Monday, May 9, 2022

KEPT WITHIN I’ve been locked in my house for five months waiting for my car to be fixed… I feel like I’m in prison

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A DISABLED man has told how he was locked in his home like a prisoner after repairs to his car took more than four months.

Stanley Bland, 67, hasn’t traveled further than his own driveway since late December thanks to slow-moving tour buses fixing his customized engine.

To make matters worse, the pensioner from the Isle of Grain in Kent has been suffering from lymphedema for three years.

It means water is retained throughout the body, causing extreme swelling.

As a result, Stanley has trouble walking long distances, so relies on his mobility scooter to get around outdoors and a medically adapted car.

But the car stores his mobility scooter when he’s not using it because there just isn’t enough space to store it in his house — and that’s in the garage too, leaving Stanley stranded.

Speaking to The Sun Online, Stanley fumed: “There’s nothing I can do – I’ve got my TV and my iPad – that’s my life.

“I just want my crappy car back!”

The electric Vauxhall Vivaro-Elife, driven by his wife Nicola, has a specially designed rear lift to help Stanley get in and out, and reclining seats so he can sit comfortably.

But after hitting a bollard on Christmas Eve, causing “minor” damage to the door, the car was taken to a garage for repairs – with his scooter in tow.

Stanley was originally told it would only take two weeks, but after waiting more than a month he chased the garage.

Amazingly, he found that it was closed.

His insurance company RSA then transferred the car to another workshop, which also went bankrupt.

But when the couple finally got the car back, it was in a sorry state with a missing panel under the steering wheel and wires sticking out.

The car was sent straight back to the garage but Ms Nicola reckons it will be “another month” before they can get it back – extending their saga to six months.

He said the insurance company sent a rental car, but it was unsuitable for his needs.

It has also offered to pay taxis and pay compensation but only for local journeys – but Nicola says many of his appointments have been postponed until they get their car back.

But Stanley told The Sun the stress is making his agonizing condition “worse” and has led to “new pains” in his arms.

And it’s affecting his wife, too, who Stanley says is “working her ass off” as a landlady to hold the job while her husband has no choice but to sit out the misery.

The lack of a vehicle causes other pains as well.

Lacking a suitable car to carry him around, Stanley missed his nieces’ christenings and had to cancel Easter at his daughter’s home in Nottingham.

He told Kent Online: “It’s a burden for me. It has totally stopped my life for the past few months. I’m literally isolated.”

An RSA spokesman said: “We truly apologize for the difficulties Mr Bland had with his claim. This is well below the standards that our customers expect of us and that we set for ourselves.

“Mr Bland’s scooter has been returned to him but unfortunately although most of the repair work on his car has been completed some minor repairs are still required.

“We are working with the workshop to ensure these final repairs are carried out quickly so that Mr Bland’s car can be returned to him as soon as possible.

“We are also conducting a full investigation into Mr Bland’s complaint and will offer him compensation for the disruption caused, while also taking steps to learn from the mistakes made in this case.”

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