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Beware, next time you're "given" something...

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    Beware, next time you're "given" something...

    So a few weeks ago I meet the other "wheelie" here in my little apartment complex.
    Long story longer, I happened to mention how my shoulders are getting torn up from pushing this here manual chair.
    Shortly there after, he decides to "give" me this.
    Apparently, it wasn't a "gift".

    What follows is what I've tapped out over at wheelchairJunkie and NewMobility, so maybe if you haven't seen it there, you'll see it here and learn from my mistake.

    On with the show:

    posted 10-12-2003 01:21 PM

    Allright, so remember the 'vintage' powerchair I was given awhile back?
    It's this one:

    It had a few things wrong with it, first and foremost being it didn't move.
    I took it to the local powerchair shop for a checkup, and the guy told me the batteries contained 3.5 volts each, so he couldn't check anything untill they were re-charged.
    So, I brought it back home, put the batteries in a 12 volt configuration, and hooked them to my car charger, since apparently the stock chair charger needs at least 20 volts (in 24 volt configuration) to start charging, else it gives a fault and won't do anything.
    While it was charging, I set up my hose and gave it a bath, being careful to not douse the control box too bad, as even though I suspected it was sealed well, that doesn't mean you can immerse electronics in the sink and expect them to still work.
    It had quite a thickness of dust, and absolutely stank of patchouli. (You know, " dirty hippy", as in that "I haven't showered for 5 months so I'll just cover the smell with This....")

    So anyway, I got the thing clean(ish), and after about half a freakin bottle of fabreze, I could come home without thinking I had a sudden infestation of whirling dervishes.

    Now since this thing is what it is, and being 20" wide and 16" deep, when I ride a chair 16" wide and 20" deep, there's no way it would fit me, and I wouldn't get caught dead in it anyway, I decided to make it into something useful.
    A power-mule.
    Something I could hoist something heavy onto, and drive somewhere. Unloading the van by myself would suddenly become quite easy, as would lugging around my welder or my 21 inch monitor, or a plant in a 10 gallon pot. I even had thoughts of building a scissor lift into it, so I could slide said heavy thing on, and hoise it up to table (or whatever) level.

    So I stripped the chair. Cowlings, arm-rests, and back, gone. Tossed in the trash. I didn't need them. I was going to take the seat off as well, but didn't get to it. Pretty much my intention was to strip it to the motors / frame and see if I even wanted to keep the frame, or build a new one, suitable to my application.
    Then I went off to other things while the bateries charged.
    Well, they wouldn't take a charge, and actually vented. I spent enough time in the military to know what that smells like... So I went and purchased (206$ worth) of trick deep-cycle batteries, and plugged them in. Just for kicks, I hooked them to the charger, not knowing how long they'd been on the shelf.
    Finally I get the green light, so I changed the batteries back to 24 volts, turned the chair on, and got 5 red "beeps" from the joystick light. "What the hell does that mean?" I wondered. Called up the chair shop, and the guy there said he would bring his decoder over and have a look. Turns out the left motor something something is bad. So the controller box is dead. No worries, I figured, there's always e-bay.
    Yup, picked up another controller box for 75 bucks, delivered.

    No, it's not the same kind, but with a little electrical twiddling, I can make it work.

    WEll, before I got the chance, the guy who gave me the chair calls and tells me he wants it back. What?! Yeah, when he said "give" apparently he meant "Borrow my non-working POS, fix it for me, then bring it back."
    Oh, and he wants it back in origional (working) condition because it worked when he parked it however long ago.
    Nice huh?
    So now, I've got to find those parts I chucked and the garbage guy took away, and get a new controller box because I apparently fried it when I hit it with the hose. So he says.

    So.... I figure I'll do my best, just to get out from under the thing. I got cowlings from the powerchair shop, but they don't have arm-rests. A sling back is 25 bucks. The control box is a whole 'nother deal however. I figure since I never saw it move, how do I know the box wasn't dead before I got it? So, I'm going to find out how much it's going to be to fix the thing, and give the dude half.
    'Cource he's NOT excited about that at all. "It worked when you got it!" With dead batteries and flat tires? Ok....

    It's been such a mess I want to get as far as possible from the thing. I'm going to fix it as best I can, and give it back. he's not going to like the no arm-rests and half the price of a new controller option, but that's the way it's going to be, as you don't let someone borrow something, and expect them to fix it for you (for free) and them give it back, do you?
    Another thing that really burns me is that he's got extra controllers, and another chair just like it (another "spare") where the arm-rests can come from, but wants me to buy new stuff for it. (NOT used, NEW!) Yes, the other chair will be missing a few pieces, but how many chairs can you use at the same time?

