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Wheelchair Profiteering, Part V: Unneeded Upselling – Erik Kondo

Profiteering by Upselling Unneeded Assistive Technology This type of profiteering happens when the upselling is for items that the wheelchair user doesn’t actually need or are actually detrimental to their mobility. If you study the grid below, you can see that sometimes more assistive technology is beneficial for wheelchair users and sometimes it is detrimental.

In the real world, using assistive technology is a trade-off between the advantages and disadvantages created its presence. Frequently, the negative consequences are unforeseen or not considered until it is too late. As a practical matter, it is hard to imagine problems created by something you have never used before. You don’t know what you don’t know.

From the standpoint of the For-Profit Wheelchair Industry selling more assistive technology consistently leads to more profits (especially when it doesn’t need to get repaired and just gets replaced). Therefore, the upselling strategy is a winner for the Industry. Whereas, buying an assistive technology product/upgrade, that you don’t actually need (or has negative consequences), is a losing proposition for wheelchair users. Therefore, the interests of wheelchair users and the For-Profit Wheelchair Industry are NOT always aligned. In fact, sometimes, they are opposed.

For example, even if the Industry gets it “right” 66% of the time, that that means 1/3 (33%) of wheelchair users are regularly losing out. This problem is a systemic flaw. The For-Profit Wheelchair Industry has no incentive to minimize this flaw. In fact, they have every incentive to increase it as time goes on.

The goal of the For-Profit Wheelchair Industry is to sell the maximum amount of assistive technology at the highest profit margin possible.


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