Consumer

Silver van - Wheelchair accessible vehicle

WAV – What Is It And Why has It Improved My Independence?

WAV – Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. A vehicle you can drive from your wheelchair, internal transfer or be a passenger. I have a WAV and it has improved my independence to the point I no longer have to depend on my husband to be my personal chauffeur. Where can you get one? How much are they? What adaptions can I have? I will do my best to answer all of these questions and many more.

What Is A WAV?

Wheelchair accessible vehicle with ramp deployed

A WAV – Wheelchair accessible vehicle can be a van, caddy or some other type of vehicle big enough to take a wheelchair user inside. Myself, I have a Ford Transit Van. My van has room for my electric wheelchair and 4 passengers.

There are many ways a wheelchair user may travel/drive a WAV. To my knowledge, you have:

  • Wheelchair user as a passenger – The wheelchair user is a full-time passenger in the vehicle and someone else drive the vehicle.
  • Wheelchair user internal transfer – Wheelchair user transfers from their wheelchair into the driver seat to drive.
  • Drive from wheelchair – The vehicle is adapted so the wheelchair user may drive the vehicle from their wheelchair.

WAV’s can be adapted in many different ways to suit the wheelchair user, hand controls for driving, six-way driver seat, ramp, floor locking device, too many to mention. This is something that needs to be discussed with whoever you are getting the vehicle from.

Where Can I Get A WAV?

The main place would be Motability, (if you are in receipt of DLA/PIP high rate mobility). They are the most knowledgeable about WAV’s unless of course, you go directly to a WAV company.

Me? I was at a Motability roadshow a couple of years ago and saw Motability Operations (separate from Motability) there and spoke to them to get more information about how one would go about getting a WAV. I spoke with a wonderful man who took the time to talk to me and explain things. There were two main criteria’s required:

  1. In receipt of DLA/PIP mobility high rate.
  2. Working or volunteering, which warranted a vehicle.

As I met both requirements, I was able to go ahead with an application if I wished. I went home to think things over.

What Adaptations Can I Have?

When applying for a WAV, you will meet with a person who will discuss with you what your needs are and then talk you through what they can offer you. Truly, there are tons of different adaptions that can be made to a vehicle to enable you to drive. Just to name a few:

  • Pedal Modifications
  • Hand Controls
  • Seating Adaptions
  • Wheelchair Stowage Solutions
  • Vehicle Access Solutions
  • Drive From Wheelchair Conversions
  • Electronic Step Access
  • Space Drive
Six-way electronic seat on runners

The list is truly endless and it is mind-blowing the things that can be done. Personally, my van has rear ramp access, a 6-way driver seat, a floor locking device to lock my electric wheelchair while I’m either a passenger or driver, a button push handbrake and automatic gears.

The image on the left shows my driver seat on runners. This allows the driver seat to be operated electronically, it can go backwards & forwards, up & down and rotates left & right to allow me to transfer into the driver seat.

How Much Does A WAV Cost?

This really depends on how you go about getting a WAV, with Motability, you can get one (if you are accepted) on a lease scheme for 5 years, check out their website for more in-depth information. If you go directly to a WAV company, there, you can look into both used and new WAV’s to purchase. Here are a few companies I found that sell WAV’s (please make sure you do your research in what best suits your needs), I am not responsible for any third party links I have supplied: Also if purchasing privately, you will need to arrange for your adaptations to be done by them (if they do adaptations or a third party company). The more you need to be adapted, the higher the price will obviously be.

Brotherwood – Based in Dorset
Gowrings Versa Mobility – Berkshire & West Yorkshire
Automotive Group – Newcastle Upon Tyne
WAV Compare – Directory of WAV dealers

What Is The Process?

I went through Motability Operations for my WAV. Once I had filled in the necessary forms and these were accepted, someone came to my home to discuss my needs and go through what could be done, adaptions wise. The pandemic started shortly after this adding some time to the overall time period. In total, it took approx a year from filling in the forms to receiving my vehicle.

I had to also apply for a grant to pay for all the adaptations needed. I had to wait to find out if I had been accepted for the grant before anything could move forward. Once approved, I test drove three different WAVS (not all at the same time). When I was happy with my vehicle choice, work got underway to adapt it to my needs.

These are called stages 1 & 2, this is where (I think) two different companies work on the modifications needed. One company deals with the lowering of the vehicle floor to allow for the ramp entry and the electric driver seat, while the other company deals with tie-downs, electric handbrake etc. This is where the process can take some time. The more that needs to be adapted, the longer things will obviously take. Due to the pandemic, this did indeed take quite some time for me.

The vehicle is brought out once or twice so they can measure up tie downs, wheelchair floor clamps etc. This is exciting as you get a sneak peek into what your WAV is going to look like.

Once all the modifications are complete and everything is as it should be, you get the official handover and the WAV is now with you for the duration of however long your contract, lease etc maybe.

Final Thoughts

Since receiving my van, my independence has soared. I no longer have to depend on my husband to take me places and my husband no longer has to strain his back getting my heavy electric chair up and down ramps in and out of the car boot. So I would say a win all round.

One thing I will say though, a little warning so to speak, I didn’t account for the sheer size of the vehicle. It took me some time to feel confident driving such a big vehicle, this is something to bear in mind when making a choice on the vehicle you want/need.

If you liked my blog, leave a comment below. If you would like to work with me, or if there is anything you would like me to blog about, don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

Family room not accessible to disabled families

Hotels Don’t Offer Accessible Family Rooms, Is This Discrimination?

Hotels Don’t Offer Accessible Family Rooms, Is This Discrimination? – Accessible holidays are already far and few between, it’s hard enough to find hotels that are “fully” accessible. Yet, this is made even harder if you have a family. Hotels, for whatever reason, do not offer “family” accessible rooms, yet provide family rooms for able-bodied families. By not offering these room types, disabled people with families are forced to book extra rooms.

The Equality Act 2010 suggests this is direct discrimination. So I’ve contacted 10 of the most popular hotel chains to find out why this is the case. My findings are below.

Family Rooms

Hotels Don't Offer Accessible Family Rooms, Is This Discrimination? - Long hotel corridor.

As a full-time wheelchair user myself, when booking a room I need a fully accessible room, however, I also have a daughter who travels with us. Now, finding an accessible room is difficult enough, especially when holiday companies claim to be “fully wheelchair accessible” and then you look at their pictures and find they tell a whole other story. Or worse, you turn up and only find out then. Yes, both have happened to me.

Hotels do not offer any “family” accessible rooms (well, none that I have found) for disabled people and yet have no problem in offering family rooms for able-bodied customers. Why is this I wonder? Do hotels already feel they have given enough floor space to accommodate disabled people? Or do they believe it to be impossible for disabled people to have a family of their own? Both are abhorrent thinking!

I recently visited family in Wales (I’m in London). We booked a room with Premier Inn. As they are one of the hotels that do not offer accessible family rooms, our daughter could not stay in our room. Luckily, other family members were visiting with us, therefore, we were able to book a family room for them and have our daughter in with them. This begs, the question, what if my other family members were not travelling with us? What/where would my daughter go?

When you are disabled and have a family, being forced to book an extra room for your children is not only a parent’s worse nightmare but this can make a family hotel room “double” in price. With new Government rules/regulations around school term holidays, can you imagine how much this would cost at peak times? A hotel stay (1 room) can jump from approx £600 to £1200 for a few days stay. I wonder what non-disabled customers would say about this if they had to pay for two rooms as family rooms were not offered? I’m sure they too would have something to say about it!

Contacted Hotels

I contacted the above hotels all on the same date (10/7/21) asking if they do in fact offer accessible family rooms, my email:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am contacting you today to enquire about family wheelchair accessible rooms.  As a full-time wheelchair user, I find accessible rooms are far and few between as it is but accessible “Family” rooms seem to be non-existent!  Why is this? 

When booking a hotel room, I am unable to find any accessible family rooms. This means I am forced to book a second room just for my daughter.  This then makes my hotel bill double in price.  This is not the same for able-bodied customers as hotels seem to offer plenty of “family” rooms that are not classed as “accessible! 

This puts disabled people with families at a major disadvantage compared to able-bodied families, both financially and physically.

I am writing to enquire if any of your hotels offer wheelchair-accessible family rooms.  If not, do you have any alternatives in place, like offering a second room at a reduced rate or even for free?   Do you have other alternatives are in place if not, how do you let your disabled customers know this?  If you do not offer wheelchair-accessible family rooms or any alternatives, what is the reason for this?

I look forward to your reply.

Hotel Responses:

Premier Inn – I found Premier Inn to be the most helpful and most willing to help, they say: “We are able to add additional beds into our accessible rooms to make them into family rooms upon guests request. Where this isn’t possible and we aren’t able to accommodate guests in one room we will offer a second room for free and will always try to make this an interconnecting room to the accessible room.” 

Since receiving their reply, I have booked a room where they have said an extra bed will be put in their accessible room at the hotel I am staying at. So fingers crossed, all will go well. So far, they have done what they say they would.

Travelodge – “Thank you for contacting Travelodge.

At Travelodge we take our commitment to equality of access very seriously. 

We do give great consideration to the accessibility of our hotels and make every effort to make reasonable and practical adjustments to support the varying needs of our customers.

Having adopted and complied with well recognised national standards we consider that we are meeting our obligations to disabled customers under the Equality Act 2010.

Whilst facilities offered across our locations do vary due to the age and type of construction every consideration is given to accessibility and should you ever want details of the provision at a specific hotel this can be obtained from the hotel itself. For example accessible rooms in our newer properties are equipped with walk in wet room showers.

The Bed base from the ground is 25cm
Bed base and the mattress together is 49cm
The Bed fully made is around 52cm  

I hope this helps”.

Best Western – No response!

Ibis Budget/Styles –Thank you for reaching All Accor Live Limitless Customer Care support. First, I truly apologize for the inconvenience. I am coming back to you following your request regarding wheelchair-accessible family rooms. I am not able to reply directly, so I have allowed myself to forward your email to the ibis Fes hotel which will take care of your demand. They will return to you as soon as possible“. I’m still waiting

Novotel – No response!

Holiday Inn – No response!

Britannia Hotels – I contacted the hotel directly in wales as I was looking to book here for a few days, (until I read the reviews). This was their reply:

Thank you for your message.
The Grand Hotel in Llandudno has 2 accessible rooms which have 2 single beds in each room. These rooms have walk in showers with a small step into the cubicle. Unfortunately, we do not have any rooms that have a wet room.
If you would like to book please contact Reservations on 0161 923 0300 and then will be able to give you rates and check availability.

Kind regards

So this is what they call accessible: These rooms have walk in showers with a small step into the cubicle. Not wheelchair accessible then!! Glad I wasn’t staying here.

