund the deposit.

    Yes, I paid for it on my MBNA credit card cos that makes them jointly & severally liable so should ensure the money - it's the squandering of my patientce, tolerance, expectation and short renmaining life I object to.


  • hi Serenityfrank

    i had a acorn stairlift fitted 3yrs in june, it has had a few problems, and i was surpried when we had a years check on it the fitter stayed 10mins, not long after it went wrong another check was done but this time he was there an hour, its been fine since last june.

    i think you are entilted a redund so good luck


  • Hi Thatcham.

    The saga continues - I think they've possibly sorted out the chair I've got, and now they're putting in a new one on Friday.

    I have noted all the faults on the one I've got and I'll make them check out all those areas on the new one.

    Maybe I'll have as good an experience as you then.

    Otherwise, out it goes.


  • Good luck Serenityfrank, I know it is disappointing when something goes wrong but hang on in there and I hope the new stairlift is AOK. Take care Maximonkey.

  • Hi Maximonkey

    Thanks for your good wishes - though I'm afraid they were in vain.

    The new stairlift worked beautifully for two days, building up my hopes. Such bliss to get to the top landing with breath in my lungs!.

    Then it committed suicide - a finger guard became stuck instead of sliding, bent horizontally and ripped the casing of the chair.

    I intended to throw it out immediately. Against my better judgement I have been persuaded to swap this lift for two staight ones with a gap in the middle, next tuesday.

    If you're not aleady bored (I know I talk too much) I'll let you know what happens.


  • Frank please please don't let them mess you around any more.

    The firm I recommended specialise in curved staircases - that's why I chose them otherwise I would have had to have two straight with a gap which was going to cost more than the custom built curve plus the joy of two of them potentially going wrong!!

    Good luck and don't allow them to browbeat you. By the way, I have no connection with the company just that they really impressed me - they installed the same week as quoting me!


  • Hi qbjb

    The irony is that one of my sons does work for the company you recommended - who don't manufacture their own stairlifts (as I understand it) but pay one of the manufacturers to manufacture & install

  • Lol - how hilarious! Sorry I went on about it so long, Frank, you should have said something before - they had me totally fooled as they installed it literally 3 days after I ordered it!

    Anyway, none of it matters as long as you end up with a good working stairlift ...


  • To tell you the truth I didn't think about Age Uk when ordering the stairlift. And in any case I think Acorn's salesman lied through his teeth a lot when he was here.

    My wife & I are lousy negotiators, at least half way open to scams, cowboy builders etc! And yet one of the first things I learned when I had to study contract law for a year, long ago, was "Let the buyer beware".

    Well I don't have to be perfect!

    I guess you've heard this so many times it must be a pain, but one of the joys of correspomding with you is that, when I read the signature, I hear one of my favourite songs in my head. Sorry to be tiresome.


  • I wouldn't use Age UK as I said - commission hmfff - and I can't remember whether I bothered with Acorn.

    Except in emergencies, one of my imperfections is that I hardly trust anybody, which leads to indecision!!

    You are NOT tiresome and it's not even a pain when others do the "Hey". Anyway,I think you should sing out loud, ending with a chorus of "All You Need Is Love"!

    Music and laughter are great healers.


    Any luck yet??

  • They fitted the new tracks and chairs on Tuesday.

    Would you believe they sent 1 engineer to do a 2 man job, and even then the tracks (pre measured by the last engineer) were each 8 inches too long and had to be sawn off by hand! Good job they weren't 8 inches too short.

    I finally lost it with Acorn and played hell with the customer services supervisor - told them I wanted compensation for their incompetence and the stress of the situation. They agreed that they needed to discuss compensation if we had the two weeks free of breakdowns & I came to pay the balance.

    So far things work. It's far more difficult having to fold up two chairs (cos they obstruct the stairs instead of resting on the landing), and walk adross the landing to the second chair. I know that sounds like whinging but strangely it is a lot more tiring. I might try to get them in to loosen up the tight hinges while I've still got the chance.

    Hopefully all the trouble will have now gone away. Oddly I've just put down the phone on a call from MBNA (credit card) assuring me that they would help if we had more trouble. That's comforting.

    Jude, I hope my next post will say "all well - working splendidly). You never know.


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