Medical alert company accused of taking advantage of elderly
A company that makes emergency alert devices has been ordered by the Maryland attorney general to stop operating for defrauding the elderly.
Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler said today that his office has issued a cease and desist order against Medical Alert Buyers Alliance Corp, a business owned by Glenn Chumley of Odenton.
The state accused Chumley of preying on elderly consumers by selling them emergency alert devices and one-year service plans, but then not responding when they needed help. The devices were supposed to connect people with an emergency alert center if they fell or had other medical emergencies.
According to the charges, Chumley and his company entered into contracts with more than 1,000 customers promising to help them. After going more than $100,000 in debt with a vendor, the company stopped providing the emergency alert services even though consumers had already paid for them.
When consumers pressed the buttons on their emergency alert devices, nobody responded. One consumer told state officials that his elderly mother pressed her emergency alert device when she fell and broke her shoulder, but nobody replied. Another consumer described waiting for hours to get help after she could not reach anyone using the emergency alert device purchased from Chumley.
The state also accuses Chumley of continung to bill consumers for emergency services he did not provide, making unauthorized charges on consumers' credit cards and failing to honor warranties and guaranties made to his customers.
The state has ordered Chumley and his business to return any payments they received without customers' authorization or for services they did not provide. The company has also been ordered to stop selling emergency alert services to consumers unless they post a $20,000 bond or other security with the attorney general's office and provide the services they sell.