Marriott – They responded with a brush off but at least they responded I suppose:

Thank you for contacting Marriott Bonvoy™ Customer Care. It is my pleasure to assist you today.
Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused and I can certainly understand your frustration.
Please call our reservation line toll free, 24 hours a day at 1-888-236-2427. One of our dedicated associates will be happy to help you with your upcoming travel”.

Hilton Doubletree – No response!

Ramada – “Thank you!  We’ve received your message.  We will respond within 24 – 72 hours.  We are currently experiencing a higher than normal volume, your patience is greatly appreciated.”

I’m still waiting!!

Hotels Don’t Offer Accessible Family Rooms, Is This Discrimination?

Family room not accessible to disabled families

According to the Equality Act 2010, they say this:

“What is direct disability discrimination? (changed)

Direct discrimination occurs where, because of disability, a person receives worse treatment than someone who does not have a disability. This provision is intended to stop people being denied a service, or receiving a worse service, because of prejudice”. 

“What is discrimination arising from disability? (new)

Discrimination arising from disability occurs when a disabled person is treated unfavourably because of something connected with their disability and the unfavourable treatment cannot be justified.  Discrimination arising from disability is different from direct discrimination. Direct discrimination occurs when a service provider treats someone less favourably because of the disability itself. In the case of discrimination arising from disability, the question is whether the disabled person has in practice been treated unfavourably because of something connected with their disability”.

So, the question is, are disabled people receiving worse treatment than non-disabled people if hotels are not offering accessible family rooms? If the hotel offers no alternative for a disabled family and they have to book an extra room because of this treatment, then I believe the answer is most definitely has to be a yes! But, if an alternative solution is offered, then direct discrimination has not taken place.

Are disabled families treated unfavourably because of something connected with their disability? I believe yes! Why? Because as a non-disabled person, you have multiple options available when booking a hotel room, single, double, suite & family. Disabled people have one option, Accessible! So when travelling with your family, how do you cater for them if the hotel won’t offer anything more than a standard accessible room?

What reasonable adjustments do you have to make for disabled people? (changed)

Service providers are required to make changes, where needed, to improve service for disabled customers or potential customers. There is a legal requirement to make reasonable changes to the way things are done (such as changing a policy), to the built environment (such as making changes to the structure of a building to improve access) and to provide auxiliary aids and services (such as providing information in an accessible format, an induction loop for customers with hearing aids, special computer software or additional staff support when using a service).

When a hotel refuses to offer an alternative solution, they are in breach of the Equality Act 2010! Simple as that!

Further help

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is the statutory body established to help eliminate discrimination and reduce inequality. It will issue a statutory Code of Practice explaining in more detail the law in relation to service provision and discrimination. It also produces a range of material providing practical guidance on how to comply with the law. www.equalityhumanrights.com 0845 604 6610.

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Shaw Academy: False Advertise & Steal Your Money!

Shaw Academy False Advertise and Steal Your Money. They offer you a 4-week FREE trial on a course and then once you have signed up for that course. Take your money immediately! Now, I don’t know about you but if I’m offered a 4-week FREE trial, my expectation would be to try that course for 4 weeks. If I was happy to continue with the course, then pay the fee required. Is that fair to say? Not to Shaw Academy, it’s not!

What Are You Offered?

Shaw Academy:  False Advertise & Steal Your Money! - Shaw Academy's advert for courses

Shaw Academy (an online learning company) advertises on Facebook many courses with a 4-week FREE trial. SA advertise on their website: £49.99 per month but FREE for 4 weeks, a button to click to “start your FREE course” and most importantly…….NO COMMITMENT!! The trouble is, this is a blatant lie.

My husband (Jeff) signed up for one of their course on the premise that he would be able to try part of the course for 4 weeks and if happy, then pay the fee advertised £49.99 (as shown in the image).

Once Jeff had signed up though, £49.99 was immediately taken from his bank account! He contacted Shaw Academy straight away to find out why. He got no reply. Hubby tried several times with no response whatsoever!

I did some research and found a customer services number. It was an automated telephone line! The result of phoning this number was being told by a robot, to cancel your account.

The Scam!

Shaw Academy false advertise and steals your money by advertising a 4-week FREE trial to nearly any one of their online courses, therefore, once you have signed up, they take money from your bank/card etc. When you try to contact them, they just ignore you!

If you cancel your account, you are sent emails confirming your cancellation and assuring you you will be refunded and no more money will be taken…….IT’S ALL LIES!!! There is every possibility SA will just reactivate it again, enabling them to take even more money from you.

While researching for a SA customer service number, I came across a Facebook group where there are tons of other people who have also been scammed by Shaw Academy.

Facebook Group Original Shaw Academy / Scam Academy (no Shaw employees). The group shows how people have had hundreds of pounds stolen from them by Shaw Academy, also, how closed/cancelled account has magically become active again.

What Can You Do?

Shaw Academy's free trial T&C

I can only comment about what we had done. I posted my questions all over social media directed at SA asking why they scammed 50 quid out of my husband. Commented on any post I saw by SA warning people to steer clear! I did this daily, several times a day.

In the meantime, we contacted Paypal to get a refund under the “item not as described” consumer rule. They explained to us that because Jeff had cancelled his account, this was not possible. Had Jeff had not cancelled his account, they could probably help.

This was disappointing, to say the least. If you have unauthorised money taken from your bank, the first thing you’d do would be to cancel the account? Yes? How would you know NOT to cancel the account if you want Papal to help?

Anyhow, I kept on emailing the company explaining the consumer law and how they were false advertising and misleading their customers. Quoted to them their own terms & conditions (image above). I may also have mentioned if Jeff didn’t receive a full refund, we would be going to the relevant authorities. I posted similar on social media repeatedly until we eventually got a reply informing us Jeff he would get his refund.

Shaw Academy T&C

1. Your Shaw Academy membership may start with a free trial. The free trial period of your membership lasts for 28 days, unless otherwise specified, from the time of initial registration or as otherwise specified during sign-up and is intended to allow new members and certain former members to try the service. You will be notified during sign-up whether you are eligible for a free trial.

2. We will bill any Payment Method provided by You for your 28 days membership fee at the end of the free trial period unless you cancel your membership prior to the end of the free trial period. To view the 28 days membership end date of your free trial period, visit our website, log into your student account and we will tell you how long you have left in your My Courses page.

3. Free trial offers unlimited access to our courses for a period of 4 weeks. You are able to purchase optional digital content in form of certificates or course material, not a subject to free trial.

They do spell it out very nicely! It is probably one of the worst things a company can do……Not follow their own terms & conditions. You know immediately, the kind of company you are dealing with.

Conclusion

Reading the horror stories on the Facebook group of other customers who have been scammed by Shaw Academy, we are keeping an eye on Jeff’s account as it is possible his account may suddenly become active again and more money taken.

Jeff got his refund but what a fight it was to get it!

I can’t stress this enough, Facebook ads are more often than not, not worth risking dealing with. Too many are scams, poor quality goods. They may seem cheap monetary wise but by god, they are expensive in your time! The time needed to fight when things go badly wrong!

Another point to remember…..ALWAYS READ THE TERMS & CONDITIONS and any reviews you can find BEFORE parting with ANY money!!

If you liked my blog, leave a comment below. If you would like to work with me, or if there is anything you would like me to blog about, don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

Cazbarr signature that flashes on off
Victoria Secrets logo asking if 24 inch waist is plus size?

When does a waist size 24″ become “Plus Size”? When Victoria Secrets says so!!

Supposedly, Victoria Secrets believe a 24″ waist is a plus-size – Barbara Palvin has a waist size of 24″ and social media has gone mad complaining that VS believe her to be a plus-size model? Is it just me or is this a very frightening situation? If true, what message is this sending to our children, how does this affect people who already struggle with their weight? Should the fashion industry take more responsibility?

Angry With The Fashion Industry

Victoria Secrets says 24" waist is a plus-size - Barbara Palvin - Victoria Secrets new angel with 24 inch waist

I have struggled with my weight most of my life due to my disability, more so, since becoming a full-time wheelchair user over 15 years ago. When shopping for clothes or nice underwear, I don’t want to be made to feel ashamed of my weight or body shape, simply because the fashion industry tells me I am not what is deemed pretty, or the correct size.

When fashion companies come along and tell me that a woman who has a 24″ waist is “plus-size”, I get very angry and feel extremely let down by that company. I walk away from that company, rather than be enticed to spend my money on their products.

(source: Barbara Palvin model profile).

Who gives them the right to tell us (consumers) what is deemed beautiful? I always believe beauty is in the eye of the beholder! We all have our own idea of what beauty is and the fashion industry is trying to make beauty tunnel-visioned!! The fashion industry should be the one place that is inclusive to ALL, not discriminatory and negative! After all, EVERY single person in the world wears clothes, so why exclude potential customers because of weight, size or anything else?

The fashion industry has the power to change perceptions about beauty. It has the power to show that everyone is beautiful and unique in their own way…….Remember “United Colours of Benetton”?

Open quotation marks in black

During the mid-90s and early noughties, United Colors of Benetton was arguably one of the world’s most recognisable fashion brands. Both famous and infamous, the striking visuals of their adverts (at times entirely bereft of any reference to their products), political posturing and diverse roster of models made them influential in both fashion and pop culture.

Close quotation marks in black

Source: https://medium.com/@yomiadegoke/united-colors-of-benetton-blazed-a-trail-for-diversity-in-fashion-a61746de0517

This shows just how powerful the fashion industry can be when it wants to be!

24 Inch Waist Is What??

Can you imagine, you’re a 25-year-old model, you spend every day working extremely hard to keep your body in great shape. You get your dream job and then you are advertised to the world as “plus-size”? Allegedly, that’s exactly what Victoria Secrets have done to Barbara Palvin. It’s alleged they have claimed Barbara Palvin is their first “plus-size” model.

Open quotation marks in black

Barbara Palvin might have recently received coveted Victoria’s Secret angel status, but already her new gig is attracting some controversy. Says Elle Australia. But a Facebook post sharing the news has received mass criticism for labelling Palvin “the first plus size Victoria’s Secret angel”.

The post, on the ‘Superficial Doll’ Facebook group, attracted more than 16,000 comments, with many followers wondering what exactly constituted “plus-size” in the VS realm given Palvin was nowhere near a typical plus-size model’s measurements.

Close quotation marks in black

“If she is plus size I’m truck size,” one commentator joked.

Source: https://www.elle.com.au/news/barbara-palvin-plus-size-20122

If that isn’t bad enough, this tells anyone with a waist size greater than 24 inches that they are FAT!!!! Un-bloody-believable!! Any company that I feel are dictating to me what I should wear, look like, behave like, etc. I am much more likely to walk away from that company than spend my money with them.

When you are telling me that 24″ waist is plus-size, then I’m horrified. I won’t spend my money with a company that makes me feel like I’m enormous. Why would they deserve my money over a company that supplies lovely clothing for the larger lady? Just not logical to me.

