KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Every time the pavement changes, even just a slight incline, Caleb Huffstutter’s wheelchair freezes.
“It just stops me dead in my tracks,” Huffstutter said as he tried to roll into the parking lot at his Kansas City home.
The reason is a missing front wheel on his four-wheel wheelchair. The two wheels on the front are small, but play an important role in maneuvering the chair.
“I lost a couple of the ball bearings, and the wheel stopped turning,” Huffstutter said.
In July, Huffstutter complained to Rehab Medical of Kansas City, the company that sold him the wheelchair. In August, Rehab Medical sent out a repair man, Huffstutter said.
“One guy spent like 90 minutes trying to fix this because he didn’t know how long it was going to take them to get the parts,” he said.
But the repair didn’t work. That was four months ago.
Every time he called Rehab Medical about his new part, he said he just hears excuses about delays caused by missing paperwork from his doctor or COVID problems or slow response times from Missouri Medicaid.
FOX4 Problem Solvers asked other wheelchair companies what the typical wait time was for their customers. They said even during a pandemic, no customer has to wait more than 35 days.
Huffstutter’s wasn’t the only complaint we received about Rehab Medical.
We also heard from a woman who said her wheelchair batteries stopped holding a charge two weeks after buying the chair. Although she’s complained multiple times to Rehab Medical and asked for new batteries, she never got any – even though the chair was still under warranty. It’s now been months since she’s used the wheelchair because the don’t work at all.
So FOX4 Problem Solvers paid a visit to Rehab Medical on Marion Ridge Road in Kansas City. Rehab Medical is a national company with an A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau.
We spoke with Kenneth in charge of sales for the location. He disputed Huffstutter’s claim that he’d been waiting four months. But Kenneth told us he was making the wheel replacement a priority and, in fact, planned to replace both by this week.
Kenneth said the other wheelchair’s battery problem appeared to have been caused from misuse by the customer – that’s something the customer fervently denied. However, Rehab Medical said it had reviewed her file and decided to replace both her batteries for free.
Two problems that appear on their way to being solved. We’ll let you know what happens.