Bouldering in Joshua Tree

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

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Otto Bock's C-leg warranty lies!

Hi, my name is Ronnie Dickson. I have been an above the knee amputee for six years now. I have been using a second generation Otto Bock C-Leg for four and a half of those years. The C-leg was a big investment for both me and my family. We are an average, modest, middle class family that is by no means swimming in money.  I was eighteen at the time of purchase, so my family played a big role in helping me purchase the knee. The C-leg bills out for a hefty $25,000. Insurance only covered 80% of the cost, so we paid the rest of the cost out of pocket ($5,000). Having made such a substantial investment into my healthcare we decided to take the option for the extended warranty that would change the coverage from two years to five years. This was an extra $5,000. We believed that this extra cost would help us protect our investment so that I could enjoy and use it for many years to come. We were wrong.

I will start out by saying that the C-leg has been a wonderful addition to my life. It has helped me go about life without even thinking about it and has kept up with me no matter what the activity. I have used it actively, and have been able to live the way I always imagined. I started having trouble with my usually reliable C-Leg about four years after purchase. My plug did not always charge, my battery was not holding the same life it used to, and knee did not feel as smooth as it previously did. I understand this is normal wear and tear, but I also knew that I had attempted to keep my investment running smoothly by purchasing the extended warranty. This wear and tear directly affects my quality of life. Walking around occasionally, because my battery did not hold charge, with a “locked knee” hurts my back. I also feel more fatigued on a daily basis because the hydraulics are not workings properly.  I sent the knee back only to find out that they refuse to cover any of the repairs. They claim that the knee is “corroded” and to restore the knee back to its previous functionality according to manufacturer’s recommendations it was going to cost $2126.52. I would like to note here that there were many other things wrong with the knee aside from “corrosion”. Many of the main parts including the kneeball, kneeball axis, and lower cylinder axis all had scoring. They did not fix anything because of the “corrosion” which I expect was the minor issue in all of this.

Although Otto Bock refuses to acknowledge it, corrosion is part of the natural wear process. I have been a resident of Florida my whole life, and anybody who has ever been to the state knows it is a steaming sauna with humidity of 100% almost all of the time. Who is to say that over 1000 days of exposure to humidity did not cause the corrosion? Water is a daily factor in all of our lives. Last I checked it rains in all 50 states. It is highly unlikely that a C-leg user will never get a drop of water on the knee. Most of them are too busy living their lives to avoid it. Otto Bock’s slogan is “quality for life” but last I checked their policies completely contradict this. They want the amputees to sacrifice the quality of their lives to protect the product. Lame.

So my point here is completely irrelevant to whether or not my C-leg actually came in contact with water, for the purpose of this discussion I will exercise my privilege to withhold those details. We paid Otto Bock $5000 to keep my C-leg functioning for five years and they did not come through with their end of the bargain. I feel cheated in every sense of the word; they may as well have stolen the money straight out of my pocket.

I currently work as a prosthetist in Orlando, Fl at Prosthetic and Orthotic Associates. I am not the only one in the profession that thinks that there is a lot wrong with these tactics.

I did take economics in high school, and even if they did fix all the “DAMAGE” on my C-leg they would still come out on top of the whole deal by over $2,000. Instead they chose to take money from a population group that is going to be burdened with healthcare costs for the rest of their lives.

I would still purchase a C-Leg in the future, but I would not pay for the lie that they call the extended warranty. Instead I would just put the money in the bank, and fix the knee when needed. That way I could keep the promise that Otto Bock refused to honor.


  1. I had the same issue with my first c-leg, they said the pin for the charging was corroded and wanted to charge me a similar amount. Mine was in the first two years of warranty. My prostheticist eventually worked it out with them.
    Now I have a new c-leg and my old one, that is now four years old, that I use as a backup won't charge at all. I use it for hiking and fishing, but it's dead as a door nail now and I'm looking for none oem ways to fix it. I May even try to fix it myself but can't find any info on the battery. That's what lead me here...

  2. Hi the battery is a normal of the shelf li-ion nr 18650a by panasonic.It is actually a laptop batt. it is located in the hinge of the knee, unscrew only one side with "circlip plyers" and remember wich side is pos. and neg. it is not marked clearly.

    1. have you repair your battery of your c-leg?

  3. Just to ease your thoughts about this. I'm also a prosthetist. I live in Hungary. Average monthly salary here is about $1000. C-Leg costs $50.000. Have a nice and easy life compared to all other people in the world!

  4. My name is andyjean am 78 and i am from the Uk. I had and accident in a car crash and i did a surgeory on my both leg so i want to sell the both c-leg left and right leg. The right leg is above the knee while the left leg is below the knee and they are still both very new pls conatct me on

  5. It seems that my shock has quit working. Any help out there? I'm getting ready to send it in and I have to pay cash. 2008 c-leg otto bock

  6. 13 plus thousand to fix mine. How!!? Can't do it.

  7. i m looking for a C leg and C walk foot.
    Can you tell me its actual cost?

    Thank you

  8. I collect my c leg next week now I want to cancel

  9. I have a PLIE 2.0 which is another brand called PLIE. It has been reliable, with regular service performed. All of a sudden they will no longer service my unit and want me to buy a new model for about $75K. Crazy prices. This company PLIE and the C-Leg people have this market all to them selves, and have got run-away prices. I tried on a mechanical knee joint in the office the other day and it was fine standing still but walking,but WOW, Every step was blessing that the knee would not fold under me. I can,t imagine going from a controlled knee to one that you hope, won't put me on the ground. Uncle SAM needs to visit these people and get some reason whey the prices are so outragious.

  10. I'm having trouble with th charger as well. On 3rd charger.
    Haven't had the other problems.
    I suggest calling and filing complaint with the better business bureau.
    Ottobach will jump to action.
    Do it

  11. How can i buy a battery for the cleg?

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Don’t waste your money on C leg. Within 3 years I have had four times to fix the knee. On the last service Otobock refused to make a Knee service due corrosion and asked me to pay extra $2000. My leg was still on warrenty .
    All unhappy users should file complain with a better business bureau.


  14. I too have a c leg and had trouble w/ charger and leg making sounds within the 1st month. When I told my prothetist he said I probably didn't have charger plugged in all the way... Finally, one day, I almost fell. My leg froze up suddenly. It was awful. My husband took my leg to Hanger for me so they could check it in January. Hanger has had my leg for about a month so I called and left message to no avail. So today I drove over to Hanger and asked if I could pick up my leg yet and I was told today that the knee was sent away to germany as Ottobock would not replace it. They say it has an error code w/ a malfunctioning M E ...whatever that is! They say they need to replace w/ an updatd version that has shown to reduce these types of failures. They say it does not qualify for a replacement. they say the new enforced main electronic this knee should be fine! Hmmmm , From what I heard today, this appears to happen quite frequently. In my opinion, one would hope that either Hanger or Ottobock or both would notify patients who purchased this knee of this potential failure, especially when it could cause one of us to fall and result in a serious injury. I do not understand ... if they know there have been a problems w/ this knee's electronics ? Why not issue a re-call and replace everyone's C Leg M E with the updated version that they say has shown to reduce these types of failures?
    If anyone has had issues or is currently having issues w/ C leg, please contact us. We welcome your input as we would like to gather as much information as possible from other amputees that depending on the c-leg.
    Thank You , Diane (