I’ve contacted VS for their opinion (waiting on their response, I doubt they will respond), I will keep on until I get a response though. We deserve to know their thoughts on this matter, don’t we?

No-one, especially a company that makes money from fashion has the right or authority to decide what is/isn’t beautiful and push that idea onto consumers, certainly, NOT VS.

The Damage

Many years ago when my weight was at its all-time high, we had booked a holiday, I needed a couple of evening dresses, so I searched and searched. Could I find any dresses that were in my size? Not bloody likely and if I did, they looked like sacks or rags.

I became so depressed, I felt enormous, undervalued as a person. The fashion industry made me feel so low about my body shape/size, I actually considered not going on my holiday.

I also have a 16-year-old daughter who is aware of her appearance and wants to look good. She is what I would class as on the thinner side wearing size 8-10 clothing. When companies advertise skinny women claiming them to be the “perfect size/physique” I am mortified.

My daughter already says she is fat and these images are doing nothing to help her feel confidant about her appearance! There is enough body shaming on social media as it is, the fashion industry should be addressing this rather than adding to it!!

I am furious at how the fashion industry is so behind the times. People are not all one size like the fashion industry models, people are not ALL under a 24-inch size waist. You have tall people, short people, disabled people, young people, old people etc. etc.

I am shocked at how bad buying clothes is right now. You shop for a particular size, in one shop that size is too big, another shop, that size is too small….What the hell is going on?? Surely, a size 16 skirt should fit the same wherever it is purchased from? The fashion industry is cheating its customers!!

Why won’t the fashion industry pull itself into the 21st century and adopt an ALL-INCLUSIVE industry suitable for the very people they want as customers?? It makes no business sense to me. Yes, I know each company want their own style/brand but they could be doing a lot more!

More Info

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White outlined wheelchair in shopping mall

Online Christmas Shopping During A Pandemic As A Disabled Person

Online Christmas Shopping During A Pandemic As A Disabled Person – On the high street as a full-time wheelchair user, shopping is difficult at the best of times. Throw in Christmas and it is a whole new ball game. Being in a pandemic and lockdown leaves me no other choice but to buy online! Do I prefer this to doing my shopping on the high street? What did I find to be the best and worst parts of shopping online for Christmas gifts?

I hate high street shopping at any time of the year. People, access, stupidity all add stress to what should be a normal part of my life! If you are an able-bodied person reading this, how many times in one shopping trip have you NOT been able to gain access to a shop because of steps? How many times have you NOT been able to browse around a shop due to clothes rails being so tightly packed together they hit your shoulder causing severe pain? Gone to a counter to pay and been ignored because the counter is so high you are NOT seen? Exactly!! I can experience each of these EVERY TIME I go shopping.

Benefits of Shopping Online

There are many benefits to shopping online.

  • It’s stress-free.
  • You can visit many different websites at the touch of a button.
  • Browse 1000’s of products in a short space of time.
  • You are not worrying about the next person bumping into you or clambering over your wheelchair.
  • Queue jumping because “they didn’t see you there”!
  • Best of all, left out in the cold because you can’t get into the shop!!

Online shopping gives you the freedom to search for what you want at a time that is right for you. Websites don’t have “opening times” the same as physical shops do! So, if you want to shop for a pair of socks at 2 am, you can!

If like me and you use a PC, then another benefit is you can have several tabs open comparing the same item across different sites to check for delivery time/charges, price of the item and of course returns policy. Can you imagine doing that on the high street, even if you’re not a wheelchair user? I love the fact I can sit at my desk, a cup of tea beside me and settle down to browse gifts for family/friends in the warmth of my own home.

The Downside of Shopping Online

When shopping online, images of products are of course going to be great looking. After all, the company is trying to sell you their product. You only have to read my review of Tapi Carpets to see the issues you can have.

  • You can’t feel the item – Texture, material
  • Smell the item – Some fake leather products can smell really bad
  • Colour is not always the same when viewing on a monitor
  • Judge sizing when shopping for items such as clothing.
  • Solitary experience.

I have bought things that look great online but once received, the material is of lesser quality, or the item is smaller, or worse, turns up broken or faulty. I have bought a Christmas present that looked a good size and quality online but having received it, I know it’s going to be a big disappointment to the recipient! No doubt it will have to be returned. Sometimes you just want to see an item in the flesh.

I have done 90% of my Christmas shopping online this year. I’ve used brand company websites, eBay and Amazon. Companies I’ve not been familiar with and I have to say, I’ve only had two incidents. One, where an item arrived broken and another replaced by a lesser quality item than what was advertised. Both of which have been sorted fairly easily.

Security Measures in Place

Online Christmas Shopping During A Pandemic As A Disabled Person - Safety - A as a padlock T as a key

Online Christmas Shopping During A Pandemic As A Disabled Person – Making sure you are aware of the pitfalls of shopping online is paramount! There are many ways things can go horribly wrong.

  • Identity theft.
  • Spam emails.
  • Fake websites.
  • Fake products.
  • Cloned bank card – To name a few.

However, research is everything! It is important to gather as much information as possible about the company you are shopping online with. Once you have done these checks a few times, it will become easier to spot a dodgy website/product.

  • Check websites address for HTTPS – If the company’s web address starts with HTTPS (especially on checkout pages), then you know your information is being sent over a secure network. – What is HTTPS?
  • Pay with Paypal where possible – If you pay by Paypal, the company you are purchasing from will NOT have any information regarding your card details. Only your name, address, email address and phone number if supplied. The beauty is, you don’t even need to have a Paypal account to do this.
  • Use a recommended website where possible – It’s always good practice to use website friends and family have used. You will know if they had a good or bad experience.
  • Check delivery and returns policy – Things can go wrong and for this reason, always check the returns policy and make sure you agree with the company’s terms. You don’t want to get caught out when things are too late.
  • Can you find the company address? – The Gov.uk website, says the following: Before an order is placed, you must provide: your business name, contact details and address, so it is helpful if you can find this as a lot of companies show pricing in GBP but originate and send products from another country.

Conclusion

If you do your research and check out the website the best you can, you should have a fairly pleasant experience. Yes, things will invariably go wrong, that’s life but you shouldn’t have too much of a problem getting the issue resolved. I will most definitely be doing my Christmas shopping online next year!

May I take this opportunity to wish you all very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Please look after yourself and others. Here’s hoping next year will bring better things to all.

Santa in his sleigh with raindeers

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Tapi Carpets logo not 5*

Tapi Carpets: How Good Is Their Service And Products?

As I won my compensation claim against NHS Wheelchair Service/contracted repairers for damage caused to my floors by leaking batteries in my electric wheelchair, I am now in a position to have my floors finally replaced. I chose Tapi Carpets, I’m looking to have them lay laminate flooring throughout all of our downstairs and lay a carpet in our bedroom. If I found Tapi to be of good quality and service, I would then book them to do my stair/landing floor. So a fairly lucrative order for Tapi. So, how good were their service and products?

Tapi Carpets: How Good Is Their Service And Products? – I contacted Tapi Carpets as they had been recommended to me. I had browsed their website which I found to be informative. It had a good range of laminate flooring, carpets and luxury vinyl tiles. We were looking for laminate flooring throughout the downstairs of our home and carpet for our bedroom. Once we decided on what we would like, I contacted the company to arrange for them to come and do a quote.

Our Quote From Tapi

A gentleman came out who seemed pleasant enough but had no idea as to what we wanted quoting. (Something that I had told the operator who booked our appointment). We told him which flooring we wanted and he explained and apologised as he didn’t have those samples as a new line of flooring was coming in. Off to a great start I see!

We went on to explain we needed very tough wearing floors to handle my electric wheelchair as it is an indoor/outdoor chair so is very heavy and has large gripping tyres. He confirmed the floors we had chosen would be fine and Tapi offer a “wear guarantee” on every floor.

Tapi Carpets:  How Good Is Their Service And Products?  This is what they offer.
Tapi offers all of the above, some are an extra charge.

Our quote arrived later that day via an email priced at £1840.98. Our quote included:

  • Laminate flooring for our hall, lounge and kitchen
  • Underlay for all laminate flooring – Extra charge (Note: Some of the flooring supplied by Tapi require you have underlay for warranty purposes).
  • Scotia’s & End profiles (End profiles, no idea what they are)
  • Carpet for our bedroom & Spray adhesive
  • Uplift, removal and disposal of all existing flooring – Extra charge
  • Fitting – Extra charge – Tapi don’t make it clear that payment is direct to fitters on completion

We decided to go ahead with our quote. The three floors we ordered were:

From left to right – Floor 1: Richmond – Pembroke Oak, Floor 2: Richmond – Asgil Oak, Floor 3: Dallas Carpet.

Tapi Not Generous With Important Information

We were told by two different people at Tapi, the time-frame would be 2-3 weeks from start to finish. Great, won’t be long until completion. We paid for our flooring 10th August 2020, the fitters came to lay our hall/lounge floor 25th September 2020. Hmm, is that 2-3 weeks?? Have I miss-calculated? No, I didn’t think so.

While waiting, I contacted Tapi to get information about how the laying of the floors would be with a full-time wheelchair present. (I needed access to my wet room), so needed to know some sort of schedule.

Tapi replied, “The fitter will fit one room at time. If the wheelchair user is able to wait in a different room while he fits that’ll be great”. Sorry but that information wasn’t really all that helpful. (Should I just vacate my home altogether?). So glad I didn’t!! All will become clear soon.

We were told we would receive contact from Tapi the day before fitting, with arrival times of the fitters. Mid-afternoon I hadn’t received anything. As Tapi had been fairly bad at communication to date, hubby and I began to wonder if this was a terrible sign. I phoned the store, just rang and rang, emailed, nothing, tweeted, nothing! We were now getting worried we had paid a lot of money for something that wasn’t going to happen!

At 4:56 pm, I received an automated email: Tomorrow’s the big day! “Your fitter will contact you either later today, or tomorrow morning, to let you know when they’ll be arriving”. (They never did ring me). Then, 5:32 pm (Talk about 11th hour!!) I receive an email from Tapi with the information I needed. The fitters would be arriving between 9-11 am.

The Fitting Of Our Floors

Our new living room laminate flooring in dark brown wood

Our fitters (who I have to clarify are NOT Tapi employees, Tapi contract the work out to third parties, according to the fitters) arrived at 11 am. Two men arrived, introduced themselves and got straight to work. They worked non-stop until 10 pm. They were very nice and I have no complaints whatsoever.

The fitters were professional and friendly and I have to say, very impressed as they cleaned up every bit of mess and even mopped the new floor once finished.

In fact, I would recommend them to anyone looking for fitters and I’m hoping they will be returning to fit our kitchen floor once that has been rectified. More on that later.

