This blog is for those 18 and older.

Friday, October 19, 2018


Hey gang, how are ya?  Good, I hope!  Doing good here.  Of course, every day above ground is a red-letter day.  So…mark this one down with a big Red YAY!

Okay, this week’s blog is about something that makes me absolutely crazy—GREED.  Yep, we’ve all encountered it.  Sometimes it comes in the form of out and out price gouging, sometimes it’s nickel-and-diming with taxes and fees and charges for things you’ve never heard of.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the details on your cell phone bill sometime (just sayin…).

Sometimes the greed is even disguised as a process supposedly designed to protect us, and often it’s insulting because the implication is that they are trying to protect us from ourselves.  Other times it seems to be nothing more than a delaying tactic.  But I know my readers, and you guys are smart enough to know the difference.  We can see through those stupidly veiled sales pitches designed to make you grateful that someone is looking out for us, or the purposeless processes that just buy time until the next bill is cut—or you die—whichever comes first.

We are not grateful…nor are we amused.

So, here’s my latest head-banging moment.  My mother is elderly, and we are in the process of moving her into a senior living facility.  It’s not something any of us wants to do, so it’s highly emotional and I’m amazed at how one company, in particular, has demonstrated a complete lack of compassion—a company whose entire existence is based on the premise that they are there to help the elderly, ill, or infirm.

While I will not specifically name this particular company, I will say that it is the industry leader in providing devices that will allow the wearer to push a button and get emergency assistance in the event of a medical incident or a fall where they cannot get up.  Just sayin...

First of all, let me tell you that the initial marketing presentation was significantly different from the actual services they provided.  My mother is a deaf sign language user who insisted on walking up to a mile from home with her walker.  I was concerned with how to locate her if she fell and pushed her button while walking three streets from home.  When I specifically asked if they would be able to locate her whereabouts with the GPS unit (which adds to the cost of the basic service), I was told very directly that they would be able to pinpoint her location and send emergency services.  I made it clear to them that she was DEAF and could not respond to them if they spoke to her to ask if she needed help.  I was very clear and very specific.  There was no confusion in either my questions or their answers.

No problem they said…we’ve got a process for that.  We will find her and send help.


A few years into our contract, I got a call while I was traveling in New Mexico.  My mother’s GPS unit had been activated.  They wanted to know was she okay?  Did I know where she was?

Uh…no.  I’m an entire state away.  Time for you to locate her and send emergency services—like you promised in the marketing presentation.

Nope.  Apparently, the marketing department oversold their services and they don’t do that.  (Sounds like a bad joke, right?)

Seriously?  I’m hundreds of miles away and now I’m in a panic, calling everyone I can find to determine if my mother is okay.  What did the service we were paying for do?  They waited to see if I could find her.

Am I pissed?  

I argue and complain, tell them they lied to me, threaten to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.  Their hands are tied.  But they do keep calling me to see if I’ve found her yet.


Fortunately, my mother was safe and sound in church. When I called them to say that she did not press the button, they then confirmed it appeared to be a malfunction in the unit.

Are you kidding me?!

Unfortunately, I had cooled off by the time I returned home and decided not to completely terminate their services, but to return the GPS unit because it is completely useless for a deaf person—or someone who has fallen and passed out after they hit the button.  I guess the trick is that the device works great if you can manage not to pass out.  Grrrr…

Be forewarned!  Buyer beware.

Now, we trundle along for another year with the in-home services, which do work fairly well.  The only issue I have is that their processes require that they waste precious time trying to talk to her over the unit, or trying to call the house (through an interpretive relay service), rather than just sending help.  She has never responded…never could, never would…and they know that…but they must take the time to try anyway because that is their process.  One size fits all, apparently.

By now, I’ve developed a bit of a grudge because they misrepresented themselves in the beginning and cannot truly tailor their services to the person’s needs—so much for accommodating the needs of the disabled.  I guess it depends on what kind of disability you have.

So, now we come to this week.  In moving my mother, the new facility has their own pendant that will call their on-site security team who will respond to her apartment within minutes rather than waiting until they determine she cannot be reached by phone before placing the call to the fire department—which typically results in a response time of about a half hour to forty-five minutes, even though she lives less than a mile from the fire station.  (Not the fire department's fault...they respond as soon as they get the call.  Good thing they don't try to call you first to make sure there really is a fire!  Hmmm...a process that actually works.  Perhaps they need to give lessons.)

Okay…deep breath.

It’s time to kick this service with their limited flexibility and bad marketing presentation to the curb.  So, I place the call.  I explain to the young man that mom is moving, and I need to cancel her existing service because the new facility has an in-house service, and theirs is no longer needed.  

