I was loyal and a devoted Invacare, power chair user for over 20 years. My first Invacare power chair was a rear wheel Storm. Built like a tank, it was extremely durable. I loved my first Invacare chair! The chair lasted a full decade before I had major issues with it. The chair was so reliable that it was sad for me to experience major breakdowns within it's last few years. I felt like I was losing an extension of myself.
My second Invacare chair a (TDX), was also well-made but only lasted eight years before I started having major issues with it. I thought for sure the chair would last for another two years just like my first Invacare chair.
I received my third Invacare chair, a (TDX SP) in February of 2012. It had problems from the very first week I received it. First I had trouble with the batteries and how far the chair could travel. The battery indicator on the joystick would drop to extremely low levels after traveling in the chair for only a mile.Second, when I would be driving the chair at full speed it frequently would just stop with without any warning. The chair would not flash any indication lights that would show something is wrong. If that wasn't enough, about every six months, I needed to replace my motors. As a concerned customer, I called Invacare, and I asked if they could help me to solve some of my technical problems with my chair. The Invacare spokesperson was not helpful. They told me to go back to my Durable Medical Equipment (DME) dealer where I bought the chair.
It was clear to me, that quality control had gone down considerably since owning my first Invacare chair. Then a friend of mine (who also used an Invacare chair) told me about the consent decree that Invacare entered into with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Due to the poor quality of my third wheelchair and it's countless needs for repairs in addition to the situation between the FDA and Invacare I was feeling quite betrayed by Invacare. After all I was a loyal customer for over 20 years but, in the end, I guess money meant more to Invacare then customer loyalty and quality control.
My chair had so many problems that on the anniversary of the chair turning only four years old a wheelchair mechanic strongly suggested that I start looking into getting a new power chair from a different company. This was because as of 2016 Invacare was stilll having quality control issues of some of there products. The sales representative of my DME company and my doctor also echoed the same sentiments as the mechanic, thus ending my 20+ relationship with Invacare.
In July 2017 the FDA lifted the consent decree. The situation between the FDA and the Invacare Corporation has presented me with more questions then I have answers at the moment. Such as will Invacare reach out to it's consumer base of both sales representatives and consumers with disabilities and specifically address the two elephants in the room:
1. Why should anyone trust the Invacare brand?
2. Has quality control really improved at Invacare since the concent degree was lifted? Only time will tell.