Our floor in the lounge and hallway is amazing and beautiful looking. I am very impressed with the work that has been done. 10/10 to our fitters…Thank you for doing such a brilliant job.

No Kitchen Floors Today!

Our fitters showed us a sample of the flooring that was to be laid in the kitchen (taken from a new packet). Omg, I could have cried, the sample was (in my opinion) nothing like what we had ordered or what the website advertises. The sample looked like it had been lifted up from a high traffic warehouse after 20 years of use!! The website shows a lovely rich dark/black wooden laminate floor, shown below (middle picture).

The sample looked extremely washed out (Pictured left), I actually thought it was a sample that been in their van for some time. I was shocked this had come out of a new packet of flooring. Put against our present black flooring, the sample is far from black. The far-right picture shows what we believe to look very close to what floor came with the fitters.

Yes, I’m aware we are always told colours shown on a website are not always identical in real-life, but not this different! We explained to the fitters this is not the flooring we ordered and did not want them to lay it down in our kitchen. They advised ringing the store. I explained that the store NEVER answers their phone, so the fitter rang (to whoever) on our behalf.

Tapi said they would need to compare the sample to their shop sample to confirm if they are the same and then take things from there. It may be the case the wrong flooring was sent out or the image on the website is wrong. (I believe the latter is the case, to be honest).

More Mistakes By Crappy Tapi!

The following morning (Saturday), I received a phone call from Tapi. (I thought this was regarding the sample from the previous day. No, not so lucky!) It was to inform me, the fitter went to the warehouse to pick up my carpet and was told that particular carpet (Dallas in Grey) hadn’t been in distribution for some time and therefore not available!! This was the last thing I needed to hear!

I was so angry! I told Tapi, that I would choose a new floor for my kitchen and another one for our bedroom without any quibble from Tapi. He agreed!

Resolution So Far?….None!

So, the following day (Sunday 27th Sept) I rang Tapi for an update. The flooring for both kitchen and bedroom was on order and once confirmed, an appointment would be made for the fitters to come and lay the floors. He explained he was off on Wednesday and would get in touch with me on Thursday with dates for fitting.

I didn’t hear anything on Thursday, so I sent an email the following day (Friday), for an update on my floors. Tapi replied 5/10/2020 informing me my carpet was due for delivery the following day and could be fitted that week. Great! Bad news? My kitchen floor is out of stock and will probably take to the end of October before it’s back in stock again…..Bloody typical!! I now mentioned a goodwill gesture wouldn’t go amiss, he said he would see what he could do.

Due to the timeframe, the fitters who lay my hall/lounge floor understandably now would like paying for the work done so far. They asked if I could phone Tapi for the cost of what was owed to them so far. I did this and paid what was owed.

Bedroom Carpet

Friday 9th October, finally my bedroom carpet is laid, 2 months since payment!! The fitters, (Different fitters from laminate fitters), did ring beforehand with a timeframe as the standard auto email explained.

Three men turned up to lay one rectangle bedroom carpet. NONE of them wore any PPE, not even a mask!! What angers me the most is the fact Tapi is fully aware I’m a disabled customer, one would assume common sense would tell you that that customer is most likely shielding, yes? If unsure…….Bloody ASK!!

Tapi’s website says the following:

Fitting Service

  • Our fitting partners are working across England, Scotland and Wales.
  • They have been provided with adequate PPE equipment and will be sanitising between every visit.
  • They will ensure that social distancing is maintained at all times while in your home.

Not my fitters! Not even as much as have one mask between them!!

They also say: “Rest assured, we will continue to put the safety of our teams and customer first, and feel confident we have the right technology and processes in place to ensure this”. So why knowingly put unprotected fitters into a disabled person home??

They were also in quite hurry, they came in my front door, straight upstairs, no hello, broke a picture frame, took roughly 20 minutes and gone! But took 3 of them to do that!

To add insult to injury, the fitter was unable to supply an invoice, nor did they offer a receipt of our payment. I have since messaged them asking for both. Would not recommend these fitters at all.

Reading Tapi’s TrustPilot reviews, this is not the first time this has happened. I emailed and complained!

They did get back to me informing me my complaint has been passed onto the manager who is also CEO. Nothing since!

Kitchen Floor

I finally got a date for my kitchen floor to be laid, 9th November 2020! That is 3 months (literally to the date), from the date we paid Tapi for our order. So if/when crappy Tapi tell you 2-3 weeks for completion, they probably mean 2-3 MONTHS!!

Even though Tapi told us the end of Oct our floor would arrive, when I complained about the carpet fitters wearing no PPE, I asked for an update on our kitchen floor…..Guess what? Our floor was in!! When was Tapi going to tell me???

The floor was fitted by the same company that fitted our lounge/hall flooring, so again no issues. The only downside to the flooring is the fact it is NOT what we had originally ordered, Tapi was unable to offer a suitable alternative, so we went with the same flooring as in the hall/lounge.

I’m sure the majority of you will understand me when I am extremely disappointed in not getting the floor I wanted.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Quality and style of our laminate floor seem very very good. I would recommend this floor. We have since decided to have this our kitchen now as crappy Tapi’s (black) flooring is not black!
  • Their prices are fairly reasonable.
  • Tapi gives you wear guarantee on every floor. Our downstairs floor has 20 years wear guarantee. (How this will pan out if I need to use this, I have no idea, TrustPilot’s review are not promising!) Our (new choice) of carpet doesn’t state “wear guarantee” on their website. (A bit worrying).
  • The laminate fitters are professional, friendly and work very hard. The result is wonderful.

Cons:

  • Tapi can take forever to order/lay your flooring. It’s taken 3 months so far for us!
  • When having a quote, the salesperson may not have samples to show you. DO NOT trust Tapi’s images on their website, they can NOT be trusted.
  • Make sure you check the fitter’s invoice, our carpet fitters tried overcharging us. (Tapi can give you a break down of the fitter’s charges on request).
  • Confirm the product you want is still being sold, the carpet we ordered is still being advertised on their site even though Tapi say is no longer available. (False advertising?)
  • Information to help disabled customers leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Informed regarding extra charges – (Moving of furniture, uplift of your previous flooring, disposal of your old flooring). Is not made clear enough!
  • You pay the fitters separately from Tapi once they have laid your floor/s. This is a real annoyance when more than one fitter is involved.
  • Our carpet fitters wore no PPE whatsoever when laying our carpet.
  • Chase Tapi every time when waiting for your flooring to come in. They have a great knack at not informing customers when their flooring arrives.

Conclusion

Tapi Carpets have been unable to provide a service one would expect from a so-called professional company. They have shown complete incompetence, total disregard for any and all upheaval and confusion throughout my whole experience with them.

From not being able to provide samples of flooring, selling me a carpet they say they haven’t been selling for some time (yet still advertise this very carpet/colour on their website) to providing flooring that doesn’t match with any shop sample or website image and sending fitters who don’t wear PPE, yet state on their website PPE is supplied to their fitters??

The sad part is, they are reasonably priced and so far, their products do seem to be of good quality. But, the stress of the whole experience is NOT worth any money I may have saved. It really isn’t!

As a disabled customer, they seemed incapable of answering or reassuring me on any queries I had. To not be able to reassure a customer they will be able to go to the toilet while their floor is being laid, is quite shocking really!!

As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I would like to have my stairs and upstairs hall carpet replaced. Will I use Tapi?? Never, even if hell froze over!!!

Would I recommend Tapi? No! Quite the opposite, I would advise staying clear away from this incompetent company. They actually behave as they have only just started trading in this field.

If you liked my blog, why not sign up to my Newsletter so you never miss a beat, or leave a comment below. If there is anything you would like me to blog about, don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

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False lashes with magnet

False Eyelashes: That Work With Poor Dexterity

False Eyelashes: That Work With Poor Dexterity: I have poor movement and grip in my hands. I have searched for what feels like a lifetime for false eyelashes that I can put on and take off by myself. That search is now over!

A few years ago, I used to get individual lashes put on at a beauty salon to give me fuller and longer eyelashes. I really don’t know why I did this as there really wasn’t anything wrong with my own lashes once I had applied mascara. I suppose seeing other females with what I believed to be lovely long lashes made me feel like mine were not good enough.

Unfortunately, this was a big mistake! Having this done repeatedly for approx 6 months ruined my own lashes. What the beauty salons don’t tell you is that while having the glued-on false individual lashes removed, they can and often do, pull your own lashes out along with them. This, in turn, makes your own lashes look short, uneven and very sparse. So, of course, you feel the need to have this treatment again!

I suffered from having minimal lashes for well over a year before they grew back to anywhere near what I had previously and even now, they are not like they used to be but that could also be down to my age lol.

My Dream of Wearing False Eyelashes

False Eyelashes:  That Work With Poor Dexterity - An eye wearing pink feather false eyelashes

Anyway, ever since I can remember, I wanted to be able to wear false eyelashes. You know, for those wild nights out or special occasions. (Although not many wild nights anymore :)) Due to my disability, I could never use them due to how fiddly they were to put on and all that glue…..Always terrified I was going to harm my eyes by getting the glue in my eyes.

I tried so many times to find a workaround with the glue, applicators and different types of lashes. Nothing worked, so I had to give up. (Hence why I started using the salons for false lashes). One of my regrets, I have to say.

That is until now……Magnetic false eyelashes…….The solution to my problem 🙂 This did take a few trials and errors to find what worked for me (and my hands). I tried them using an applicator, that was useless, I bought eyelashes with only 3 magnets, they didn’t sit right. Finally, I found a good combination….

The Solution to my Problem

Magnetic eyelashes, how do they work?

  1. You apply the magnetic eyeliner as you would any other liner – I would suggest testing the amount you need to apply – Let dry for about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Take your magnetic lashes and position them onto the magnetic eyeliner as close as possible to your own top lashes.

Yes, it is that simple!

Superdrugs magnetic false eyelashes online listing

I started out using Superdrugs magnetic false lashes that come with its own magnetic eyeliner, magnetic eyelashes and liner brush. I found several issues with this product.

  • The lashes didn’t sit right
  • The pot of magnetic gel liner is glupey/sticky and very difficult to apply
  • The price was very expensive

So, I did some research and looked online for alternatives. I ended up buying an applicator that looked like an eyelash curler to see if this would aid me in putting them onto my eyes.

The applicator came with magnetic lashes. These lashes are supposed to sit above and under your top lashes. I used Superdrugs magnetic liner. What a bloody palaver that turned out to be!

The applicator was more than useless. The lashes magnetised to the applicator (obviously) but when you put them to your eye and try to release the lashes to sit on your own lashes, they don’t budge, they will not come off the applicator and if they do, you have only half the lashes on your eyes. Not a pretty sight I can tell ya lol

Moving onto my next idea, I decided to dump the applicator and lashes and look for some different ones. You may or may not know these lashes can come in all shapes, sizes and thickness. It’s personal preference as to which ones you want to buy/wear.

