Can anyone help?

jude73
jude73 Member Posts: 6
My mum has received a couple of phone calls from a company (she said she didn't catch the name) asking about her arthritis. I didn't know about it until I visited her yesterday and she said there was a "therapist" coming to her home on Friday to give her tips on managing her condition. On the phone, they were constantly reassuring her they were not trying to sell her anything and it was all free and she is convinced it is some kind of government scheme. She is recently widowed and when I tentatively voiced my concerns, she got annoyed. I don't want her to feel stupid if it is a scam. They are calling back in a couple of days to confirm her appointment, can you help me please? Is it a scam?

Comments

  • maria09
    maria09 Member Posts: 1,905
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi
    I have no experience with this but I'm assuming its cold calling and I'm sure there will be money involved
    If your mum goes ahead with it please be there with her you never know in this day and age
    I personally would cancel
    Maybe you could give the helpline team on here to ask their advice
    Maria
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,697
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Jude. I'm not a member of the Helpline team, just someone who has had arthritis for over 50 years. I jumped in here because, like you, I heard warning bells ringing. I've never heard of a such a 'government scheme' and I think, if there were such a thing, the good people from Arthritis Care would have told us all about it.

    I would actually be very concerned about anyone, other than a trusted medical professional, giving me tips on how to manage my arthritis. They could do far more harm than good. If your mother needs such advice she could ask to have an Occupational Therapist visit her and she'd then get expert advice and maybe the odd gadget, for free. However, OTs do not cold call.

    I remember when my mother-in-law was first widowed she seemed to get lots of people doing work about the house that really didn't appear to need doing. It was just her way of dealing with loneliness.

    I'd suggest you ensure that, when this company rings back, your mother makes sure she writes down their name, address, phone number etc so that you can check them out online. (I still wouldn't trust them though)
  • jude73
    jude73 Member Posts: 6
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks, you have just confirmed what I thought. My mum is very trusting and just takes what people say at face value. When they phone back, I'll make sure she gets the name so I can show her what they are about. I don't want to make her feel silly and vulnerable but if she won't cancel, I know when they are coming so will definitely be there.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I too am a forum member and this has vigorously rung my alarm bells. I have never heard of anything like this - I have no doubt they will be trying to sell her something which will no doubt be expensive and useless. I wonder how they found your mum's number? Older people are very trusting and this makes them vulnerable to all kinds of exploitation. Please be there with her - I sat with my late ma-in-law when a company connected to Lloyds Pharmacy carried out a home visit to fit her with digital hearing aids, they turned out to be on-the-level but this? I don't think so. DD
  • jude73
    jude73 Member Posts: 6
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Unfortunately my fears were realised when unbeknownst to me, a salesperson turned up at my mum's house two hours earlier than the arranged appointment (I wasn't there and my mum didn't call to let me know they had arrived) and proceeded to talk her into parting with over a thousand pounds for a massage mattress topper. I am absolutely furious, they deliberately mislead her on the phone and the salesperson did such a good job with her that she can't see anything is wrong and is refusing to cancel. Apparently, even after having arthritis in most of her joints for over 20 years, a couple of weeks of using this product and she'll be "like a spring chicken". She has used all her emergency money on this, I don't know how these people can sleep at night.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,697
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm so sorry this has happened. I know that, by law, there must be a 'cooling off' period of - I think - 48 hours but that will be of no use to you if your mother is satisfied. Surely though, the product is simply a mattress topper of the kind that can be bought anywhere for around £50?

    Two things occur to me. Firstly, she might be suffering from depression so this sort of thing might happen again. Secondly, it might be worth contacting Trading Standards, partly to make the aware of the company (I'd lay a pound to a penny that arriving 2 hours early was no coincidence) and also because it might mean that you have then registered a complaint so your mother might have some redress when she discovers it's just a mattress topper. They are very comfy and do aid sleep but that's all.

    Thanks for letting us know the outcome.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Oh. Oh no. Oh no, no. no. I am so sorry to read this, your poor mum and poor you too. Please contact Trading Standards ASAP, they need to know about this very sharp practice by these very nasty leeches. I know that the law is somewhat toothless but maybe your report, combined with a few others, will lead to some action being taken. Once again, I am so sorry. DD
  • Megrose489
    Megrose489 Member Posts: 745
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I was so cross when I read this. And your poor mum is obviously very vulnerable at the moment - which is what this type of company feeds on. This kind of thing really makes my blood boil. I agree with Sticky, arriving two hours before the agreed appointment time would have been no accident. Yes, please do contact Trading Standards. Apart from reporting your own unhappiness, if the company are already known to them, you then might be able to persuade your mum to cancel - if it is still possible.

