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My mother and I had a long, long discussion about how: - Most stuff you buy off TV (infomercials, etc) is terrible - "Try it free for 30 days" means they will charge your card after 30 days - After 30 days, guess what? You're subscribed for life. - It is next to impossible to cancel. - You have no idea what your account number is because you ordered over the phone and didn't write anything down. - It isn't worth it. - It is SO NOT WORTH IT. - You can buy it off eBay/Amazon in most cases without getting stuck in a subscription. So we agreed. Never again. Never again. Just now, "Where's my debit card?" Me: "Down here, why?" (After she lost her debit card twice, I keep it in my purse) Her: "Give it to me! I found that stuff I want to buy!" Me: "Oh no... remember how I told you that we can buy it online instead? Whatever it is?" Her: "But they won't have the right stuff, the commercial said you have to call now, blah blah blah." Me: "No, no... no, no... you're going to get stuck in a subscription." Her: "WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!" Me: "....??? Like Wen? And like Proactiv? Remember, we talked about this-" Her: "Oh my god, you just want to make sure I get the wrong thing! It's MY money!" I go to Amazon, buy her the stuff, and she's still not satisfied. She apparently won't be satisfied until she gets roped into a subscription.

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My mother does this...and buys from the Chinese websites where you but something for $10 and it looks nothing like the picture not to mention it take 4 months to get..RoseWe, Ericdress etc they all seem to advertise on Facebook...oh I loath Facebook...because if it's on FB it must be true!!! Ack ack ...so OP I feel your pain I too have had these discussions about not buying things off the internet or TV...she does anyway ( why does she need new shoes, purses etc she goes no where!!!)....several years ago she lost a good chunk of money to a scam...I had to bail her out...no more, I'm tired of it...she right it is her money and when it runs out don't come begging to me!!!
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For the last few years of my grandparents’ lives (both dead now) we paid for them to have cable TV since they were housebound. One day a sales rep from the cable company called their house, and my near-deaf and early stage of dementia grandpa answered. Cable bill came next month and it was 2x the usual. Turned out they’d talked grandpa into getting all the premium movie channels. He had no idea about any of it, just said okay. Sales rep likely said something like “would you like more channels on your TV?”. We had to change their number to unlisted after that.

Thank God they were typical old people who went to bed early. Can’t imagine what they might have seen on Cinemax! Ha!
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QVC and HSN shopping networks! Need I say more?

Someone said St. Jude’s, It’s Saint everyone with my mom! We are a Catholic family and she donates to a bazillion Catholic charities.
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My mom had the same issue, buy this thing, and in the VERY fine print you were subscribed to magazines, or in one case jewelry-of-the-month club. She would tell me how angry she was about it and then how proud of herself she was that she called her credit card company to dispute it, UNTIL the last time when the credit card company told her that a misunderstanding does not a dispute make, and that would be the last time they’d stop charges. Not to mention the fury bordering on rage of epic proportions when they told her to read the paragraph at the very bottom of her invoice. She got mad at me for scolding her. “It was their fault!” Okayyyyy....
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With my mom it's St Judes.. Not that they don't do great work,, but come on...
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This hit a raw nerve!

Mother doesn't buy things off TV (as far as I am aware) but wow, does she hit the catalogs HARD. Probably gets between 10-20 a week.

Then she returns stuff and doesn't get WHY she has to pay S&H for something she didn't want. I imagine her credit rating is terrible--considering how many times shes returned stuff and won't pay the S&H and then they bill her late fees on and on---I had to straighten out a deal where she bought some shoes, didn't like them sent them back and had been paying late fees on a pair of $19.99 shoes which she refused to pay $9.99 to return. By the time I'd stepped in, she had racked up more than $250 late fees ($39.99 per month!)

So I worked it all out---and the call center people generally aren't even IN the country, so her yelling at them while I am trying to talk on her cell phone isn't helping....finally we got it down to about $50, which honestly, was very nice of them.

