A FRAIL Olton pensioner claims he will have to fork out almost £1,000 because insurers offered him less money than the value of his stolen scooter.
John Sanders, aged 63, of Dorsington Road, suffers from the debilitating condition osteoporosis and a string of health complaints.
Back in July he bought a petrol-powered scooter through the Government-funded Motability scheme to help him get to hospital appointments, visit family and friends and shop for groceries.
"At first I had permission to park my scooter in the communal back garden, but four weeks later I was told that because it was a petrol motor it had to be parked at the front of the sheltered accommodation."
Even though John had bought a sturdy padlock to secure his vehicle, thieves still managed to swipe the scooter from the front of his home.
It was later found burnt and discarded in Gospel Lane Park.
"I was absolutely gutted," said John. "But since I'd been paying for a fully comprehensive insurance policy I assumed I would receive a replacement with no problems."
John said the Motability scheme had bought the scooter for £6,858, from Nippy Scooters in Staffordshire, and he was paying them back £164 a month.
But after his scooter was stolen, he said insurers, MCE Insurance, only offered him £6,500, with him having to pay a £600 excess, which left a £958 deficit.
According to John, the Motability scheme has refused to give him another scooter until the shortfall is paid.
"The worry of it has made me ill. I've lost so much weight doctors have had to give me energy drinks as I feel weak all the time."
Housebound John is unable to travel far without his scooter, which he said has taken away his independence.
"I don't get out at all now and I've had to cancel two appointments at Selly Oak Hospital as I can not afford the £16 taxi fare."
John called Solihull's Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) who have been fully supportive and actively seeking to redress the matter for him.
Carol Pullen, a home visitor at CAB, said: "We were horrified to hear that an older disabled person should have his only means of transport stolen. What kind of a person would do that?
"We are looking into the shortfall in his insurance policy and hope the matter can be sorted out swiftly."
Emma Knight, compliance manager with MCE Insurers said she had not had any information regarding John's complaint but would be "happy to investigate" the matter and find a suitable solution.