(WSVN) - His mother signed a contract for expensive care with a chiropractor. Then, when she tried to cancel, they said she could not. So when can you cancel a contract? Here’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Sean calls his mother independent and pretty healthy, except for her legs.
Susan Gibson: “Eighty-two. I’ll be 83 in 15 days.”
Sean Gibson: “Three months ago, she was having problems with her legs, and she needed to get treatment.”
Then, Susan heard about a chiropractor and went to see what he could do about her neuropathy.
Susan says their words scared her.
Susan Gibson: “And just said, ‘You could lose your legs, you could be in a wheelchair if you don’t get this treatment.'”
The tactics worked.
Susan Gibson: “I said, ‘I’m not ready for that yet. I have a lot of things to do in my life, and I better do this.'”
Their plan included 24 therapy sessions, some supplements and a device for her legs.
Sean went with her to sign the contract.
Sean Gibson: “It’s like when you go buy a car or rent an apartment. They put forms out. Nobody has enough time to read all that stuff.”
But one thing they both read: the cost of the treatment.
Sean Gibson: “She’s being billed for $13,656.”
Susan didn’t have that much cash, but included in the paperwork was a credit card application that would cover the $13,000-plus charge. Susan would then pay it back at 29% interest.
Sean Gibson: “I have to honor my mom. It’s her money. I can’t tell her not to spend it.”
Then, Susan got home and started looking at the supplements and vitamins she was supposed to take.
Susan Gibson: “Thought about it, and I thought, ‘What did I do?'”
The Gibsons started researching the supplements Susan had paid for.
This was for the stomach. This is for an energy boost. Some things Sean said he found online for $30 or $40.
Sean Gibson: “Bodybuilders use this stuff. My mom’s 82 years old and is not a bodybuilder.”
After speaking to an attorney and being told Susan had three days to cancel, Sean went back to the chiropractor to get out of the $13,000-plus contract and was told no.
Sean Gibson: “‘We don’t believe in that three-day law that you can cancel this contract, and we’re going to hold your mother to this contract.'”
Well, can Susan cancel that expensive chiropractor bill?
You’re up, Howard.
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “Yes, and for a couple of reasons. Because this contract is for future services, Florida law allows cancellation within three days, and that notice has to be in the contract. It was not in Susan’s contract. Also, chiropractors are prohibited from charging more than $1,500 for future work. It’s clear Susan gets out of the contract, and that credit card debt has to be wiped out.”
We contacted the chiropractor’s office. They told us this was a misunderstanding, that Susan could have cancelled.
Sean says that’s not what they told him.
Susan then returned the device and the supplements, and he credit card debt was wiped out by the chiropractor’s office.
Sean Gibson: “Once Helped Me Howard got involved, the same day, they were willing to change their mind.”
Getting rid of that bill instantly made Susan feel a little better.
Susan Gibson: “My nerves were shot when this all went on, and now I can relax.”
Relax and get the medical care her insurance will cover to help her with her pain.
Sean Gibson: “I told her to go to a doctor who treats neuropathy. So she has an appointment now at the end of May.”
You hear that a lot. Waiting months for a doctor’s appointment.
As for cancelling contracts, you can cancel home improvement and gym contracts, plus several other contracts, within three days. But you don’t have three days to cancel a car purchase.
To see your rights regarding contracts, we have some information at the end of this Help me Howard story. Take a look at it.
Contracted a headache? Ready to see it cancelled? Let us doctor up a solution to ease your pain.
With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.
Contracts you can and cannot cancel:
Florida Attorney General
Federal Trade Commission
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