Business, consumer and economic tidbits from DNT reporter Candace Renalls. Click here to view previous posts or additional resources.
State targets firms preying on seniors
Sometimes it pays to be rude.
Many seniors are too polite to close their doors on door-to-door salespeople or to hang up on telemarketers.
And the scammers know it.
Exploiting seniors fears about their personal and medical safety, these companies are deceptively selling them pricey home security alarms and medical alert devices that are basically useless.
Some in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office have had it with two outstate companies allegedly doing just that in the state.
Today, Attorney General Lori Swanson filed a lawsuit in Hennepin County, against AMP Alarm, LLC of Utah, claiming the company deceptive sold home security alarms to Minnesota residents that cost up to $2,300.
Their modus operandi is making unsolicited home visits to many elderly residents on fixed incomes, coercing them into buying security alarms and long-term agreements that can cost them $48 per month for five years.
These salespeople talk their way in, never providing the required identification and other disclosures. They use bait-and-switch and high pressure sales tactics, refusing to leave until the resident signs a contract.
A lawsuit also was filed Monday against EMT Medical, Inc., of Arizona which -- via phone -- sells a emergency medical safety product for $398 which they claim will immediately provide first responders with their medical information.
Actually, it’s just an online medical storage product, the lawsuit says. And since many seniors don’t use computers, more than 85 percent of those purchased never get inputted with information.
According to the lawsuit, the company scares the resident with frighting statistics about medical errors to convince them to buy the product. They misled them into thinking it’s affiliated with local hospitals and emergency medical responders, that it’s required by Medicare and that everyone over the age of 65 must have one.
As always, be wary of unknown callers, don’t let strangers into your home, be careful what you sign and what personal information you divulge, and know your rights. Unsolicited sales people should provide their name, the name of the business and what they’re selling before they ask you any questions. If you do buy a product or service from a telemarketer or door-to-door salesperson, you have three days to cancel it.