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Thread: Tilite won't repair my chair!!

  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by August West View Post
    It's not my imagination. You have seen people selling products here. That requires them to protect the interests of the manufacturer. Can they protect the interests of the manufacturer and the end user? Sometimes but not always. That's just a fact.
    Nonsense.

    What seems to have gotten lost here is that Stephen is attempting to help resolve a member's problem. He may be leveraging his business relationship, but he is doing so for the benefit of the member and stands to gain nothing. If that strikes you as a conflict of interest, then I guess he is guilty.

    The President of Roho, Tom Borcherding, also monitors these forums. I don't think I've ever seen anything posted by Tom that comes close to resembling a sales pitch. He is simply helping members who have issues with his company's products. Should we banish him? He doesn't even have an SCI!
    Last edited by SCI_OTR; 06-03-2019 at 08:00 PM.


  2. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI_OTR View Post
    Nonsense.
    What part is nonsense? Next time you need a lawyer, will you want the same lawyer representing you as the other party? Or do you want someone whose interests are 100% aligned with yours? It would be foolish to have it any other way.

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI_OTR View Post
    Nonsense.

    What seems to have gotten lost here is that Stephen is attempting to help resolve a member's problem. He may be leveraging his business relationship, but he is doing so for the benefit of the member and stands to gain nothing. If that strikes you as a conflict of interest, then I guess he is guilty.

    The President of Roho, Tom Borcherding, also monitors these forums. I don't think I've ever seen anything posted by Tom that comes close to resembling a sales pitch. He is simply helping members who have issues with his company's products. Should we banish him? He doesn't even have an SCI!
    You added to your post after I asked "what part is nonsense?" so I'll address it here. A conflict of interest can exist even with the best of intentions. An example - and the only reason I brought this up at all - is because I brought up a safety issue with TiLite's product and they ignored it. They didn't say why. They didn't engage in any meaningful discussion trying to remedy the safety issue. They just changed my spec to what they wanted without commenting. This went on for several months, not days, not weeks, but months. The least they could do is talk to me if not directly, at least through the DME. When I insisted on a phone call, the DME cancelled the order saying it was too much work, I was being too difficult, or something like that. All I asked for is some dialog. How is that being too difficult? Whose best interest was the DME protecting? Certainly not mine. I later found out that the DME wasn't making the profit they wanted so that's the reason they were refusing to do any work. I'm sure they wanted the best for me. But their interests were not aligned with mine so I got no representation.

    I got a new DME who is head and shoulders better than the previous one. He said he would go to bat for me and he did. But TiLite continued to stonewall. Their only response was to send me a CAD drawing that was not what I requested. Each CAD drawing was different from what I requested and different from the previous one in some inexplicable way. For example, the bottom horizontal tube by the COG on drawing 1 was curved (as it was spec'ed) but it was square on drawing 2 for no apparent reason. Now on top of not getting what I asked for, I also had to correct their mistakes. It was like there was no continuity, no reason, no follow up. It was like I was starting fresh with a new person with each CAD. Basically, their message was in not so many words, "You won't get what you want. You'll take what we give you." After months of this nonsense, they finally sent me a CAD drawing with what I requested. I was expecting to be required to sign some disclaimer saying that my specs don't meet TiLite stability standards, which may explain the delay and stonewalling. But there was no such note, so my request was always within their standards from day one. But then it get's worse. Right before placing the order, I get an e-mail from the DME saying "TiLite wants to know if you will accept this alternate CAD?" Are you kidding me? After all this, they are going back to square one without any explanation. I said no and they didn't push back. Now I am waiting on my chair. Keeping my fingers crossed that there won't be any surprises.

    Forgive me for being upset. But you go through this and then hear people trying to defend TiLite and see how sporting you are anymore about it. I just want someone on my side without needing to keep TiLite happy. Is that asking too much?

    I'm a reasonable person. If there is something I don't know, then talk to me. Let me know what's happening. That could change my entire attitude. But don't keep me in the dark for months and then tell me "they ain't so bad" without any explanation. That's not going to fly. I realize that the people here have nothing to do with this history. I just don't need to hear anyone defending TiLite at this point when they should be defending me. We're all adults here. Let's not sugarcoat this. We all know people here have their interests aligned with TiLite. We all know they they want the best for everyone. But if they had to chose a side, it wouldn't be mine for obvious reasons, which I found out the hard way with the first DME. That's not nonsense. That's reality. Put yourself in my shoes and you may not call it nonsense.
    Last edited by August West; 06-03-2019 at 10:14 PM.

