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Thread: (action needed) TiLite trying to stop online suppliers shipping internationally

  1. #11
    Senior Member DaleB's Avatar
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    Thanks for more information, 'OTR.

    As a trapped customer, I don't respect TiLite's unwillingness to deal directly with me, at a time of desperate need...when the chair is broken.

    I can only judge my world by trying to project myself into other people's shoes and ask myself: "What would I do?"

    I wouldn't prioritize dominating markets and supporting a dealer network in front of my customers, that's for sure.

    I would prioritize my customer's experience, through the entire life cycle of chair ownership.

    Quote Originally Posted by SCI_OTR View Post
    What is our "actionable intelligence"? As for myself, I haven't read or heard anything to support the belief that TiLite has any such plans!!.

    TiLite's primary objective as a business is to sell as many custom wheelchairs as they can in as many markets as possible.

    From a business perspective, preventing online retailers from selling internationally doesn't make any sense. (While a local dealer may not mind hearing a rumor like that, that still doesn't make it true).

    Why would it make sense for TiLite to tell their online dealers who they can and can not sell to? They are some of their biggest customers and most of them actually do a pretty good job of spec'ing out TiLite's over the phone (e.g. Jimbo from Sportaid or Scott from Bike-On).

    I believe the online vendor being referenced by the OP is SpinLife. They sell comparatively few highly custom ultralight wheelchairs. Instead, they have made a strategic decision not to go after international markets due to the products they sell.

    In additional to a high volume of less-costly standard products, SpinLife's product line also includes larger items like scooters, consumer powerchairs, and lifts. They are counting on selling these products in relatively high volumes at a significantly lower price than the local DME. Because the prospect of purchasing these types of products over the internet can be intimidating, free shipping and an assurance they have some sort of network in place to provide support locally after the sale become a key part of their strategy.

    SpinLife will ship things internationally, but they only accept payment from the US or Canada. That is the reason they block IP addresses that originate from other countries. It wouldn't make sense for them to turn their backs on all international customers because there were issues with one manufacturer that represents only a small portion of their sales.
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  2. #12
    Senior Member jschism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaleB View Post
    As a trapped customer, I don't respect TiLite's unwillingness to deal directly with me, at a time of desperate need...when the chair is broken.
    I would prioritize my customer's experience, through the entire life cycle of chair ownership.
    Sunrise Medical(Quickie) won't deal with people direct either. Would be curious to know how many actually DO deal directly with customer, other than Icon?

  3. #13
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jschism View Post
    Sunrise Medical(Quickie) won't deal with people direct either. Would be curious to know how many actually DO deal directly with customer, other than Icon?
    Have been able to deal directly with Invacare for parts in the past, and gotten excellent telephone help from their non-sales techs. Don't know their current policy. No, they weren't set up to easily deal with retail customers, but they listened and figured out how to help.

    Of course, no manufacturer wants to circumvent their dealer network. But in areas where the manufacturer has an inadequate network, or no network at all, then they should not leave the user hanging out to dry. TiLite dealer network is non-existent for 150 miles from my home. It sucks for several hundred miles more.
    Foolish

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

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  4. #14
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    I sent SCI_OTR a personal message about this and will leave it him to decide whether it is "actionable intelligence" or not -- he has far more knowledge and experience than I do.
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI_OTR View Post
    What is our "actionable intelligence"? As for myself, I haven't read or heard anything to support the belief that TiLite has any such plans!!. ...
    Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

  5. #15
    Senior Member DaleB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jschism View Post
    Sunrise Medical(Quickie) won't deal with people direct either. Would be curious to know how many actually DO deal directly with customer, other than Icon?
    I roll a Lasher. He does.

    I rolled a Marvel. They did.

    Top End. Check.

    RGK, ORacing, Scmhicking. Yup.

    It seems the large scale, north american, manufacturers have slightly different priorities.

