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Ripping off the elderly

(9 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 13-Sep-12 10:44:57

In this week's guest blog post Harrikat tells a chilling tale of high pressure sales techniques used on the elderly and vulnerable.

Is this something you've come across? Add your stories and comments here.

glammanana Thu 13-Sep-12 11:29:35

harrikat how fortunate you where to find out about this before the 7 day cooling off period and that your MIL can speak to you about these things,I have heard of this type of selling all too often and agree that something must be done about it,I would feel very worried to find that any relative being alone with a salesman for such a long time and think that they should be CRB checked the same as carers etc,you can never tell who you are letting in your home,but some people will think that is too drastic but I would always rather be safe than sorry.

absentgrana Thu 13-Sep-12 11:33:05

Extending the cooling off period might be a good idea.

janeainsworth Thu 13-Sep-12 16:29:42

I don't think CRB checks would make any difference, since selling things is not illegal, and the vast majority of sales people don't have criminal records. The point of CRB checks is to stop people like Ian Huntley murdering and abusing children, and even if one had been carried out on Huntley, it would not have prevented the Soham murders, since he didn't have a criminal record.
However it's preposterous that harrikat's MIL should have been subjected to 4 hours of high pressure selling.
I don't think you can stop companies from marketing their products and selling them.
But the selling must be done ethically and there ought to be a code of conduct for people selling to elderly people.
Perhaps Age Concern should have a campaign to raise awareness in older people about how they should handle these situations and what their rights are.

JO4 Thu 13-Sep-12 19:02:10

Shouldn't companies selling things like wheelchairs to vulnerable people have to belong to, and be answerable to, some sort of "guild" or association. A bit like the old "Corgi" thing with the gas appliances. I know this might not always help the householder on the doorstep, but at least checks could be made on them, and their employees.

And Harrikat would know where to go to to complain.

nansoval Fri 14-Sep-12 09:17:29

This very thing happened a few weeks ago to my mum ,aged 90, lives alone.
She has osteoarthritis and was having a particularly bad day with back pain when this caller from Goldconcern happened to call - apparently everything was free and all she had to do was sit in a chair !!
Luckily I phoned her on the morning I did, because he was arriving the next day - she had already invited him in - such a nice man!!
Alarm bells started to ring regarding the 'sit in a chair part' and I got her to cancel the appointment. My grandson found this firm on the internet,I phoned to check she had cancelled - she had(she also lies to us because she is so independant). My sister phoned the local police , they were very interested.

I was still worried that he would call so my husband and myself made sure we were at her home on that afternoon at the time he was due. He didn't arrive but mum said that he brought out a cross from around his neck and said he was a believer !? What the hell was that all about?

I make sure I phone my mother each day now as it left me frantic,and she can't be trusted, bless her.

speck123 Tue 18-Sep-12 09:16:37

wherever possible try not to have salespersons in the home - take the potential customer to the sales centre. Obviously unlikely in this particular case. But as a general rule......

Try to be with the `victim` when the sales people call.

MOST IMPORTANT - set up a cheap camera system in the room and `coach` the elderly relative to say, "I know you won`t mind - my son/daughter has set up a camera in here, simply for security purposes` "Now what were you saying....."

speck123 Tue 18-Sep-12 09:32:55

Please be aware that you can ask the council to put up signs in the street or around an elderly persons complex that will help.

If you can cut out `cold calling` you also cut out the incidents of `casing the joint`and criminal knowledge that people are vunerable and live alone.

We pressed for signs saying "Police notice - no cold calling in this area". The local authority put these up to a great fanfare and cold calling has dropped to around 5% of what it was. People in the road now politely point out the signs saying, "Be careful someone may report you to the police for disobeying those signs."

It will help your case if your own relatives or some in the street have experienced break-ins.
The area proposed will usually need to be predominantly elderly people.

Craftygal Thu 27-Sep-12 09:47:13

My 83-year old friend has currently been investigating buying one of these chairs and has been amazed and somewhat dismayed at the varying prices being quoted - fortunately, she is very alert and not vulnerable to pressure selling, but has found the whole experience unpleasant to say the least!!! At the same time, she is also investigating having a stair lift installed and has decided to give this purchase priority. Someone advised her to approach one of the charities that provide services and advice for the elderly, which she did, thinking they would be the most reputable and ethical to deal with. She received lots of literature and made an appointment for someone to go to her house to do a site survey. At no time was she put under pressure, just the usual sales jargon. I am not certain what the original price was, but it was over £2,000, but with discounts and sprecial offer, this price could be reduced to £1,900. They also say in their literature they will price match any lower quote. She decided to "sleep" on it and also visited her local mobility shop to see what they had to offer. They quoted a price of £1250 for a stairllift!!! She then got a phone call from the first company, and she explained the lower price she had from the Mobility centre, the chap asked her to hold, then came back and said "We will match that price"!!!! It pays to shop around, and she is ordering from the Mobility centre as she did not approve of the techniques of the first company!!