Also, magnetic eyelashes can come with different amounts of magnets. Some have three and some have four (that I can tell). I definitely recommend using ones with 4 magnets.

Still using Superdrugs liner, I made sure the next pair of magnetic lashes that I bought had four magnets. They came in a handy compact holder (shown to the right) on eBay for a good price.

As Superdrugs liner is very dry and sticky, applying it onto your eyelids can be hard work. I tend to put mine on fairly thick, I never know how close I’m going to get the lashes to my own. So, if they are not as close as I would have hoped, I still have plenty of eyeliner for them to magnetise to.

Conclusion

I have terrible grip and movement in my hands. I struggle putting on false eyelashes in the conventional way (lashes and glue method). Thankfully, a new breed of false eyelashes have emerged and are much easier for me to use.

  1. Decide the right shape, size and thickness of magnetic false eyelashes to want to wear.
  2. Decide if you want to/can use an applicator.
  3. Purchase magnetic eyelashes, liner and applicator as a set or individually – I would advise you get lashes with 4 magnets, they stay in place much better.
  4. Apply the magnetic liner.
  5. Place the lashes as close as you can to your own.

Job done!!

One thing I will say though, Superdrugs magnetic eyeliner is a bitch to take off. I had mine on all day and I used a wet wipe to remove the liner and ended up hurting my eye. I never normally have any issues using a wet wipe to remove my liner, it’s my usual routine but whatever this eyeliner is made from, it really doesn’t want to come off.

Do search around as prices can vary greatly. I got all mine on eBay, in fact, I have just bought some liquid magnetic liner to see if that is any easier to apply compared to Superdrugs Gel liner. Once I have received it and tried it, I will update and let you know how I found it.

I wore mine yesterday (a fairly windy day) and they stayed on the whole time. Now, I do wear glasses when out, so this may have helped. They are extremely comfortable to wear, so comfortable, I forgot I was wearing them, to be honest.

I say, give them a go, they are so easy to apply and can be bought at reasonable prices if you shop around.

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Fish Insurance: Do You Have Insurance For Your Wheelchair?

Insure your mobility equipment with the disabled insurance specialists Fish insurance

Fish Insurance: Do You Have Insurance For Your Wheelchair? – If you insure your wheelchair or mobility aid, you get peace of mind and protection for your chair.  Fish Insurance is a company that can insure your mobility products:

  • Mobility Scooter
  • Manual Wheelchair
  • Electric Wheelchair
  • Prosthetics & Orthotics

And of course all the other stuff like home/holiday insurance etc.

As you may be aware, I am due to fly out to Vegas later in the year and my biggest worry of all things that could go wrong is my electric wheelchair being broken, or worse, lost!!  That would be my trip destroyed.  So insurance is very important.  My insurance package for my NHS Electric Wheelchair with Fish includes a worldwide cover (including baggage handler cover).  This is exactly what I needed to put my mind at rest, I’m sure you can imagine the stress I was feeling!

As a responsible wheelchair user, (well, most of the time :))  I decided it was a good idea to be insured, if nothing else, for third-party.  We all know there are people out there that will do anything to make a buck or two.  Anyway, a few of my friends recommended Fish.

So I rang them up yesterday to get a quote as I found their website to have a few flaws:

  • Didn’t have my make and model of wheelchair
  • When you click on “Get Your Quote” you are taken through the steps to “purchase” the insurance.

It turns out Fish did actually have my make/model of wheelchair but was just not showing up on the website.  This flaw could possibly invalidate your insurance if you haven’t selected your correct wheelchair.

The first man I spoke with was helpful but sounded rather bored and like he really didn’t want to be there.  I didn’t feel confident in going any further with my enquiry or even purchase, so I told him I would ring back later.  Which I did do.  The second man I spoke with was very nice and very chatty, actually, it got to the point where I thought I was never going to get off the phone but nonetheless, I did.  He answered all my questions and I was happy enough to go ahead and purchase the insurance.

At the time of taking out my insurance, here are a couple of the things they cover:

  • Loss or theft Up to £7,000
  • Third-party liability Up to £2m
  • Contingent liability of Up to £2m
  • Personal accident Up to £3,000
  • Worldwide cover (including baggage handler cover) – Excludes liability cover in North America & Canada (Up to 21 days)

Please remember, insurance companies are always changing/updating their policies, so the above may be different if/when you enquire/purchase yours.

A couple of points to remember:

  • Make sure you tell them if your wheelchair is manual or electric
  • If your wheelchair is NHS or privately owned – Each have their own pricing
  • Make sure you pick the correct option for your wheelchair/scooter – You don’t want to invalidate your insurance

To get more information, please visit Fish’s website:  https://www.fishinsurance.co.uk/

If you liked my blog, why not sign up to my Newsletter so you never miss a beat, or leave a comment below. If there is anything you would like me to blog about, don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

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Fault After Fault: Wessex Through Floor Lift

Fault After Fault: Wessex Through Floor Lift: I am a full-time wheelchair user, I have a Through Floor Lift (TFL) to enable me to get upstairs in my home.  This lift was installed by a company called Wessex on the request of my housing association:  Notting Hill Genesis.  This lift has given me nothing but problems after problems since day 1.  I have been living in my property for 12 years at the time of writing this.

I never dreamed it possible to ever be able to live in a “house” as a wheelchair user.  I believed I would only ever live in a single level property, so when I was offered a house, I was both ecstatic and shocked.  When I went to view the property, I realised there would be a through floor lift to enable me to get up and down the house.  This lift was supplied by Wessex Lifts.

So there I was all those years ago in a new property with a through floor lift and thinking I was very posh, haha. Unfortunately, this euphoria was not meant to last as I was plagued with nothing but problems with this lift.  I had to make phone call after phone call to Notting Hill, reporting fault after fault.

Here is a list of some of the problems I had with my first lift:

Fault After Fault:  Wessex Through Floor Lift - White through floor lift sitting the down position
  1. The first problem, which happened most of the lifespan of the lift, (10 years) was the door not having enough power to close onto the latch.  The engineer came out and seemed to fix the problem. A couple of days later, the same problem occurred, so yet again, I phoned my housing officer. You guessed it, another engineer visit.  Again, the engineer seemed to fix the problem and go away. This happened repeatedly, eventually, the problem was indeed fixed.  The main issue with this problem was, if the door wasn’t shutting, I couldn’t use the lift,  therefore having to sleep on the sofa downstairs.  Something that happened quite often!

  2. My TFL would sink approx half an inch to an inch overnight. This meant the lift was not fully in the “Up” position, so, once I entered the lift in my Electric Wheelchair,  the extra weight would make the lift sink further, making it impossible for the door to close.  Once again engineers came out, scratched their heads, fiddled about, went away, came out, scratched their heads, went away, you get the picture.  Eventually, the problem was fixed several months down the road.

  3. This fault was by far the longest to fix.  This took years to fix.  In the end, one of the head engineers from Wessex themselves had to come out and have a go at fixing this one!!  As I travelled down in the lift, the safety under-pan (that detects any objects under the lift and if so, stops the lift from travelling any further) would seem to get stuck to the bottom of the lift, then violently break free and drop into place.  Sometimes, stopping the lift altogether.  I can’t remember how many times the engineers were sent out to fix it but I can assure you, it was a lot more than it should have been.  Even top managers were called out because no one could seemingly fix the problem.  It did eventually get sorted.

  4. The most frightening fault had to be the one where we had come home from doing our shopping and found the lift about to catch fire.  Yes, I said fire!!  We came in the front door and my lift is directly opposite on the other side of our hallway.  I saw a lot of smoke coming from the left side of the lift, which is up against a wall.  The smell was like burning rubber.  My husband very quickly went to the cupboard to switch off the lift and all electrics and immediately called for an engineer to come out.  He came out but had to order a new part.  The solenoid switch is what almost caught fire.  So again, another night having to sleep on the sofa.  I ended up sleeping on the sofa for a few nights.

It’s hard to explain just how a person’s daily life is affected when adaptations do go wrong.  As good as these adaptations are, when they do go wrong, you are left stranded, unable to do the task they were supplied for.  So obviously this meant I couldn’t get upstairs, which in turn meant I couldn’t go to bed, which in turn meant I had to sleep on the sofa.  Now, this wasn’t the first time this had happened, there were times before when a fault could not be fixed on the spot, or a part had to be ordered, I’d have to sleep on the sofa every time. This would make my Scoliosis much worse and the pain unbearable.  I would wake up sore and stiff every time. 

In one of the very few services that my lift got.  (I was unaware my lift should have been serviced every 6 months. My lift was not serviced every 6 months).  I was told the lift needed a new roof to meet new health & safety regulations.  Then realising my lift was over 10 years old at the time, it was decided it would be more cost-effective to replace it with a new lift altogether.  At last, some common sense!

Well, I won’t bore you with ALL the drama that happened but I will tell you that I contacted my housing officer at the time, her boss and her boss also, explaining how I didn’t want to be stuck with the same lift due to all the problems I had endured with my last lift. 

I ended up having to make a formal complaint.  You wouldn’t believe how this brought to light the number of mistakes that were made regarding servicing, engineer reports and the lack of engineer reports, my housing officer not reporting key facts, lack of duty of care. The list was truly endless!

New lift survey

Several companies came out to take measurements, photos etc, so they could then give Notting Hill a quote for a new lift.  Can you guess what they went with?  Yep, the same bloody lift!!  Can you believe after all my complaining, begging, formal complaint, they chose the exact same one!!  Talk about throwing good money after bad.  Brainless!!!

So, now I’m on my 2nd Wessex TFL of the same make/model (installed Oct 2016) because Notting Hill decided the best option was to give me the same lift that had all the above faults and plenty more. Ignoring ALL my pleas to have a different one.  How nice of them eh?

Well, what can I say…….2nd lift and within literally 2 weeks the same faults happening all over again!!!!!  You really couldn’t make this up!

  1. Lift door not closing, not fixed – Took 4 years to finally fix it
  2. Underpan sticking.  Not fixed – Did eventually get fixed
  3. Grinding noises.  Fixed.
  4. Dropping overnight.  Found to be heat-related.  (Actually, it turns out this was incorrect as it happened repeatedly all year round) – Update: It was a faulty pump (more on that in a bit).
  5. Door not shutting level, therefore not closing onto the latch.  Just bounces off the latch and opens – (I have to get back out, close the door, send the lift up a few inches, bring it back down and try again). Took over 4 years to fix – Wessex had to come and take the lift off the wall, take it appart, raise the level of the floor to make the lift sit higher – This seems to have fixed the issue.
  6. I got trapped in the lift half way up going to bed, approx 2 hours to be released – Turns out a corregated pipe got trapped behind the lift causing the lift to stop in it’s tracks.

