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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2007
Wheelchair company agrees to comply with sales laws

OLYMPIA – A New Jersey company accused of making illegal misrepresentations while selling motorized wheelchairs to Washington consumers agreed to reform its sales practices, refrain from future violations and provide consumers with a 14-day cancellation period for any motorized wheelchair under a settlement with the Attorney General’s Office.

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division accused Electric Mobility Corporation, which manufactures Rascal scooters, of unlawful trade practices, including misrepresenting the quality and characteristics of its products and consumers’ ability to be reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid. The Sewell, N.J., company was also accused of using coercive sales tactics, misrepresenting its refund policies and failing to repair or replace defective merchandise.

Electric Mobility denied the state’s allegations but agreed to enter into an Assurance of Discontinuance filed today in Thurston County Superior Court. The company will pay more than $15,400 in attorneys’ fees and legal costs.

“The agreement helps ensure that consumers have all the important information they require to determine whether to purchase one of Electric Mobility’s wheelchairs,” said Assistant Attorney General Jim Sugarman. “If a consumer finds that the wheelchair is not suited to their needs, they may return the chair at no charge within two weeks. If the company fails to comply with required disclosures or violates any consumer protection law, the state can seek substantial civil penalties.”

Under the agreement, Electric Mobility promised to make certain disclosures in its sales documents. It must state whether and how Medicare or Medicaid may pay a portion of the wheelchair’s cost, disclose whether the chair is new or refurbished and provide a description of any warranty. All disclosures must be made clearly and conspicuously before the consumer is asked to sign a sales agreement. The company also agreed to assist each consumer in reading and understanding its sales agreements.

The company will also include certain disclosures on its Web site and in advertisements, contest forms and other promotions. Consumers must be informed that by entering an Electric Mobility contest they agree to receive telemarketing calls from Electric Mobility unless they specifically opt out of such calls.

Electric Mobility must provide an opportunity for consumers to evaluate products in their home prior to purchase, including determining whether the consumer will be able to maneuver the chair in and out of their residence (unless this evaluation is for some reason impossible).

If Electric Mobility arranges financing it must reveal all the terms of the loan at the time of the sale and whether the loan is provided by Electric Mobility or another lender.

Finally, the company must provide the Attorney General’s Office with copies of any complaints it receives from Washington residents during the coming year.

DOCUMENTS

Electric Mobility Assurance of Discontinuance
Court Order Approving AOD

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Media Contacts: Kristin Alexander, Media Relations Manager, (206) 464-6432
Jim Sugarman, Assistant Attorney General, (206) 389-2514

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