Thursday, May 14, 2015

Get it in writing - caveat emptor from senior citizen

Keith Leal

I write this to the attention of my fellow seniors who might be finding that picking their way through this jungle of a “globalized world” is becoming more difficult with each sunrise. So, since I am a good and proper “senior citizen”, at 86, who has been taken for a ride recently, I thought I should put out the word to my peers.

Four years ago, my wife, at 80 years of age, was diagnosed with “slow onset” of Dementia/Alzheimers and now lives in a local assisted living facility. She also suffers from a related brain anomaly called Neuropathy, which, periodically, causes loss of control of her legs, so she spends her life in her bed, recliner or wheelchair. In these circumstances, one year ago, I took an “Independent” room in her care facility in order to provide her with some of the comforts and feelings of security which only her 65-year- partner can give.

In summer, residents of this care-centre are often treated to outings, such as picnics and public events which often last two hours or more. A year ago, it became evident that the conventional wheel chair that my wife uses does not allow a tired senior to stretch out and rest, so I decided to get her one of the recliner type. Since I have purchased a number of things online, I immediately went there and soon found exactly what I wanted, in the US, for a total cost (shipping included), of just over $1,000 CAN. I was about to make the purchase, when I decided that, in community spirit, I should give the good old “local” boys a bid, and did. The quote I was given was considerably higher than $1,000, but I accepted the deal, all of it made via telephone, (and that’s where I made my mistake), with a well-known health care products provider.

To shorten the story, my wife’s original $1,000.00 wheelchair became one of just over $2,000.00, with two important features I had specified, unaccounted for. (Nor did we receive the chair’s tote bag that the “local boy” said he would “throw in”). This $ hurt us but I learned a burning lesson for my stupidity, which I hereby pass on to my fellow seniors:

NEVER, under any circumstances, purchase anything from such a firm without a written, itemized, priced, signed agreement, witnessed by a trustworthy friend or loved one.

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