***Update** 15/7/2020

Numbers 4 & 5 have been happening for past 6-8 months.  4 & 5 have since been resolved.  5 is still being investigated by Wessex themselves as again no-one else can fix the issue.  It would seem even Wessex themselves can’t fix the problem….No surprise there then.  An engineer came out to fix both issues of lift dropping and lift not sensing the door is closed/locked.  So now waiting for another/same engineer to come out again.  Nearly two weeks now since my regular engineer said he would report it back to Wessex.

The list just keeps growing and the problems ongoing, as soon as one is fixed, another one rears its ugly head.  The worst part though, is I continually live in fear of going out and coming home and again finding the lift almost on fire, or god forbid worse. 

Listen to the engineers

Very recently, I found out that an engineer (outside of Wessex) had been telling (the powers to be) that the problem with the majority of the faults on my lift was down to the pump. Explaining that the pump was not doing whatever it needed to do correctly with the hydraulics, he had been telling them this for over 2 years! I SUFFERED SLEEPNESS NIGHTS, PAIN, BEING TRAPPED IN THE LIFT etc. all because the powers to be didn’t want to spend the money on a new pump as it was NOT cost-effective? Yet it was cost-effective to keep sending out engineer after engineer (and paying for this) who were NOT fixing the issues??

Listen to the engineers, they ARE NOT beneath you, they are the ones visiting the client, seeing the issue/s in person, not you, sat behind your desk thinking you’re something special!!! And councils/housing associations can’t understand why they are short of money?? Couldn’t run a piss up in a brewery spring to mind!!!

Final Thoughts

Is this really how one should have to live?  Oh, hang on…..We are only disabled people, what do we matter!!  All because Notting Hill Genesis (previously known as Notting Hill) wants to save some money but in all fairness, what are they saving when they have to keep paying engineers to keep coming out and try to fix the problems??

Would I recommend this lift?  NOT BLOODY LIKELY!!  

Would I recommend Wessex?  NOT BLOODY LIKELY!!  What I can’t understand is this, both lifts (old/new) have presented exactly the same faults and in the same order??  Wouldn’t this suggest this Wessex lift has a design/manufacturing fault??  If so, why are Wessex ignoring this?  After all, I tell everyone and anyone willing to listen to me about this awful lift.

Although I would have to say the majority of Notting Hill Genesis’s contracted engineers sent out to me, I would recommend even less!!!  Some of them literally just came out, banged a couple of things and then left.

If you liked my blog, leave a comment below. If you would like to work with me or anything you would like me to blog about, don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

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Being Disabled: Should It Mean I Can’t dress nicely?

Being Disabled: Should It Mean I Can’t dress nicely? I take a look at high street clothing and adaptive clothing to see how easy it is to dress nicely as a disabled person who is also a wheelchair user.

Dressing Nicely

Finding clothes that sit right AND look nice on a person who is always in a sitting position is not an easy task. When I go out, I want to look my best. It makes me feel happy and I feel much more confident.

I enjoy coordinating my clothes, shoes and make-up. I have different styles of clothing depending on the situation I am going out for. Rock chic look for karaoke nights down the pub, jacket & trousers for when I meet with shop managers and casual for meeting up with friends.

Being Disabled: Should It Mean I Can't dress nicely?  Woman sitting on the floor posing for a fashion shot

Fashion, unfortunately, is not geared for people in wheelchairs or disabled people in general. For example, models are 90% of the time in a standing position when being photographed for magazines/websites etc. If they do happen to be in a sitting position, it’s not a natural sitting position a wheelchair user would be sitting in.

Heels of any height is a no-no for me, as transferring in/out of my chair becomes impossible, I have to stick with flat shoes (ballerina type) which can leave a lot to be desired when it comes to style/design.

I have seen some lovely dresses hanging on the rail in clothes shops but as soon as I try it on, (oh, don’t get me started on dressing/fitting rooms in these shops) it is dreadful. It all bunches up on my lap, making the dress look far too long for me and looking like it could do with a good iron. So I now know it is pretty worthless even looking at dresses when out clothes shopping.

It has taken me many years to know what will suit me as a wheelchair user. Not only because I sit down all day but because of my body shape too. It’s still not an exact science but the majority of the time I can pick up an item, look at it and know if it’s for me. Well, I say that but I still have to fit them on as sizing greatly differs from shop to shop.

High Street v Adaptive Clothing for Disabled People

Adaptive clothing, I have to admit, is not something I ever think about. I suppose this may have something to do with the fact it’s not widely advertised, therefore, when doing a clothing search online, I can honestly say, I have never seen anything to do with adaptive clothing appear in my results. I have to tell my search engine I am searching for “Adaptive Clothing” before anything will appear.

Like everything else that is sold to make “disabled people’s lives better/easier”, it can come at a very high price:

Red linen wrap skirt with velcro fastening.

This is a wrap-around red skirt, it has two pockets and is fastened with a velcro strip on the waistband. I see a couple of issues with this skirt:

  1. How strong is the velcro? Will it come undone with manoeuvring, transferring out of my chair?
  2. Anyone half decent with a needle could attach a piece of velcro themselves.
  3. HOW MUCH?? £52.50…….You are having a laugh!!

There is no way, under any circumstances would I pay £52 for a skirt, no way!!

Red wrap skirt with tie fastening

By comparison, this skirt is also a wrap-around style…..Cost? £9.00 (was £12.99). Even at full price, it’s much more affordable. At the full price, you are making a saving of £39.51, not something to be snubbed at.

The item description says: “Calf-length skirt in a softly draping viscose weave. High waist with concealed press-studs and ties at one side, a wrapover front and asymmetric hem. Unlined”. A little needlework and a piece of velcro could be put in place of press stud.

Black decorative line with swirl in the center
Pair of floral jersey pull on trousers

Ok, how is this item any different to a pair of leggings??? They say ” Fully elasticated waistband for ease of dressing”. Errm, so are all the trousers I possess that I have bought from high street retailers! Again, how are these “Adaptive”?? And you want £40 quid……No!

At the end of the day, you can wheel into any high street clothing retailer and find an identical designed item for a much cheaper price!

So, by comparison, these next two items are what I would agree are in fact “Adaptive” pieces of clothing:

Black and grey coloured tie dye leggings

These leggings may not be floral but no different from the pair above: “Made from a stretch jersey fabric for comfortable wear, they feature an elasticated waistband and finish with a tie dye print”.

The price of these are again much more affordable: £14.99

I know which pair I would purchase.

Black decorative line with swirl in the center
Adaptive navy jacket made for wheelchair users

Now this is what I would believe to be an adaptive jacket, they say:

“This very comfortable Wheelchair Jacket has been specifically designed for wheelchair users. The front of the jacket has a shorter cut to prevent it bunching up and to keep it looking stylish at all times. Similarly, the arms of the jacket are reinforced on the insides for extra strength and durability, ensuring that the Wheelchair Jacket is strong enough to cope with all the usual scuffs and abrasions that occur when self-propelling without any loss of performance”.

So the problem I mentioned about dresses bunching up at the front has been catered for and I know how sleeves can get damaged very quickly while self-propelling in a manual wheelchair.

Look at that, a reasonable price too: £16.48 Just goes to show, adaptive does not have to mean expensive!

Black decorative line with swirl in the center
Adaptive polo shirt in light blue

This is a polo shirt that the wearer can put on like a back to front jacket. Or at least that’s what I think they mean.

The description says: “Full back overlap with snaps at shoulders. This adaptive polo shirt for men completely opens up, allowing the individuals arms to be slid into the garment sleeves without ever having to raise/lower their arms or struggle with small neck openings. The back overlap is then folded over and domed/snapped into place”. 

I’m extremely disappointed that this company shows no images of how the “Adaptive” part works. Just looks like an ordinary polo shirt as it stands.

Domed/snapped?? Not sure what that means. But at the price of £76.92, I really couldn’t care less as again this is just legalised robbery!!

Black decorative line with swirl in the center
Red suede ankle boot with fleece lining and lace fastening.

I have saved the most expensive for last…..Cosyfeet pair of boots: A website: Adaptaware, directs you to Cosyfeet when looking on their site for footwear.

As I mentioned before, my feet are odd sized and shaped, therefore I normally need to buy 2 pairs of shoes to accommodate this. But bugger if I would purchase 2 pairs of these.

Ironically, if they were more reasonably priced, I would have bought a pair, I like the style of them. Unfortunately, at the wonderful price of £112.00 – £93.33 without VAT I would not even consider purchasing a pair.

Would this be classed as a VAT relief disability aid? Hmm not sure myself!

  • 100% waterproof to keep feet dry in all weathers
  • Breathable and with climate control to keep feet comfy and fresh
  • Windproof to keep feet warm and comfy
  • Water-resistant lace adjusts to fit a range of swelling
  • Roomier than it looks due to hidden-depth design
  • Seam-free toe area is ideal for problem toes
  • Lightweight sole is durable, shock-absorbing and cleated for good grip
  • Deep collar offers additional stability around the ankle
  • Comfort footbed is removable for extra depth – ideal for orthotics

The description is still leaving me with the question of how are these “adaptive”? Hang on…….Seam-free toe area? Is it just me, or does it look like the seam goes right over the toe area?. Climate control?? Are you for real? Where’s the temp knob? Hidden depth design…..Oh, this must be like the “luggage” in Terry Pratchett books.

Conclusion

It would seem that some items described as “Adaptive” are truly adaptive and would benefit many disabled people but…As with all aspects of life, it would also seem that some companies are trying to “cash in” on the £259 Billion spending power of disabled people by advertising some of their products as “Adaptive” when clearly it is no more adaptive than I am Lady Ga Ga!!

The prices of the majority of these products are purely legalised robbery! Do these adaptive clothing really cost this much to make? I doubt it very much. Disabled people have much more to pay out for in comparison to ableds, yet still, companies who advertise to help make disabled’s lives easier, do this by fleecing us! In turn, making our financial lives much harder to impossible!!

Some of these products can be bought from many high street shops and with a little alteration, can be “Adaptive”. Yes, I’m aware not all people can do this (physically) I for one. The question is, would it be cheaper to purchase high street product and pay someone to make alterations, or purchase the “Adaptive” product??

As a disabled person, of course, I would love my daily life to be easier but I’m just not willing to pay the kind of prices that are being asked from some, of these adaptive clothing. Shoes are my nemesis, I have one foot that swells up much more than the other. Depending on style/sizing, I have to buy two pairs of shoes so I can have one of the shoes in the next size up needed for me to wear them. Boots? Well, I’ve given up trying to find a nice pair of those for wintertime. I really like the boots above but will not pay that price.

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Prices/information correct at the time this blog went live. (I have no affiliation with any third parties I may have linked to.)

