Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- A disabled man in Syracuse is stuck inside because the company that sold him his scooter won’t come by to fix it. In fact, he can’t even get through to them. And, unfortunately, he may not be the only one that doesn’t get an answer from “The Scooter Store.”
Maurice Webb had his right leg amputated due to vascular disease. Now, the 57-year-old is lost without a working scooter.
“That is my leg there you know. It’s my lifeline. It connects to my food, my money, my business – everything,” Webb told NewsChannel 9.
His scooter, when it was working, gave him the independence to go anywhere, even back home to Brooklyn.
"They fold it up, put it on the bus and I go to New York, you know. I'm gone. I'm there,” Webb continued.
But a few weeks ago, his scooter from “The Scooter Store,” paid for by Medicare five years ago stopped working.
Scooter Store reps from Rochester stopped by last week to take a look at Webb’s scooter. It turns out it needs a new right motor.
The reps – expected to return last Friday – have yet to show up and fix the broken motor. Countless calls by Webb, during business hours, have gone unanswered.
Apparently, most of The Scooter Store’s employees were placed on unpaid furlough last week in the wake of a Medicare Fraud investigation.
Maurice is now using crutches to get around, but even a quick trip downstairs leaves him out of breath due to pulmonary edema, and a trip across the street is a nearly an impossible task.
"I'm just dead now. I don't know what to do,” Webb said.
NewsChannel 9 called to some local businesses that service scooters like Webb’s and after hearing his story, Rothschild’s in Syracuse agreed to give Webb a loaner, free of charge, while they work with Medicare to get him a new one.
If your scooter breaks you can take it to get fixed elsewhere, if you pay out of pocket, but for those on Medicare it’s nearly impossible.
Businesses like Monroe Wheelchair need a long list of information from the original supplier in order to be reimbursed for the repair.
“And we're sometimes able to do that with other suppliers but we've never been able to do that with the scooter store in the past and we definitely are unable to do that now because they don't even answer the phone,” said Monroe Wheelchair President Doug Westerdahl.
If you purchased your scooter in 2011 or later, it’s now considered a rental and an outside business can’t touch it.
"The original supplier of the product, whether it be the scooter store or whomever, is responsible to maintain that product for the life of the product,” continued Westerdahl.
Westerdahl also said that The Scooter Store investigation has to do the business allegedly giving the okay for scooters to people who don’t qualify under Medicare. And you’ll be hare pressed to find someone willing to fix a scooter you might not have been eligible for in the first place.
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