Bouldering in Joshua Tree

Bouldering in Joshua Tree
Ronnie 15 feet off deck on the classic White Rastafarian.

Friday, August 19, 2011

C-leg post update!

Last week I posted about how Otto Bock Healthcare was optioning not to cover the extended warranty on my C-Leg because of “corrosion.” The letter made a splash on the internet and made it back to Otto Bock corporate. They immediately made this of notice with my local sales representative, who made a point to stop by our facility and have a chat with me immediately. He was understandably upset that I had not contacted him first in this situation, and given him the opportunity to take care of these charges. There are several reasons why I chose to handle the situation through the internet first, most notably because Otto Bock has a reputation for being “sticklers”. They are a company that gives no freebies, no matter how small, and handles every situation straight by the book and it has never been any different in all of my dealings with them in the past.

The representatives from Otto Bock informed me that the US portion of the company is undergoing a personality change that puts the customer first. This is coming from direction under their new American CEO that is hoping to change courses from their German roots. They hope to be able to address all needs quickly and efficiently, and provide superior care to their customers. You biggest advocate at the company will be your sales representative, but they assured that the customers voice will be heard through nearly any channel in the company.

I personally think this is a great step in the right direction for Otto Bock, and will look forward to seeing how their dealings with customers manifest themselves in the future. It is one thing to talk the talk, and another to walk the walk. Only time will tell.

I also received news that they were going to repair my C-leg at no cost. I was happy about this news, but also hope that had this been any other patient they would have received the same treatment. My name has started to carry a certain amount of clout with it, as an amputee athlete, active user, and prosthetist, but I hope this was not a primary reason that they chose to honor their warranty concerning my C-leg. I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

So here is the 411.  The C-leg warranty stands now at $5,700. I had extensive damage on mine, and that clocked in right at $2,162. It is very unlikely that any patient will accrue $5,700 worth of damage on their C-leg, and most likely if that is the case it will not be covered because its usage would be out of the terms of the warranty which does not protect against corrosion of any kind, however natural it may be. It is most likely in the user’s benefit to pocket the money, store it in their own private account and pay to get the leg fixed when need be. The C-leg already comes with a two year warranty. At the two year mark it will get serviced on the company’s tab. This in itself should keep the knee functioning reasonably for many years.

It is also in the user’s best benefit to not purchase the warranty of the C-leg if they believe they will do anything to violate the terms of the warranty. That way they can guarantee coverage (coming from their own pocket) that the knee will be fixed. Let me also point out that the C-leg warranty is void if another manufacturer’s foot is used such as a Freedom Innovations or Ossur foot. Otto Bock has notoriously had stiff and unresponsive feet in the past (there are some new models out now, which I have not had the opportunity to try so I will hold judgment), hence leading many to use another manufacturer’s feet on their C-legs. This VOIDS the warranty and extended warranty. If you feel you need to use another manufacturer’s feet you are best going with the Freedom Innovations Plie 2.0.

If you are having issues with warranty coverage on your C-leg contact your Otto Bock sales representative. They are your number one point of contact. If the complaint or issue is within reason (e.g. you did not fall into a pool with your C-legs) they have the power to handle it. Make your voice heard if they do not handle your claim within a timely manner. Contact others in the company, or let others know of your experience at your prosthetist’s office or through the internet. We as patients and users in the field have a voice if we choose to use it! 

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