    Oh yeah, here's another option he gave me. He bought it for $700, and used it for a couple years. I put $200 into it for bateries, so I can buy it from him for $500. That sounds fair right? Because things appreciate when you use them.

    Sigh. What a mess this has become.

    I picked up a set of motors-and-wheels (on ebay...) for 100$ delivered, and I'm going to use those and my controller to build my mule. I'll have to weld up a frame, but so what, I was going to do that anyway.

    posted 10-14-2003 02:21 AM

    So I came home to a message on the machine today.
    It was the former owner of this chair... Wanting to come to an understanding. He says we could write down that A) He would pay me for the tires and batteries, in due time, if B) I would pay for the professional restoration of the chair, in due time.
    I could just bring the chair back.
    However, he would not just bring it back, he would "Do the right thing."
    Now it's not like I haven't been trying to replace the parts, even though I don't really feel I am under any obligation to do so, but that pretty much tore it. I never did replace the tires, (why the hell would I do that, if I couldn't get it to move?) and there's no way I was giving up my 200$$ worth of batteries.
    So, I got what parts I had, put them together with the old batteries, and had Nicole roll the thing over there.
    She left it on his ramp.
    I called him, got his voicemail, and said "It's on your ramp. So there you go."
    Not 5 minutes later I get a call about how the chair was sideways on his ramp, he had no way to get out of his house, and if Nicole didn't come over within 2 minutes to move the thing in his house ther ewas going to be "hell to pay" or somesuch.
    I hadn't bothered to answer the phone, and unfortunately have ereased that message.
    So... We went over there, she pushed it in his house, and as we left he yelled "I'll see you in court!" to which I replied "I look forward to it."
    So then, about 30 minutes later, the phone rings again, I didn't pick it up again, as I didn't want to hear a rant, and just listened to the machine.
    He's quoting prices:
    Cowlings: $150
    (The dealer gave me a set, unfortunately they don't fit)
    Sling style back: $110
    (dealer says $25)
    Used control module: $1200
    (dealer says repair for less than $100)

    Then goes on to something about I don't know who I'm dealing with, what's going to happen, yada yada yada... I pretty much stopped listening by then.

    We did however go get locking gas caps for both cars, figuring popped tires and busted windows and whatever are insured, but a blown engine because there was a "gift" in the gas was not. Pretty much anything else we're not all that concerned about, and we have him on the machine with that little rant.

    So, I'm very happy to be out from under that thing. As an adde3d bonus, I got notice that my motors from Canada are here, at the post office. So I have all the parts I wanted to begin with for my power-mule.

    In retrospect, had he come to me weeks ago and said "I made a mistake when I said you could have the chair. I need it back, please" I would have done all I could to get it back in the condition it was in when I got it.
    But that was not the case. I believe that he thinks that just because I get $2,700 a month, and he gets only $700 (so he says, but then how does he eat, when rent here is $660 a month?) if he makes a big enough deal about it I will just cough up the $$ to make it go away.
    In case you hadn't noticed, I'm unwilling to do that.
    Now if a Judge makes the decision for me, I'll write the check right there. But I seriously doubt that will happen.

    We shall see what we shall see.

    So the next time a "nice guy" "gives" you something, make absolutely sure it's been "given" and he's not going to want it back later.

  • #2

    you are a much better person than I!! I would have told him to get bent from the moment he mentioned it was not given, but loaned...if he was just "loaning" it to you, he should have been very clear about that. I think he did give it to you and then changed his mind. What an ass! You are a good guy tried to make it right for him anyway. I admire that! Carol [img]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]


      Sounds like a class act, he sees you spent some time fixing it up and then wants it back after donating the heap to you rather than letting it continue to rot away in his garbage pile. You surely did more than I would do, I would tell him to get bent.


        ahhhhh Sorry Krs [img]/forum/images/smilies/frown.gif[/img]

        But indeed, some people DO give from their strings attached..
        Live for that [img]/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif[/img]

        "every man is my superior, that I may learn from him"
        ..'to be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause...'


          krs, I wouldn't worry about being a feature on Judge Judy.

          Agreed with Piglet, Andy. Tell him...

          All in all a great lesson learned heh?



            If this person does take you to Small Claims Court, can you keep us updated on this situation? I have never watched "Home Improvement," staring Tim Allen, but these modifications made to the wheelchair reminded me of this program because you were turning it into a "power mule." [img]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]

            The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom
            --General George Patton

            Complex problems need to be solved collectively.
            ––Paul Nussbaum


              krstofer, this guy is clearly a con man and he's more than likely done this sort of thing before. try and snoop around and find some others that may have had a similuar encounter and you may have a witness or two when you go to court. but don't let this guy get away with this if he trys once he will try again. good luck lol gloria