    Meg
  • jude73
    jude73 Member Posts: 6
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thankfully, my mum got up this morning and asked me to cancel the order! She realised, when she had time to think about it that the woman that came had been trying to figure out if she could sell her a bed, chair and scooter. She had been telling her that the chairs she had bought last week were unsuitable for arthritis sufferers even though she had purchased them from a reputable firm specifically because they were easy to get in and out of and had good back support. I'm still angry that people like these target vulnerable people and will be contacting trading standards as they deliberately mislead my mum to get her to let them into her house. From now on though my mum will be screening any numbers she doesn't recognise so hopefully it won't happen again. Thanks for everyones replies :)
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,697
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Phew! I don't really know either you or your mother but I do feel very relieved. That was a narrow escape but it's so good that your Mum came to the right conclusion all by herself in the end. She'll probably be much more cautious in future. These people are utterly despicable.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Well done to Ma - admitting that one has made an error of judgement is rarely easy and, like Sticky, I am mightily relieved for the both of you. I hope she is immediately offered a refund - mind you if she paid by cheque than can (and must be) stopped ASAP or passed on any bank details in case instalments were discussed. I hope you will still inform Trading Standards, they should know about this heartless preying on the vulnerable. I wish you both well. DD
  • Megrose489
    Megrose489 Member Posts: 745
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    So pleased that your mum has had a re-think. I hope you can cancel the order without any problem.

    Meg
  • jude73
    jude73 Member Posts: 6
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    She gave them £100 cash deposit but thankfully nothing else and hopefully we can get that back at some point. I've emailed them to cancel so we have proof that she cancelled in plenty of time. She feels a bit silly but I've told her we all get taken in by people at some point and its the sales people that should be ashamed so hopefully the whole business is behind us. Thanks to everyone who replied, its nice to know there are still plenty of kind people out there!
  • mike26
    mike26 Member Posts: 416
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    hi jude 73
    im very sorry that this has happened to your mum and you
    this sort of selling deception is done by leeches, i dont know
    how thay sleep at night.
    im pleased you have canceled order.
    hope it all works out for you and mum
    good luck mike26 :x :x
  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 2,585
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Jude73

    Thanks for your posting. I am really glad you have had such helpful responses and cannot really add anything further that may be of help.
    This kind of experience can be very distressing. Please do contact trading standards if you haven’t already done so.
    If you or your mum would like to have an informal chat please give us a ring on our Helplines 0808 800 4050 (Monday-Friday 10am-4pm)

    Lynda
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,697
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Bumped up for Cynthia.
  • Cynthia
    Cynthia Member Posts: 9
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have just had the same thing happen to me and there is a 7 day cooling off period. You must put it in writing as well or so I believe. The company that sent a woman to me were called arthritis we care and I told the man who phoned I was not well. He even asked if I would be on my own when Jackie called. I think it is despicable that people do this to elderly people. I was unable to send the email to cancel it was returned by mail daemon.
    Not sure but if nothing is done maybe these people should be reported to the police.
  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 2,585
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello,
    Thanks for your postings. If you have problems with goods or services or are in dispute with a trader, your local Trading Standards office can help in these situations. You can do a postcode search on their website for details of their nearest office: http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/advice/ifyouareindispute-sum2.cfm
    Kind regards,
    Ümral
  • Cynthia
    Cynthia Member Posts: 9
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi, I sent my letter off and the cancelation slip. I received a phone call yesterday evening. It was from the man in charge of arthritis we care. He said he was concerned about my letter and wanted to apologise for any inconvenience caused.
    He said he has instructed his team to emphasise the word (we) as he can see how people get confused. He was worried by the fact that I said I would take the matter further and inform the authorities. Anyway it just shows how careful we must be. Never pay a deposit and double check before signing anything. All it cost me was £6.20 postage and a lot of worry. He did say as a joke, he felt maybe he should employ me in his office. :roll:
    So thank you everyone who helped me. I was lucky and will never make the same mistake again.
  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 2,585
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Cynthia
    So glad it has been dealt with, and really good advice for anyone having to deal with these issues.

    best wishes
    Lynda
  • Megrose489
    Megrose489 Member Posts: 745
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Good for you Cynthia. So pleased that it's all had a happy outcome - even though it cost you £6.20! I also hope that the company do some essential staff training. It still all sounds very iffy, particularly asking if you would be on your own when the woman called.

    All the best, Meg
  • Cynthia
    Cynthia Member Posts: 9
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Sticky Wicket you were the first one to reply and you gave me the confidence to pursue all this. So I send you a special big thank you. It makes such a difference when I feel I have support. Its difficult when there is no family to advise.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,697
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Your thanks are much appreciated, Cynthia, but that's what we do on here. We all help each other along. Many (arthritic) hands make light work :D I have received lots of practical and emotional support from people on here so, like many others, I feel I need to 'put a bit back' when I can.

    I'm so pleased you had a happy outcome and thanks for letting us know. Now, how about joining us on the other forums? Ask whatever you like and chip in wherever you can. I hope you'll soon feel that, although you don't have family, you have many cyber friends.

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