Growing up, Pamela Daly was a dancer, but a tragic car crash changed her life forever.

“I broke my back,” Pamela says.

She now relies on a specialized wheelchair to get around.    

“I’ve been paralyzed for 51 years,” she says.

Pamela’s wheelchair is her lifeline and if it breaks, she needs it repaired as soon as possible.

“It’s just awful,” she says.

She says she was recently stuck at home for 10 weeks waiting for a technician to replace a front wheel.  

“It took weeks and weeks, and weeks.  You make a phone call.  No answer.  They don’t answer the phone.

I’m just furious,” Pamela says.

Disability experts say the repair system for customized / high-tech wheelchairs is broken. 

“People can be left stranded.  The level of consumer service seems to get worse every year,” Rick Glassman of the Disability Law Center says.  

Part of the problem, Glassman says, is that wheelchair repairs often require custom parts, which takes time.        

The other issue is, there are only a few companies that are approved by Medicaid to fix *these* wheelchairs in Massachusetts.               

“The companies involved don’t make money on repairs.  They make their money by selling wheelchairs,” Glassman says. 

“It boggles the mind that this could be acceptable,” wheelchair user, Chris Hoeh, says.

He was recently left stranded waiting for a new battery charger.  

“I was stuck on the side, literally down the hill.

It was very frustrating,” Chris says.

The new charger didn’t arrive for a month.   

Another wheelchair user, Peter Cronis, has experienced even longer delays.

“They’ve ordered this chip four times, and each time. They sent the wrong one,” Peter says.

He needs a new micro-chip for his wheelchair.  He has been waiting for a year.  

“I’m in limbo- I can’t do everything I need to do,” Peter says.

“We always sound like we’re exaggerating.

But if you talk to enough of us, you’ll see we’re not exaggerating,” Pamela says.

“It’s outrageous,” Chris says.

Glassman says these consumers need help.

“The State has to step in and level the playing field.  It’s really about trying to protect consumers in really basic ways when they’re stranded and when they need help and the company is not being responsive,” Glassman says.

7 investigates contacted the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.

They told us that anyone who has complaints with wheelchair repairs should contact them. Scan the QR code for links to reach them.

For 7 Investigates, I’m Jonathan Hall.

To file a consumer complaint with the AG’s office-

or contact the consumer hotline at (617) 727-8400.

To file a health care complaint with the AG’s office-

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