What did I expect?  Perhaps an offer to cut the price of their services in half—because everyone tries to retain the customer these days by finally offering the appropriate price.  Or maybe a heartfelt attitude of helpfulness and well-wishes for my mother’s future…and, “I’d be happy to help you with that.”

Too much to ask?

Apparently.  But I certainly DID NOT expect what I got.

The young man at the other end of the line says before he can cancel the service, I will need to have the facility send them a letter confirming that she will have an equivalent replacement service.


I’m certain he didn’t understand the situation.  So, I patiently explain that I’m the one who initiated the service and I am paying for it on my personal credit card, so it’s mine to stop.  The new facility has nothing to do with it.

He stands firm that I must get the facility to send them a letter.


Have I mentioned this is a very emotional and trying time?  This young man had no freaking idea what a sore tail he’d stepped on.  Now I go zero-to-bitch in a split second.  I pull out the mom voice and I make it clear…

“It is NOT your position to decide if her service should be stopped or not.  I brought it into this world, I can take it out.  You do NOT need a damn letter from the facility, the fire department, or God himself.  I’m telling you to stop it, and to stop it NOW!”

Can you tell this was the last straw?  Uh-huh.

Does he realize his mistake?  Does he say he misunderstood?  Does he stammer out a not-so-heartfelt apology?


He says to do that takes the authority of a supervisor.


It didn’t take a supervisor to start the service…only me, my credit card, and a misrepresenting marketing department.  Now it takes a supervisor to stop the service?

Well get me an effing supervisor!

Apparently, the booming mom voice couldn’t get him to do the right thing, but it did scare him enough to get me a supervisor.  She tried to break out the same song and dance, when I interrupted her and explained that we could do this the nice way or the not-so-nice way.  They could be a decent company and stop the service I had requested, send me a label, and get their used unit back.  Or they could be asses about it and I’d call the credit card company and stop the autopay, and they’d play hell getting anything back except a lot of bad publicity.

Mom voice worked on her.  She immediately agreed to terminate service, send me a label, and have UPS pick up the unit.  Of course, no one knows if she actually scheduled it with UPS because they never showed up to get the unit today.  UPS mistake or service provider mistake?  I’m betting on unscrupulous service provider.

But come hell or high water, they are getting that unit back.  Of course, it may be buried in a tub of Vaseline with a note telling them to put it where the sun doesn’t shine.  But they will get it.

So…buyer beware!  Check out the various providers if you are looking for this type of service.  The big one advertised on TV isn’t necessarily the one with your best interest at heart.  Saving vulnerable old people apparently comes with a price—unnecessary processes designed to delay action and force you into additional billing periods…anything for a dollar.  Which is a very sad commentary on a company whose entire business is built on the belief they will help to keep our loved ones safe.  To be fair, there have been a number of times when they did dispatch the fire department and she got help.  Fortunately, she was not badly hurt and in immediate need, so she could afford to wait the extra minutes it took for them to determine they couldn’t speak to her over the unit or via telephone.  Choose your provider wisely!

I hope you haven’t minded this public rant, but I know you love your momma as much as I love mine.  Things aren’t always as they appear, so ask the hard questions, check out the reviews, and ask the hard questions again of someone else.  Be sure you get the straight story because a mother is a very precious gift.  Those who protect her should care almost as much as you do.

That’s my story, deceptive and deceitful, and I’m stickin’ to it.  Hang on tight now, ‘cuz we’re gonna go real, real fast!

Love ya,



  1. Un fricking believable!!!! Well, not really in this day and age!! GRRRRRRR! What a PIA. So sorry you had to deal with that garbage! Yeah, usually the big guys got to BE the big guys because they screw so many people along the way, sad to say. At least you're out of them (for now - until the kerfuffle about returning the unit hits) and onto the next hurdle. I'll keep an eye out for THAT blog!

  2. Well, I will be out of it when I finally get someone to take this unit back to them. LOL Unfortunately, I was too trusting and didn't get a return address from them. I trusted they would actually send the carrier with the label they promised. Sigh! I may have to bite the bullet and pay for the return of the unit myself...but then there is the fifteen minutes on hold to get the address.

  3. Have some vodka close at hand!!!!

  4. Most reputable places will send you an email with a UPS label attached. That is the way it has worked with everything I have returned through UPS.

    1. Yeah, that's the way it's always worked for me too. I'm thinking the operative word here is "reputable" because the box still has not been picked up. Argh! Another phone call. :)

  5. Incredible. I would definitely recommend complaints to the Better Business Bureau and your state Attorney General. Admittedly, Wyoming is a much smaller state, but when I had a problem (not anywhere nearly as serious as yours) with a company, I contacted the Attorney General and got immediate action.

    1. So frustrating that consumers have to go to these lengths! If it doesn't eventually go my way and I find some daylight somewhere, I might take the time to do just that. :)