On a visit with a client whom I help manage the checkbook, we found a charge on the credit card we couldn’t identify. When we called to find out what it was, it was for a political group that championed the environment. Knowing my client loves the environment, but is also a card-carrying Republican, I asked if she could tell me which party the group most affiliated with. She replied “we are Democrats.” I could see my client straighten his back as he adjusted uncomfortably in his seat.
I asked how they got his credit card information and she shared that they had canvassers in the neighborhood and my client gave his credit card and offered a monthly donation of $100. We requested to remove him from the monthly donation program and all future solicitations. I asked my client if he wanted to contest the initial charge and ask for a refund, but he declined.
When we hung up, he stated “I know I shouldn’t give to door-to-door solicitors.”
We all know it. But it’s easy to get caught up in the exchange. My client lives on his own, no longer drives, so having a passionate individual knock on his door and talk about how we can help the environment can be incredibly appealing. He also has cognitive impairment and too easily writes a check … as we have experienced with several service firms that overcharged him lately.
The reality is that there are many service companies that have predatory practices. I have seen lawn companies in our area charging thousands of dollars for lawn care, plumbers that charge $500 to unclog a toilet, and HVAC firms that scare clients into replacing equipment before it’s needed. This isn’t just an issue for individuals living with cognitive impairment, but for all adults.
If you are concerned your loved ones are being taken advantage of, I hope you will step in to help. For this individual, we have set up approved vendors who know that we require an estimate and joint approval from his daughter in advance of any work. I will stop by on those visits with new vendors or during the visit to estimate the costs.
If you know someone who has been victimized, you should report it to the police as well as contact Adult Protective Services. Advised.