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Caught in a blame game over my lost £3,000 wheelchair

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I am a sporty wheelchair user and rely on an adapted Segway to reach the great outdoors. This was “lost in transit” by UPS on its way to a repair five months ago. It’s worth several thousand pounds and I’m stuck without it. Segway had arranged for UPS to collect it from my home. Since then, I have chased both companies to no avail. UPS will not deal with me directly because I wasn’t the sender, and Segway tells me UPS requires a further 10 weeks to investigate.
NW, Eastbourne

Your disgraceful plight dragged on for a further two months after I got involved. Segway told me that it was at the mercy of UPS and its dilatory timescales and, at one point, claimed that it’s not liable for loss or damage of products in transit. That’s nonsense. It is responsible for ensuring its customers get what they pay for. If a subcontractor messes up, it should make sure that the customer is not disadvantaged while sorting it out. Segway should therefore have compensated you and claimed the sum back from UPS.

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The bottom line is that, unbelievably, it insured your equipment according to its weight, rather than value, so that when UPS did finally pay up, it was only £219 for a chair worth more than £3,000. Not that even that paltry sum made its way to you. Segway, as UPS’s customer, was the recipient. Segway twice offered you a temporary replacement, before falling silent again. Since the company announced last year that it was ceasing production of its personal transporters, and winding up its UK factory, it seems stock was hard to come by. A senior manager tried to pass the blame on to you for dispatching the equipment in a custom-made carrier, rather than the original cardboard packaging, and for not accepting the temporary alternative that was never produced.

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Eventually, you had to pay £3,400 for a replacement on eBay and Segway refused to meet the cost. Seven months after your chair went missing, the threat of legal action altered its tone. It has now refunded the £762 that you had paid for the repair and a paltry £750 towards your losses. UPS blamed the delayed claim on a third-party broker used by UPS. It says: “We take the delay or non-delivery of any shipment extremely seriously. We regret the stress and inconvenience caused.”

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