  4. #34
    If there's a fray emerging here -- and I hope not because there's a sordid history of that here across a bunch of forums from long ago -- I will happily decline stepping into it. FWIW, my involvement with Bike-On barely rises to the level of side hustle. I don't consider myself a part of the DME world as it's generally understood. I've assisted many non-customers, including many CCers, with questions about ordering chairs, brainstorming ideas, where I've had no stake in the outcome. In many ways my involvement is an offshoot of the peer support that this forum has provided to so many. I also want to make clear that I hold no allegiance to any manufacturer, carry water for none of them, and have never shied away from going to bat for my customers when disputes, misunderstandings, botched orders arise. And not to suggest that I was being implicitly called out in the comments above, I would like to make clear that while a conflict of interest is imaginable in theory, my own sense of scruples, integrity, and identity as a consumer is always paramount.
    Last edited by stephen212; 06-04-2019 at 02:01 AM.

  5. #35
    Senior Member pfcs49's Avatar
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    stephen212, I'm fine with you. You sound like a level headed and accomplished "helper".
    Some people take themselves too seriously sometimes. I can understand most of that! (not dressed to Steven)
    Sometimes I get mighty tired of not getting my needs met because of this fucking situation (paralysis), and I become unreasonable.
    I think we can all just calm down, now!
    20 or 30 years from now, what will it matter?
    69yo male T12 complete since 1995
    NW NJ

  6. #36
    I should of just waited for Stephen to defend his own honor. I must say however, that referring to any of us as DME's is truly inaccurate. It also seems that we're bearing the brunt of frustrations that we have absolutely nothing to do with. Personally, I just share information here because I sincerely want to help others. Custom wheelchairs are deceivingly difficult to spec. Relatively few therapists or DME's do them well, nor do they appreciate how seemingly small details to them can make or break the outcome. The end user must be involved in the process.

    I fully agree that you should have been given an explanation of what the "no go" issue was with your proposed specs. While I'm not familiar with the specifics, it sounds like one of the issues was that the engineers felt the need to move the rear axle back--hence the change to a square rear frame. You absolutely have a right to know why they felt it was a stability issue. Your DME or local territory rep should have been able to explain this when they got the CAD. If they couldn't explain it, then they should have been able to get an explanation from engineering.

    While, it is entirely reasonable to contact TiLite customer service, they obviously don't have an effective mechanism for communicating technical information to the end user in the field.

    Unfortunately, customer service reps aren't engineers, most don't understand the technical side of the product, and I doubt very many use wheelchairs. Keep in mind that using a wheelchair is something that is outside the realm of one's personal experience unless you have the misfortune to need one.

    In your case, there was obviously a breakdown that prevented TiLite from getting you the technical rationale for their decision.

    As I posted in another thread, TiLite has become a victim of their own success and they have struggled to maintain their identity since being acquired by Permobil. They are the last of the major manufacturers of built to spec titanium wheelchairs. Who knows if they will continue to be sustainable in the years ahead.

    That's not making excuses , that's simply telling it like it is.

    I think you should contact TiLite's head of Customer Service, Mark Westphal. I wouldn't want his job. I imagine he's constantly putting out fires, but he's helped me in the past. His email is Mark.Westphal@permobil.com.

    FWIW, he may not be happy that I posted that. But as I said, my only reason for posting here is to help.


  7. #37
    I know everyone here is here to help. I shouldn't be taking it out on anyone here. It's just been so frustrating that it helps just to be heard and know it matters. It's refreshing to hear what you just said. Thank you.

  8. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by pfcs49 View Post
    ..............................................Some times I get mighty tired of not getting my needs met because of this fucking situation (paralysis), and I become unreasonable.
    I think we can all just calm down, now!
    20 or 30 years from now, what will it matter?
    Now, there is forward thinking for you

    It doesn't help August that much though.

    SCI_OTR has made comment on DME's not being engineers, nor maybe engineering minded; couple that up with some being piss poor at representing their clients, plus the multi layered corporate stonewall plan and we can be well and truly farkd.
    That stonewall plan is to make life easier and who could not agree with having an easier life?
    Well, maybe the stonewallers need to suffer something similar then spend a few years in a chair, or a lifetime. Then maybe they may gain a whole new perspective on customer relations in this special field.

    August, I think your story is deserving of its own thread. And it is true, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar but sometimes we just want to swat the buggers. Right?

  9. #39
    Not DME's. The customer service representatives who answer the phones at TiLite (or any other custom mobility equipment manufacturer).


  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI_OTR View Post
    Not DME's. The customer service representatives who answer the phones at TiLite (or any other custom mobility equipment manufacturer).
    You are correct; I misread your post.
    I think that the specifics of design for a wheelchair for any individual are such that there could be much lost in translation as the process of design and creation pass through the channels. Cad drawings are specific enough but if any party to the process does not have the ability to fully understand technical drawings then there are more than even chances for disappointment by the end user.
    Even worse when the example that August has presented occurs. You would have to be forgiven thinking that when TiLite were sending differing CAD drawings, they were being obstructive at worst or at least, someone was taking the piss.

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