    (I have a Quickie GT, too.)
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  6. #16
    It indeed sounds like there may be something afoot that would qualify as actionable. I need to find out more about the scope and underlying rationale.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutley View Post
    - I know in other retail markets, distributors will make manufacturers sign exclusive Distributor agreements so the distributor can garantee profits from its sales. Sound thinking IMO... As for whether that is happening in the wheelchair market, I'm not sure - It wouldn't surprise me tho. I know in Australia the Importer of Tilite wheelchairs has exclusive retial agreements with retailers in each state in Australia.
    That is the case in the US as well. Many local dealers despise online retailers, but TiLite has been unwilling to restrict such sales domestically. It makes no sense to try to prevent all international sales when they do not yet have an established a presence in many countries. I could understand if there were restrictions imposed due to regulatory or funding issues in a specific country, but a blanket policy sounds like bad business to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaleB View Post
    I roll a Lasher. He does. (Too small to establish a network. Even Sportaid did not sell them for long).

    I rolled a Marvel. They did. (They had no choice)

    Top End. Check. (Nope. Maybe Sports and Recreation products, but not wheelchairs. Same with Invacare. )

    RGK, ORacing, Scmhicking. Yup.

    It seems the large scale, north american, manufacturers have slightly different priorities.

    (I have a Quickie GT, too.) Nope.
    Invacare is headquartered in Elyria, OH but they are really a multi-national corporation. Given the reimbursement and regulatory environment here in the States, Invacare Europe and Kuschall could, in fact, play a much more significant role in the development/production of any new custom manual products. Although I have no knowledge of what is in their pipeline, any new models on the horizon may not even be sold here.

    Sunrise Medical is no longer a US company. They are actually headquartered in Germany.


  7. #17
    Member laidbacklen's Avatar
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    Just like what Sow Seng and Peter Tan said, I am so disappointed with TiLite's inconsiderate action. There is some equally good wheelchairs which I won't hesitate to buy or recommend to my friends.
    L1 Burst Fracture Incomplete
    19th February 1998
    TiLite ZRA Series 2 01/31/2011
    New Design Back Hardware replaced by TiLite 03/28/2011

  8. #18
    FWIW, Colours has dealt with me very directly multiple times. I'm friends with half the sales staff on Facebook, for Pete's sake.

    Gotta say, the things I hear about TiLite as a company have gotten very bad lately. It makes me very nervous about doing business with them with the chair I'm getting. I will be depending on their international supply at some point in the next couple years; I don't like the idea of a company where I'd even need to WORRY about things like this.

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by petertan View Post
    If I have to order a Tilite chair through a local dealer, which we don't have in Malaysia, and pay full retail, I might as well consider other brands that still allow online shops to ship internationally at more competitive prices.

    Many of us here use Tilite because we like its build and reliability and through word of mouth, many more are considering a Tilite for their next purchase. We do our own measurements or help others do their measurements without the support of a local dealer.

    I have been working on the measurements for the TR3 that I plan to get soon. I am very happy with my current ZRA S2, the measurements which were done with extremely helpful advice from CC forumers, and have never hesitated to recommend Tilite to friends looking for a new wheelchair. It will be unfortunate if Tilite enforces this rule as I have no choice but to look elsewhere for my next chair.

    At the same time, Tilite will lose all their current and future customers from Malaysia as we move to another brand and recommend the same to our friends. I respectfully urge Tilite to reconsider this policy for those of use who do not want to go through local dealers, have no local dealers or even have local dealers that don't spec the chairs correctly.
    I can vouch for this.

    I was looking into TR3 to replace my TR. if this seems to be the case, i dont have to think twice to turn my back on tilite. Its hard enough not having a dealer in our country,we have to go international to get our spare parts, which already costs us hundreds for shipping. Now u're pulling that out too?

    That sucks.

    Like Stephen Hawking used to said, "I have 1001 problems, and medical is every of them."

    Congratulations tilite! you have won yourself some haters!

    p/s : this is exactly what happened when a business runs on profit-oriented, not market-oriented. (cc. Icon, please take note.)
    walking is OVER-RATED!!!

    Broken in August 14th, 2003. T9-L1 complete.

  10. #20
    Tilite is a typical company IMO. When they first start out their customer service is fantastic. As they grow or are bought out, their service drops down to 0.

    I'm sure as Lasher, Oracing and some of the other newer companies grow, their service will decline also.

    I'm sure I'll get the " Oh ----- will never do that." Bull, I've seen it from every w/c company in the last 40 years.

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