She wanted the catalog cancelled, which I did, and asked them to take her off the mailing list FOREVER as this was a company that was hard to deal with. (and frankly just sold junk).

Yep, a few days later and she wants to reinstate her catalog and I won't do it.

I like the analogy of the mouse feeling a surge of delight a finding the "cheese". Mother cannot stop buying stuff, she needs to be receiving 3-6 packages each week, I think it gives her a thrill to see the delivery trucks. But she NEEDS absolutely NOTHING and much of what she buys she never uses, never. She hides a lot of stuff from my brother (she lives with him) as he gets so angry that she wastes so much money.

It's a problem that will have a solution--she's getting pretty close to being held to a 'cash only' situation and w/o a CC she can't shop.

I agree that a lot of these companies do prey on elderly people. My mom can't really handle this kind of thing any more, and some companies are not very easy to work with.
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Oh sweetie I experienced it with the magazines and When i asked her i didn’t order anything. I called them about the 275 dollar bill and I said she didn’t remember ordering them. He then went on to tell me she made a payment. I showed nothing so I asked for an invoice. He also said that we can’t cancel until we pay the whole thing. He did agree finally to cancel. We never paid it. But just recently she ordered more angels from Ltd but I sayw another charge for $1.99. I called and it’s that great offer of whatever but after 30 days it’s $39,99 but they wouldn’t let me cancel until the 30th day. I told them they are criminals for doing this to people. I don’t know what to say except that I always watch her statements. When I wasn’t involved with her stuff she ordered anything they had for sale because Brett farce used it. I found so many things. I will be thinking of you.
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Get rid of cable TV. That'll also save a lot of money each month. Most libraries have video and music sections that you can borrow. You can control what she watches. You also can take her with you to the library to checkout what movies she wants to watch. Get her involved in other things. The library is free. Also check out programs from your local senior center or community center.
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I can’t even begin to count the number of “auto delivery” items I had to stop. Magazine, vitamins, cosmetics, etc.

All that my mother saw was the word “free” on the mailer or the magazine insert and she’d be off and running. Never bothered to read the tiny print that said “if not cancelled within X days after the introductory offer...”

Making matters worse - these offers never asked for credit card information, just said they’d bill...
Seems to me they do that on purpose so the chance of the elder understanding that they might actually be changed for something is significantly reduced.

Since I was at my moms IL a few times a week I usually caught things after the first bill - but unfortunately I would have to pay it as the item ironically would arrive on a day I wasn’t there and mom would open it. I just didn’t have the time to repackage things up and take them to the post office for returning.

As I paid my moms bills for her, I’d usually see that first bill. When I’d ask mom about it I would always get the innocent blank look and “I never ordered that”. Eventually, I stopped asking.

Things got more complicated when mom would hide those bills - not wanting me to know she’d fallen for it yet again but not putting two and two together that the stuff would just keep coming and at some point the bill would have to be paid. Ah, the blessed logic of dementia!

Things got simpler when my moms dementia worsted and I was able to have her mail sent directly to my house - without her even missing it. It didn’t stop her from ordering her “free” stuff but at least I only had to go through one cycle of paying for something and then canceling the auto-shipping.

Thing is - this was minor compared to the charity requests mom got on the phone or back when she got her mail - and still had a checkbook.

That was a several year battle that I never did win. In fact - moms been gone over two years and in her last year she wasn’t able to write checks - but here we are three years later - three years of not contributing and I’m still getting dozens of charity requests sent to her every week...in my mail. Grrrrr!
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One thing that has helped me in this situation, has been to go to my mother's house after I have dropped her off at her sister's for the day and go thru her mail. She saves everything, including all of the "junk mail". I bag up all of the mail order catalogs & junk mail, take it home and throw it out.

