I know for a fact that he cancelled the service because I was there when he made the phone call. Dementia is not an issue here, just physical disabilities. After the service had been canceled, employees from the company showed up anyway several more times ready to clean his house again. He called me each time this happened, and since I live just a few doors down, I went over and helped him explain to the people, that their services had been canceled. So they left after having done no housework. But now, they continue to bill him for these uninvited "visits." I have called the company several times, even spoke with the office manager. They say they will take care of it, but they don't. They are sending him past-due notices, threatening to refer him to a collection agency. And now the phone calls have started. It's rattling him really bad. I have told him to just throw the bills in the garbage, but he's an old-school kind of guy, and very honorable. He says he wants to die with his credit intact. I called the Illinois Council on Aging, and they referred me to the state's attorney for Kankakee County, Illinois. But the State's attorney told me they can't do anything because a crime has not been committed. Any suggestions? I feel like they are just trying to get money out of an old man who's dying from lung disease. And it makes me so mad.

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Hello... the Molly Maid corporate office in Ann Arbor, Mich. team saw this post from a Google Alert. We are so sorry to read about your neighbor's challenges and agree this is confusing! If you would please contact our corporate office directly at with your neighbor's name, city, state and zip code... we can ID the independently owned and operated franchise in his area... and find out what's happening and hopefully help provide a positive outcome. We look forward to your follow up.
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"naming and shaming".... CM, I like that term! And that's a good point. Talbrecht could get some good publicity by getting a local tv station involved, but preferably by also protecting his neighbor's identity to avoid revealing his fragile condition to the masses.

The station could just refer to an unidentified older male and still embarrass the company.
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Are you sure about who initiated the service? Was it the gentleman himself, or a family member, friend, social worker?

It just strikes me as possible that they're ignoring his attempts to cancel it because somebody else started it and "the computer says no."

With the greatest respect to him/her, the State's attorney is wrong: harassment is an offence, harassment of a vulnerable person is a worse offence.

I'm completely with you, I'd be spitting feathers if this were happening to a neighbour of mine. Do you feel like waging a whole campaign? Would you have the time to track these people down doggedly, naming and shaming as necessary?
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I just lost an entire answer, with references! Grrrr…. Starting my answer all over again...

You are indeed a good friend, and I'm sure your neighbor appreciates it. On behalf of him, and other seniors whose neighbors help them, I want to thank you for extending your time and compassion.

My father had a few neighbors like that; they are literally "worth their weight in gold."

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Google "Illinois Elder Law Agency". Or check out these hits that I think might be more helpful than the advice you got from the Illinois Council on Aging.

At the bottom of the first page of these hits are more links. I think you might find more help from these legal agencies directly than from the Council on Aging as a first source.

I always got good advice when I called the Elder Law of Michigan offices. And the advice was free.

2. DO NOT tell your friend to just throw away the bills. They're evidence of harassment. Save every one of them, including the envelope, and add the date of receipt. You may need them if the harassment continues to legal threats and you need to help him take legal action.

In fact, you could add to the documentation by answering phone calls for him when you visit. If you have any way of recording them, do so. It's more evidence.

3. Get caller ID for him and advise him not to answer any unknown numbers. If the call is legitimate, a message would likely be left. And if there is a message, don't erase it; it could be evidence.

That could at least help lower some of the harassment that's upsetting him.

4. Help him with a letter to the agency, sent certified mail, return receipt requested, setting forth the history, specifically the date work started, the date your friend called and ended the service, all the harassing subsequent calls and all the harassing letters.

Demand that their action cease, or that he will be forced "to take any action deemed appropriate". One of the top attorneys I worked for advised to use that kind of vague innuendo - don't describe specific actions, be vague so options aren't limited.

4. Is this agency licensed with any accrediting agency? I was surprised when I found a private duty agency that WAS licensed. If the harassing agency is, contact the accrediting company and file a complaint.

5. How did your friend learn about this particular agency? If it was online, contact the referral agency and file a complaint. If it was recommended by someone else, let them know the harassment is unacceptable.

6. Is anyone still coming to the house? If so, I'm hoping he has locks on all his doors? I honestly think though that the harassment is coming from the agency, not the workers; they probably don't have time to engage in this kind of behavior.

7. Have you researched this agency with the Illinois department of corporate records? Or, do you know if your friend signed a contract (hopefully he did). If so, read the contract, make sure he's done what he needs to do to fully terminate the services, then contact Illinois government to get the names of the incorporators if the company is a corporation, the responsible parties if it's an assumed name, etc.

I.e., go to the top and contact the head honchos in charge; let them know what the agency is doing.

It wouldn't surprise me if this agency is a franchise; I found that many private duty companies are. E.g., Molly Maid is the name of a corporation which I can't remember. But the MM logo is a famous one, more so than the people who really own the entire company, and the MM logo is also a brand which is well known.

So, you might be able to make some progress by going right to the top, especially if the local unit is just a franchise. The big companies don't want franchise owner who don't play by the company's rules.

8. If you do go to the top, i.e., the owners and responsible parties, don't make accusations. Just set forth the issues, then ask what THEY can do to stop the contact by the locals. This way you're not libeling anyone; you're turning the problem over to and up to the top level for solution.

I think I had more suggestions but can't remember them right now.

Good luck; please let us know how this works out, and what solutions you found effective.
Helpful Answer (2)

Talbrecht, what does the service contact say? Maybe your neighbor needed to give a certain time of notice to cancel in writing, and if he didn't he may be required to keep paying the cleaning fee until the service gets something in writing.  Or even with a telephone call to cancel, there could be a wait of time until the contract ends.
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