Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Caregiving: Dodge, Braun/IMS wear "white hats"

     Durable medical equipment can become part of your family, Such a role for a “thing” can be impossible to grasp from an outsider looking in because it is often improbable to even understand when you are involved. The difference between a wheelchair and a motorized wheelchair or scooter is infinitely more than machinery and money. The same is true of a wheelchair accessible vehicle. The “thing” becomes entwined in your life.         

     For twelve days since being last towed to service, our van has been diagnosed, tested, repaired, rediagnosed, retested, and rerepaired. Warranty coverage has been in effect or voided depending on latest diagnoses of originating problem. Dodge (vehicle manufacturer) and IMS (conversion manufacturer) have consulted and shared opinions as to what and who is responsible. The van was 20 miles over the conversion warranty and the repair bill ended up being $1,700.

     IMS and Braun have recently corporately merged, or one bought out the other, which only clouded the picture. IMS and Braun are the two leading manufacturers and former competitors of accessibility vehicle conversions. In the world of cola this would equate to Coke merging with Pepsi.

     Bottom line is some one prior to the 11 weeks ago that we bought the van drilled a hole in the casing that contains the track for the IMS conversion door, power fold out ramp, and all the wiring and circuitry for the conversion's electronics. Why? Speculation is that the hole was probably drilled to drain water that somehow must have gotten into the bottom of the track casing. However the mechanical dunderhead that came up with this insane solution also neglected to seal the hole back up so driving in rain or through puddles continuously splashed water also up into the track. Much like copper pipes in a basement that turn green, over time electrolysis had corroded sections of the track short circuiting not only the conversion but also Dodge vehicle systems.

     Dodge went to bat for us over the bill and the new Braun/IMS has a corporate conscience. Late this afternoon a representative of Braun/IMS showed up at the service department and paid the $1,700 bill in full. Dodge and Braun/IMS wear white hats in my book!

     11 weeks ago this “thing” didn’t even exist in our world. Now for months it has dominated our daily routine either by its use or absence. The stress of shopping for it, trying to borrow money to buy it, and struggling through repairs that have kept it inoperable for 20% of the time we have owned it has been too consuming.

     Yet the freedom and empowerment it provided Patti this evening is priceless. Simply being able to roll her in, pull up outside “our” Casa Mani coffeehouse, extend the ramp, and roll into the coffee house is the essence of ACCESSIBILITY. Conversation, laughter, jazz music, a couple slices of black forest cake, hot chocolate for Patti, and coffee for me is so much more than a 21st Century weeknight Bohemian outing.


  1. Way to go Braun/Ims for paying for the repair:) there still is good guys out there:) have a good week


  2. nice to hear that there are still companies that care and have integrity. I bet you will always remember them and speak fondly and kindly of them for years to come way past the life of the van. That is awesome! Bet the black forest cake was deliciously sinfully wonderfully good :)


  3. So glad Dodge and Braun took care of the problem... it meant so much for yours and Patti's life. Good news is rare these days... and good deeds by big companies still take place. You are right, they do wear the white hats... they are the Good guys! Makes me feel good just to read about it. Bea

  4. .........makes my day, we have been with Dodge and Braun for about 8 years with excellent service.  


Blog Archive