I have also have my name on her bank account so I can check it online (confirm she is paying her bills) and have asked the bank to set a limit on the amount & number of withdraws she can make in a month. It also helps that she no longer drives so I am the only one taking her to the bank.
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I sympathize. Have dealt with a number of "free" trials and other promotional items that ended up being insanely expensive and time consuming. Again, perhaps
I'm wrong, but it seems like those who don't have hobbies or other interests are
more likely to fall into this type of trap. And ditto the long conversations, agreements and a few weeks later....back to the same.
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I went through similar with Dad, who has Alzheimer's. I am not sure from your post whether your Mom has dementia or not, but regardless, this is tricky stuff. because THEY JUST DON'T BELIEVE YOU, or believe or understand that they are so out of it and capable of such gullibility or stupidity. They will angrily deny any and all of it. Then, after you try your best to explain what's happening to them, and get them to momentarily understand what they're doing, they're very contrite, and tell you, "OK, I won't do that anymore, wow, I didn't realize!", and POOF!! It's gone again, and your're right back to, "I didn't do that! I know what I'm doing!" Once he started declining, and I saw things in the mail indicating he was no longer on top of things, I just took over writing the checks, paying the bills, etc, and checking bank statements. He was starting to be so "gone" that he didn't even notice, in his world, HE was still on top of his game, and the one running the household and going shopping, etc, when in reality, none of that was true. I was able to get him to see what he was doing for the briefest moment by showing him proof of what I was telling him on the bank statements. He would deny that he bought this or that, and I'd show him, and explain that he keeps answering the phone and buying whatever they're selling!! And they DO get secretive once they see you're "on to them", and paying attention. Dad went to go hide in his room whenever he picked up the phone, because he didn't want me to hear what he was doing and get involved to stop him.. Once, he shoved me backwards and slammed his bedroom door in my face while he was on the phone, in the process of getting another $300 taken by phone scammers saying that his computer was broken and sending out distress signals, but they could fix it remotely if he gave them the money by credit or debit card.
Of course, since Dad has declined further into dementia, he doesn't even know how to turn it on and use it anymore, even though it had once been the great joy in his life, so in his mind, it HAS to be broken, because he's a computer whiz! He lost $900 to these people before I was able to get the credit/debit cards away.

