I received a text at work from Gary's Visiting Angel, Jo. "Oops, you better check your credit card. Gary is hiding in the back room and I think he bought something." Of course, I asked Gary that evening what he had purchased that day and he coyly responded, "I don't remember....but I think I bought something."
Sure enough.....a $1507 charge showed up on the bank account. Gary had purchased a 7 day cruise and 6 night hotel stay to Florida and the Bahamas. He had received a call and bought the exact same cruise we took a few years ago. Dang it! I knew I would face an uphill battle getting that cancelled.
So, the next morning I embarked on the adventure of getting a credit on the credit card. I knew the obstacles were as follows:
- I am not the one who made the purchase.
- It was not my exact credit card.
- I had to get them to believe that he really does have dementia and that I'm not just a disgruntled wife trying to control her husband.
Ring. Ring. Ring. After punching about 20 choices on the interactive voice response system and waiting 10 minutes on a human, I explained something similar to the following: "Hello, my name is Ada Gerard. My order # is xyz. My address is.... and I would like a refund due to my husband purchasing this vacation while suffering from dementia." "I'm sorry lady but the address you gave is not correct." I gave our two previous addresses and phone numbers as proof that my husband really does not have any business buying a cruise in his mental state. Of course, the address Gary had given was our last address in Elk Grove where we had lived for two years prior to moving last November.
I did not think to get the name of the operator nor officially change the address before I was put on hold to be transferred to another department. After 5 minutes on hold, the phone disconnected and I had to start over. I followed the same monotonous process as above and finally reached another human who had no notes in their system of my previous call. So, I started over and explained the whole event and that I wanted a full refund. I got the operator's name and made sure the new address showed in the system. She explained that she could not perform the reversal and that she had to transfer me to another department. Yes, once again, the call was disconnected.
I was slightly furious. I went through the process again and did not have to repeat as much since the last operator had put an explanation in my records. I again requested a full refund. She explained that since Gary was an authorized user on the card that they would not give me a full refund, but rather a partial refund and an $800. I was started to come unraveled. I said this is absolutely unacceptable and that our cards had been compromised by by husband and that I wanted a refund. Because i made the mistake of saying the word "compromised", she transferred me to the fraud department. Of course, that transfer worked. They were starting to file a police report when I AGAIN explained the situation. I asked to speak to a supervisor ( Iwas told his name was JOE) and that I wanted to file an elder abuse claim. Yes....the phone was disconnected.
I called back AGAIN and asked for Joe. Lo and behold, I was transferred to Joe who aswered the phone with said alias. During the transfer, I gave significant thought to how I might approach repeating this information for the umpteenth time. Should I take the upscale, forthright, educated approach? Should I go hillbilly/redneck? Should I use the ghetto approach?
I chose to utilize my education and said, "Joe, this is Ada Gerard and my order number is XYZ. Please take a moment to read me the notes made by your employees in the last hour about my account." He did! He asked how he could help me. I ranted that I thought a partial credit under the circumstances was absolutely cruel and subject to Elder Abuse laws in the State of Florida (his office location). (the sad part is that I do know the phone number to the office in Florida to call as I had experienced this with another Florida company). I demanded a refund and he quietly said, "Ma'm, I have already processed your refund. I am sorry for the inconvenience. Your account will reflect the refund iin 8 to 10 days." At least I had enough money to transfer from savings so as to not overdraw my account.
It is amazing that I was one the phone for over an hour trying to undo something Gary had done in probably 10 minutes. The anger and emotional experience was unbelievable. I wanted to go home and tear him a new orifice. That would have been a waste of time and emotion, as he doesn't get it.
Later in my account auditing, I also found that during the same two days that he had the card, he had also ordered two sets of a product off the television. One was delivered to our house after being forwarded from the old address. The other never showed up. Upon calling the company to get return authorization, it was discoverd that he had again charged over $400 in caffeine-laden vitamins and had them delivered to the old addresses. I would have to file a postal claim. My car is now full of to-be-returned products that need to go to the post office.
Lesson learned: When Gary goes out with a caregiver to the store, give him cash not the credit card. Also, if he does require a credit card....get it back that very night. He knows not what he does.