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Facebook banner with three product adverts below

Bogus Companies Sell Via Facebook

Bogus companies sell via Facebook – These companies send faulty products and that’s if they turn up at all. Then you find the website has disappeared!

My family and I have bought many products from companies advertising on Facebook, from Mascara, Lipsticks, to T-shirts and other such like. So far, we have received more faulty items then not and that’s if they turn up at all! We are still waiting on several items that we have little hope in receiving.

I had seen some lovely make-up products that I wanted to buy on Facebook. So as my birthday was in a few weeks (this was back in mid-April as my birthday was at the start of May), my family offered to get them for me. They ordered some of the products approx three weeks beforehand and we are still waiting for one item to arrive. (Magnetic eyelashes with an applicator).

  1. Outside of the above, I ordered three eyeshadows, I’m in a dispute with the company via Paypal as an extra item was added to my order. My order confirmation does not show this extra item however, it only showed up once I received my Paypal invoice.

Order confirmation at the checkout stage.

Bogus companies sell via Facebook - Order confirmation showing items ordered

Paypal invoice, received AFTER placing and paying for my items.

Bogus companies sell via Facebook - Paypal invoice for order placed.

As you can see, these items are not what you would call cheap, especially with postage costs. So I decided to contact the company with the above proof and asked for a refund on the extra item. I got an apology and told I could have a free item. I asked why then could they not give me a refund on the extra item their company saw fit to add to my order……No reply! So I took it up with Paypal, for all the good that did me. I put in a billing claim, this was their response:

Dear Caroline,

We have reviewed all the details of your claim. Based on the information we have to date, we have to deny your claim. This decision was made because your billing dispute doesn’t match our qualification for a billing dispute.

Then what the hell does it match?? If this is NOT a billing dispute, what is it?? Yes, I have appealed, no, I don’t expect a resolution in my favour.

***Update***

I appealed Paypal’s decision and yet again they find in favour of the seller??

“We have reviewed all the details of your claim. Based on the information we have to date, we have to deny your claim. This decision was made because the documentation we have on file shows that this transaction is valid and was authorised by you”.

I Appealed again based on their response:

Ok, I tried contacting you outside of this dispute but I was redirected back here. So here goes!

You told me: “Based on the information we have to date, we have to deny your claim. This decision was made because the documentation we have on file shows that this transaction is valid and was authorised by you”.

The information YOU have on file? Surely my claim should be based on the information I have given you?? After all, this is the basis for my claim!!

I’m NOT disputing the transaction, I AM, however, disputing the amount charged. I would like to know how you ascertain I authorised an extra item to my order that I DID NOT purchase nor did it show up on my CONFIRMATION ORDER, you know, the one I check before making my payment?

I have previously sent you my order confirmation clearly showing I purchased 3 items ONLY. Yes, I authorised these but AFTER payment was made for what I believed to be 3 items. I received my Paypal CONFIRMATION OF PAYMENT and it was here and ONLY here did I see the extra item added to my order, an item I did NOT authorise to purchase or pay for. For clarity, I have sent these confirmation images to you yet again. You will clearly see in the red circle on my confirmation order, the items ordered were a total amount of THREE. Then, once I made my payment, I received my Paypal confirmation showing the extra item. Please elaborate on why/how I could have possibly authorised the extra item??

Simply put:

I pick three items
I go to the checkout
See three items in my basket
I pay for these three items
I receive my order confirmation from Paypal
Paypal confirmation show 4 items purchased
How does that constitute my authorisation of 4th item???
I await your response.

I got a response:

We received the claim(s) you opened on 21 May 2020.

We’ve reviewed the transaction(s) and are denying your claim(s). This decision was made because your billing dispute doesn’t match our qualification for a billing dispute.

We’re sorry for any problems you may have experienced with the transaction(s).

So now we are back to the start! Funny how they wouldn’t answer my questions. I feel Paypal can be very biased in their decisions.

I have searched their website for a way of contacting them and can only find a live chat thing where you are told “All our agents are currently offline. Please try again during business hours. Messaging support is available: Monday – Sunday: 7am – 5:30pm GMT”. Yeah, work that one out!! Their Facebook page is as helpful as a chocolate teapot and I hold no hope on Twitter either!!

—————————————————————————–

Bogus companies sell via Facebook –

2. I also ordered two mascaras from a different company as I stupidly believed the advert: https://bit.ly/3gh7YBc I have supplied the link to the product for you to see what I’m talking about but I really do not suggest purchasing any item from them.

Fabulous 4D Fiber Mascara – Mascara with waterproof effect, create dramatically beautiful & bold lashes that enhance the beauty of your eyes.

Glitter rainbow coloured bottle of mascara.


Does it F***!!!!!!

  • Waterproof?…..NO! I rubbed my eye later in the day and I ended up with lovely black streaks across the back of my hand.
  • Dramatically beautiful & bold lashes that enhance the beauty of your eyes?……NO!! I put on three coats of the stuff and it was useless, didn’t make a difference whatsoever! Better off sticking with what I was originally using. I have to say, the one good thing about this mascara……The bottle, it is rather pretty!

3. Lipstick – lipstick was bought from yet another company and I will NOT put them near my lips. They turned up in what I would call a disgusting and used state.

  • The outer box and individual lipsticks all unsealed
  • The bottles were all scratched
  • One of the lids is broken as it won’t screw shut, just lifts on and off
  • Lipstick marks on a couple of the lids like they had been handled by someone with lipstick residue on their hands.

Looking at the images alone, would you use them? With the COVID virus and the fact they turned up in the state they did, I don’t want to use them, so money wasted.

When we tried to contact the company to ask for either a replacement or refund, we found the website no longer existed. So as it was my hubby that ordered them for my birthday as a gift from my daughter, he has also had to take it up with Paypal. (Still waiting on their response).

4. I ordered a bra in a bigger size than I would normally wear and it is small enough to fit my petite 15-year-old daughter.

5. T-shirts from a company called Moteef that send you out Men’s t-shirts even though you have ordered and paid extra for a women tee and when you contact them to rectify their mistake, they send you another T-shirt exactly like the first one!! Really does make the mind boggle.

So I think these are expensive lessons to learn the hard way but learn I have. I will never purchase anything from an advert on Facebook ever again. Order at your own peril!!!

***UPDATE***

Check eBay, I have found all these items and much more and guess what??? At a much LOWER price too…..RESULT!!!!

If you would like to know more or wish to discuss something else, please don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

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Hands holding a piece of paper with VAT at the top and coins and paper money in the background

Are You VAT Exempt?

Are You VAT Exempt? Did you know, as a disabled person, you may be exempt from having to pay VAT on certain items?? Neither did I!! According to Gov.uk website: If you’re disabled you’ll generally have to pay VAT on the things you buy, but VAT relief is available on a limited range of goods and services for disabled people. VAT relief may be available if you’re buying goods because of your disability. Source: Gov.uk

You’ll only be able to have eligible goods VAT-free if you’re chronically sick or disabled and the goods are for your personal or domestic use. You do not need to be registered disabled or eligible for any other benefit to qualify for VAT-free goods.

Goods you can buy VAT-free

This section has information on the goods you can buy VAT-free because of your disability including:

  • medical and surgical appliances
  • invalid wheelchairs and mobility scooters
  • equipment to aid the hard of hearing, and low vision aids
  • specialist beds, chair and stairlifts, rise and recline chairs and other lifting equipment and sanitary devices
  • goods that have been designed solely for disabled people
  • computer equipment
  • emergency alarm call systems
  • boats
  • parts and accessories


You can hire or lease eligible goods VAT-free if you’re disabled. Your retailer or other supplier is responsible for checking if the goods are eligible to sell VAT-free.

Medical and surgical appliances

You’ll not have to pay VAT when you buy medical or surgical appliances that are designed solely for the relief of a severe abnormality or severe injury such as amputation, rheumatoid arthritis, learning difficulties or blindness.

Appliances that can be bought VAT-free include:

  • invalid wheelchairs
  • certain types of mobility scooters
  • leg braces
  • neck collars
  • oxygen concentrators
  • specialist clothing
  • specialist footwear
  • wigs

Items that you cannot buy VAT-free include bandages, plasters or other wound dressings and dentures (unless you buy them from a dentist or other dental care professional).

For full information, please visit: www.gov.uk

If you liked my blog, leave a comment below. If you would like to work with me, or if there is anything you would like me to blog about, don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

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Pandora logo - Pandora in black text with a crown above the letter O

Pandora as Faulty as Their Bracelets!

I was bought a Pandora bracelet roughly 2 years ago and over time I managed to fill it up with charms. Over this period of time, I took my bracelet into Pandora a couple of times to take advantage of their free sonic cleaning. I wanted to keep my bracelet in as good condition as possible. The trouble was, each time my bracelet came back to me, it never seemed to be as clean as before, the silver still looked tarnished. This got so bad I contacted Pandora and their reply was non-committal, to say the least!!

I wrote:

Dear Sir/Madam,
I have had my Panora bracelet for approx 5 months now and have had to take my bracelet into my local Pandora store for a professional clean at least 4 times, as my bracelet has tarnished very badly.

I took my bracelet in for a professional clean only on Friday (2/6/17) and as you can see in the pictures I have enclosed, this did not clean my bracelet, you can see my bracelet is still very tarnished? This is the same result every time.  You will also notice that the tarnish does not seem to affect the charms, just the clasp and the safety chain.  (I can confirm my bracelet has never come into contact with any chemicals such as perfume, detergents, hair spray etc).
We all know silver tarnishes over time and a good clean solves the problem and brings the item back to its former glory.  My bracelet was “professionally” cleaned yet it is still tarnished???  I wear other silver jewellery on a daily basis and do not seem to have a problem with tarnishing.  I am now thinking, is it just Pandora jewellery!!
 

I would love to buy your new bangle but do not wish to spend the money on something that is going to look cheap on my wrist as I am afraid this will tarnish also.

I would like to know if there is anything you can offer/do to fix my bracelet as I am extremely disappointed with having a tarnished black bracelet.  Even the shop assistant said it looked like the silver was coming off but felt this couldn’t be the case as it is real silver.  
I took my bracelet to my local store within the first week of having my bracelet due to the tarnishing and they replaced the bracelet.

Pandora responded:

Dear Caroline, 

Thank you for taking the time to email PANDORA and I’m sorry to hear about your bracelet and charms. I can completely understand how disappointing this must be for you, especially as you have such a collection. 

For the purpose of addressing your issue fully I would like to briefly outline the PANDORA warranty policy that all our stockists are trained in. PANDORA warranty on all silver items is two years, on gold it is two years and leather items it is one year. This is to allow an ample amount of time to discover any manufacturing faults with an item and rectify it for the customer free of charge. 