It got to the point (fairly early into his diagnosis) before I had all day in-home care for Dad, that I was ready to change our phone number- A once intelligent man, now doing the most outrageously, dangerously stupid things with his financial info over the phone, when HE was the one who taught ME to avoid scams and pitfalls at all costs.
He bought $500 dollars worth of magazines he does not, nor did ever read, and bought 4 more 5-year subscriptions on top of an existing 5 year subscription to NatGeo- we would have been getting 5, count em, 5 identical NatGeo mags every single month for 5 years. One week there would be 2 TV guides, next week 3- Dad, you keep ordering new subscriptions to TV guide, we already get it! Dad, you don't even READ these!
Scariest of all, he could still recite his SSN!!
After a brief moment of lucidity and my showing him what he'd been doing, he was horrified, and willingly gave me the credit/debit cards. BUT, of course he forgot that any of this happened, and then thought he'd lost them. He called my aunt, who at this point was still in denial about Dad's condition, and told her she needed to take him to the bank because he lost his cards and needs new ones. I found this out when I went to use the card to do his shopping and it was declined! So had to straighten it out with the bank. The people there were understanding and supportive. They put me on his account and my name on his checks with his permission even before I had POA, and customer service made notes in his file about the situation. I put up notes all over the house that the cards were in safekeeping and NOT missing. That helped a bit, as well as getting the bank involved. Good luck, I know it's really hard, especially when they don't know what they're doing!
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oh boy, i have been where you are. when my mom was hospitalized for the amputation of her big toe and part of her foot, shr had to let me take care of her bills. this was almost impossible for her to let go of her control and secrets. she also was also out of it with a uti. so , i almost had a heart attack every time i opened her mail. i didn’t know where to start. i also discovered that scam of ordering something on tv or from a catalog for a 1.95 for the first month and it just kept taking 39.99 for months. then the magazine issuing and they won’t cancel until you pay in full. i never thought my controlling mother would give me her money to handle. she still can get spending money and money for groceries and medication. however, i discovered 450 cash withdrawaled in a month . my mother has issues with gambling and she lies about everything. now that i see everything that she does in her account i can ask her. of course, she had an excuse she used before. she said her bank envelope must have fallen in the garbage that she burned. she was too embarrassed to say anything to me. she said she burned 100 dollars. she used this excuse when my dad supposedly burned her purse and she went out in themiddle of a winter night to see if she could find anything and she fell. she said she was able to scoot so far and her dog went and woke up my dad. i also got so worried when she went to the grocery store every day because that’s where she bought her lottery tickets. finally someone told me that it’s her money and i am not going to change her at 81. my mom was also doing the tv buying not because she needed it , as stated above it makes her feel good because she can give it to people. back to the lottery tickets, i found over 30 dollars in tickets after she was adamant she wasn’t gambling. i also sat down with her and said i understand because it’s an addiction and i am an alcoholic and anorexic. she admitted that when she wins she gets a high. i said that i get that same high when i don’t eat. this is a tough situation but i try to remember that it’s her money and she can do whatever she wants with it. i can make all the suggestions in the world but it’s hers . like bigred 13 said is it really worth it. however, my mom now understands that she has to save her money for bills. she tells me how much she wants to pay on her medical bills and we work together to plan the best we can. she still gets ahead of herself when she does have money at times. i remember her saying i have never seen someone pay medical bills so fast. i don’t want to look back and see all the time i waisted arguing over money. there is so much more to do. prayers for you all
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If this has reached such an advanced state you will have to remove any possibility of loved one being able to purchase anything. My mother finally accepted she could not have access to her checking account. I had to change numerous credit card because of bogus repeated charges. I had to tell her she had to stop buying anything over the phone or online. I had spent hours dealing with this. She finally accepted this after I told her she was making bad choices and causing me a great deal of frustration. If it doesnt stop you will have to remove the ability for her to do this. There are countless companies who take advantage of the elderly. I called many of them out on this and in instances had charges removed or negotiated a reduced payment. I told her she had to tell me what she needed and I would purchase it. I try to be fair and assess the need. You will continue to be driven to great frustration if she cannot curb this desire and has the ability to continue. I believe I changed at least 4 credit cards due to charges that would be billed monthly. I spent hours on the phone and was ready to tear my hair out each time until finally it hit home she could not continue to do this. You may feel bad but you will feel worse if you find a bunch of needless charges for worthless products.
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cellytron its difficult, I had similar problems with my father God rest his soul. Always subscribing too magazines, clubs that send monthly packages worth 10% of monthly cost, as his health declined with lung cancer he was so often trying too find something too fill the day with ,was used working 12+ hour days but at 53 he couldn't anymore. And over the following 9 years he couldn't do much but read,watch TV,and crossword puzzles at end just TV ,he would call random numbers just too talk too people he didn't know while I was asleep thinking he was too. Wish he had just woke me up really miss him past 5 years. What annoys you now you will forever regret fussing with her over . its just money let her be you love her we all know. You Don't want too regret arguing with her in her last years over minor things like money . And from experience I can tell you that you definitely will regret it after God calls her home. Prayers and love too y'all and everyone
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Perhaps you could try using the parental controls available on most TVs to block the shopping channel.
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Cellytron, a neuropsychiatrist will happily sit you down and explain all about reward centres in the brain. When your mother sees one of these formulaic ads on tv and responds to it, her brain feels rewarded. It's nice. That's why she does it. And at that moment, any previous discussions about whether or not it's a good idea, and any promises she may have made, they just don't get a look in.

You could sit with her and talk her through how the ad. works, how it attracts and plays her as if she were a little lab rat with a debit card. You could even tape a picture of a cute one to her card, to remind her at the crucial moment. But the only way to get rid of the problem is to get rid of the t.v. and give her something more productive to do.
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Oh, boy! That sounds totally frustrating.
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