PANDORA jewellery is made from 925 sterling silver and 14 carat gold and these metals will naturally tarnish.  As such, tarnishing is a natural process and is not considered the result of a manufacturing fault, as is also the case with skin reactions. Factors which contribute to this are; the metals coming into contact with damp environments, prolonged exposure to UV light, and contact with perfume, body lotions, detergents, bleach, and secretions of the skin. Tarnishing can be prevented by regularly polishing all jewellery with a polishing cloth. It is worth noting that Pandora packaging is not tarnish proof and even when jewellery is not being regularly worn we would still advise to polish it to prevent tarnishing from occurring. 

I understand how disappointing this situation must be, so I would recommend taking the items back into your nearest local PANDORA store. Many PANDORA stores also have ultra sonic cleaning services available in store that can carried out for free, should this not change the appearance of the items they can also be sent to the European goldsmiths for assessment and professional cleaning.

I hope that the store are able to help further, but if you have any more queries please don’t hesitate to get back in touch.

These are the pictures:

So please, is this really just normal tarnishing after just 5 months? If so, why does it not improve with professional cleaning? Why does my other silver jewellery not tarnish, which HAVE come into all sorts of chemicals on a daily basis? Just doesn’t make sense to me!

This went on for a while and in the end, I had to give up as the situation was making me ill as I was still recovering from my heart attack. Pandora had made it perfectly clear they wanted nothing tarnishing their good name/reputation and would not agree that there was a fault with this bracelet.

I turned to Twitter recently to try again, once again a brick wall, oh they were nice at first suggesting taking it for a clean, contacting Cust. Serv but once I had explained I had already done this and sent them pictures, I got nothing further…..Not another correspondence from Pandora!! Complete radio silence!!

One can’t help feel Pandora’s Customer Service is as faulty as their bracelets!!!! So now I am stuck with a dirty ugly looking bracelet, I won’t be purchasing any more Pandora products, not with service like this!!

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Fanned out 5 pound notes with Money not good for dexterity problems

Is money slipping through your fingers?

24/3/19

I think we’re all familiar with the new money that has been circulating for some time now. These new £5, £10, £20 pound notes are somewhat fiddly buggers, to say the least. If like me, you suffer from dexterity problems, you will understand what I am about to tell you.

I am constantly dropping these notes due to the shiny surface they have, especially when against other notes, they seem to just slip right out of one’s hand! Folding them is near impossible too, they just bounce right back at you and fly all over the damn place. I believe they were designed not to be able to be folded. No, I have no ideas either. I think it was something to do with maybe keeping them in good condition for longer.

The idea they can not tear is obviously a good one. Who hasn’t torn their money by accident! But, because of this, I believe this design is what causes them to be so shiny.

I can’t help but wonder who actually thinks up these ideas and how much research/testing goes into such a major decision. Who is consulted in deciding if these things are suitable? Clearly not the right sort of people!

Do you have problems using the new money? Let me know in the comments below.

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Stacked shopping baskets in blue, red and green colours

Is Your Shopping Basket Accessible?

My local Asda only offers the wheelie baskets shown here:

I suppose under normal circumstances, these would do nicely but what if you’re in a wheelchair?  I find these impossible to use for a few reasons:  

  1. Not easy to steer around the store and manoeuvre your own chair.
  2. When at checkout, I’m unable to reach into the basket as it sits on the floor.
  3. Or they are too big and clumsy to put on your lap.


So I contacted Asda via Twitter and to my surprise, they responded: “Thank you for getting back to us! The store manager has advised as they are only a supermarket they only get wheely baskets, however, he has put in a request for the regular baskets! Fingers crossed the baskets will be available soon”. 

This is great if it happens!  I will keep you updated.

One thing bugs me though in their reply.  They say because they are only a supermarket they get wheely baskets???  Is that not what supermarkets do??  Supply shopping baskets for their customers??

***UPDATE*** 23/3/19

This store now have many baskets that I can use on my lap……..Result!!!!

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Woman shaded all in black holding up two dresses, one pink, one black

Fashion Sitting Down!

Someone on Twitter was talking about having some mannequins sitting down in fashion shops to help people in wheelchairs see how clothing would look while in a sitting position.

I personally love this idea and feel it would be a massive leap forward in the fashion industry.  I have bought too many bits of clothing and found them to look completely different in a sitting position as they do in a standing position.  There are many factors a wheelchair user has to take into account when purchasing clothing:

  • Trousers – How high do they come up the back, are they hipsters?  Are they buttoned/zipped/elastic waist – Some of us can only wear elasticated waist.
  • Skirts – Will the hem hang too far down and catch on my wheels?
  • Sleeves – Are they going to get destroyed by my wheels too quickly?

So, to be able to answer these questions before purchasing an item of clothing, taking it home to try it on (as not all of us are capable of using the changing rooms) then find it’s no good and have to make another trip back to the shop to return said item, would be a massive achievement!!

Yes, obviously there are some mannequins that are sitting down but, is there enough?  I don’t think there is.  We need these to be commonplace, like the wheelchair.

Don’t you agree??

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Argos self checkout machines too high

Argos say “Good height for wheelchair users”.

26/11/18 – Argos self-checkout machines too high for wheelchair users.

Argos self checkout machines too high

So I emailed Argos regarding their recently installed self-checkout machines.

This is what Argos had to say,”

I know your concern was about the height of the Quick Pay Kiosks. Having investigated further, it seems that the design of the kiosks is historic and none of the current designers know where the guidance was consulted at the time.

We are however aiming to ensure that new designs are more inclusive and I am working closely with the Store Format teams to ensure moving forward this is the case. We are also trialling other technology where you can browse for products and pay on the same terminal and these are more accessible. However, there will always be aspects of Argos stores that are not accessible for every customer, and when it occurs, our colleagues are always happy to assist (which is of course something Argos is required to do under the Equality Act 2010)”.

Hmm, she says the new terminals where you can browse and pay (presumably the ones pictured above) are more accessible.  Not quite sure about that!

I’m in a pretty high seated wheelchair and you can see below, the touchscreens are too high for me to use, it is above my head!  For a disabled person like myself who is unable to raise their arms past chest level and doesn’t have very good dexterity, this becomes an impossible task.  Now, remember, you have to pump in numbers or the name of the item you wish to browse/pay for on this screen.  Gonna take some time I reckon!  Yes indeed, staff may be required to assist under the EA 2010 but try finding one in the Hounslow branch! 

Cazbarr sat next to Argos self checkout machines

Argos said in a further email, replying to my email with a few suggestions:

“I went around one of our stores on Friday in a wheelchair (before your email came through) just to try to get a view of the barriers in store for wheelchair users, albeit it was the Liverpool Belle Vale store that has just been refitted with the Pay at Browse device. While it is a good height for a wheelchair user, the screen while lower than the kiosk that you mentioned, may well present an issue to a user who can’t reach higher than chest level. We will need to give some thought to how we make sure a wheelchair user can get close enough to the screen e.g. get their knees under the desk and still have the screen and the pay point within easy reach”.

Now I’m really not sure what machines she is talking about as it seems she has mentioned several.  As she mentioned the Liverpool branch has just been refitted with the new machines, I can only assume she is indeed talking about the ones pictured above.  Now, this being the case, how on earth can it be concluded these are a good height for wheelchairs??  You would definitely need to reach up past your head.  

The plus side is, Argos haven’t completely disregarded my comments or even my suggestions.  They do say they will give some thought on how to improve things, this is definitely a plus for Argos.

So now the waiting game and in the meantime, I still can’t go shopping independently!!!! 

Any questions, please don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

***UPDATE*** 27/11/19 – Argos self-checkout machines too high for wheelchair users.

Lowered counter with new argos self checkout machines

Argos have been true to their word!! They have indeed installed new LOWER machines in their Hounslow store. I was in the store last week and found these lowered machines to be much easier to use. Unfortunately, the machine at the lowered counter meant for wheelchair users wasn’t working. (I did report this).

The only slight issue is the fact if you’re not careful, you could very well hit your knees on the bottom of the machine. Other than that though, I say, good job Argos.

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Purple Tuesday £249 bn written in white against a purple square

Purple Tuesday, is it worth it?

14/11/18

Purple Tuesday has been and gone!  Did you go shopping?  Or did you stay at home because of the rumours that the DWP will be given CCTV footage so they can use it against claimants?  Yes, that’s right CCTV has in the past been given to the DWP for this purpose and guess who from?  Sainsbury’s!!

According to Disability News, they say:  

“Purple, the social enterprise formerly known as Essex Coalition of Disabled People, has secured the support of DWP for next week’s Purple Tuesday event but has denied that there is any “hidden agenda”.

Tuesday’s (13 November) event has also secured at least 14 high-profile partners, including retailers M&S, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Argos, and shopping centre owners such as intu and Landsec.

One of the partners, intu – which owns and runs shopping centres across the country – today (Thursday) refused to promise not to pass CCTV footage from the event to DWP, while Sainsbury’s has refused to answer questions.

But Disability Labour, which represents disabled people who are members of the Labour party – but is independent of the party itself – has called for a boycott of the event.

It has raised fears that those companies taking part could pass CCTV pictures from the day to DWP to use against disabled people who have made benefit claims.

It highlighted how Sainsbury’s has previously admitted that it occasionally passes CCTV pictures to DWP”.


Scary stuff that this can happen and the fact companies are willing to abuse their use of CCTV so willingly and feel they don’t have to “comment” on that fact, or be accountable!!!  I’m not going to debate about whether or not CCTV is good or bad but I never liked the fact that it was forced onto us, the public without consent or consultation.

So the purpose of Purple Tuesday was what exactly?  If you visit the Purple Tuesday website, this is what they say:  “The aim of Purple Tuesday is to make customer-facing businesses more aware of these opportunities and challenges and inspire them to make changes to improve the disabled customer experience over the long term”. Their slogan:  The UK’s first accessible shopping day!  Is in itself very confusing.  It suggests it is the very first day all retailers are going to be accessible!!  Eerr….No!  So straight away it is misleading.  PT was meant to highlight the difficulties disabled people have while out shopping and retailers were supposed to make a pledge to change at least one thing to help with accessibility.  Will it work?  I doubt that very much.  It was one day, on the quietest day of the shopping week.  Once the event is over, we will be forgotten again!  Over the next few days, I intend to go to my local high street & shopping centre and ask how they thought the event went.  I bet quite a lot of retailers will ask, what event was that?

A few retailers have been mentioned that are supporting PT but no real information regarding as to what these retailers plan to change or if they will be followed up to see if any changes have been made?  Has an audit been done to see what changes needed to be made to compare to any changes that may or may not have been done??

I hate to be so downhearted about this event because if it works, it will be a milestone movement for disabled people.  I, unfortunately, don’t believe this event will make the slightest change whatsoever.  I’ve had to contact the same company twice regarding access issues, so what does that tell you about how serious retailers are about accessibility?

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