Scumbag chiropractor just ripped MIL out of $3000!

The story I got from my wife is my 73 year old Mother In Law went to see a chiropractor for some pain issue. Said “doctor” talked her into signing up for a $3000 dietary program. Except a few problems:

  1. My MIL was in the hospital in August for a severe colon infection that almost took her life
  2. She is a true suffer of Celiac disease, not a fad “gluten free” dieter and when she got the food and the program, she couldn’t eat most of it.
  3. The program required an almost "fasting " diets, which someone who suffered from her recent surgeries and Celiac disease, is a non option.

My wife told me she returned all the supplements, but the Chiropractor refused to offer a refund. My MIL, who is a bot sheepish, just walked away from $3000 which is a LOT of money.

This has me burned up. I love my MIL, I don’t like to hear about seniors being taken advantage of, and the whole thing smells like a scam. I get the whole “caveat emptor” thing, but I feel like she was taken advantage of!

Trust me, I have a handful of non-legal ideas about how to get her money back, but before I track down this quack and show him why he is a crook who deserves broken toes and fingers, I’d prefer to consult with the more rational Dopers here first.

After calling, and POLITELY asking the receptionist for a full refund, and she tells to fuck myself like she did my Mother In Law, and before I drive over . . . .

What possible LEGAL remedies are available? Im trying hard to think of some, but Im guessing elder law? Threatening to report him to the Attorney General? What else can I do before I have to take this further? Keep in mind this is a QUACK, a pretend doctor, a chiropractor, so who is he to charge $3000 for a phone baloney supplement program?

If screwed, I will go to original plan. I think $3000 is a small prover to pay for hurt pinky, right?

He is probably going to tell you that he can’t resell supplements that your MIL took out of the office, which is why he didn’t offer a refund, and that’s probably true, but I’ll bet this guy isn’t above reselling the ones that weren’t opened anyway.

Given your MIL’s background, it’s obvious he did not take a medical history, something an actual, real doctor would have done. You might try threatening him with legal action, or say that if you don’t get at least a partial refund, you will be consulting a lawyer. “Good cop/Bad cop” him by telling him that your wife is hellbent on going to a lawyer ASAP, but you would like to settle this man to man before she gets a chance to. If you can do this late Friday, so it seems like she’s planning on going to the lawyer Monday, and you want to settle up over the weekend, so much the better. I tried something like this with an insurance adjuster who was dicking my husband and me around, and it worked like a charm. I was all “My husband wants to call a lawyer, but I don’t want to get involved with one, and I really want to settle this between us if we can,” and suddenly the agent was offering us all kinds of things he hadn’t been before.

You might suggest that this guy overstepped his bounds and was practicing medicine without a license, and he’s damn lucky your MIL didn’t eat his garbage, get sick and die, or he’d be answering to a hell of a criminal malpractice complaint.

Please do not hurt him. Yes, he is a total shmuck, but now you are in the right. Stay there.

Keep us posted.

Your MIL is an adult, she has to assume responsibility for this dumb decision. If there is legal recourse then pursue it, maybe he has to return her money if she didn’t use the product. Your MIL could just as easily have been talked into paying $3000 for a dietary program by Marie Osmond.

In my experience posting calm, factual, descriptions of your complaints on the business’ Facebook page gets pretty quick results.

As it was described the chiropractor was negligent. $3,000 doesn’t begin to cover the financial damage.

Yelp! the livin’ shit out of him.

Yes, 73 doesn’t mean doddering old fool, unless you left out other details. My father is 73 and a little more nervous than he used to be, but perfectly competent. She was sold something – happens to all of us although maybe not to that degree.

You are infantilizing a nominally competent adult with your actions. You are also confusing chiropractors with doctors to some extent. While some of their methods are useful to some people for pain relief a lot of what they espouse as therapy is pure quackery. You’re trying to get money back from a professional huckster which is a tough row to hoe. Your MIL bought something and it was delivered, unless you are going to be able to definitively show fraud or that she was mentally incompetent the premise of your case is questionable.

Unless you can shame him on social media or via a review into coughing up something I don’t see that you have a strong legal case to pursue. I would have your wife try to contain your MIL spending in the future if your MIL is willing to cooperate.

For whatever reason Chiropractors are allowed to use the title “Doctor”. That places their clients in the roll of “patient”. In the op’s example the Chiropractor prescribed a line of treatment that was harmful to the person involved. Age is not a factor.

“Scumbag Chiropractor” is redundant.

Call the police on this person. Some states have laws protecting the elderly.

The patient wasn’t harmed, and agreed to the treatment. There’s no course of action there.

From the OP:

  1. My MIL was in the hospital in August for a severe colon infection that almost took her life
  2. She is a true suffer of Celiac disease, not a fad “gluten free” dieter and when she got the food and the program, she couldn’t eat most of it.
  3. The program required an almost "fasting " diets, which someone who suffered from her recent surgeries and Celiac disease, is a non option.

the patient was harmed. A person parading around with the title of “Doctor” prescribed a course of action for health reasons and that course was overwhelmingly harmful.

“Agreeing to the treatment” is the cart before the horse. How is the patient supposed to know it’s harmful? She went to this quack under the assumption he had a clue what he was doing. This is like saying someone agreed to silicone injections therefore any harm that comes to them is their fault.

Perhaps I am mistaken but I read that as the MIL was in the hospital last August prior to seeing the chiroquackter, so the harm was not caused by him, and perhaps caused by her ‘real doctor’. So if the OP comes in and says that your version where he is complaining about this one year after the event would have had to take place then I’ll apologize and state that you were correct.

Which, as I read it, was offered as evidence that the “treatment” prescribed would have resulted in great harm to the patient had she followed it.

I’m also not positive if the treatment caused it but offering the treatment in the first place is negligent. This is really just a money scam in the first place and that’s fine. Buyer beware. But since this involves safety and health issues the responsibility falls heavily on the person selling the scam. It’s relevant that it’s someone in a health related industry selling the product. There is liability associated with it.

If there is a licensing agency involved with becoming a Chiropractor I would look into challenging the doctor’s license.

Contact the state board. And tell the chiro beforehand. If nothing else gets results, this may.

Yes, chiropractors are licensed by the state, just like nurses, barbers, physicians, accountants, etc. I live in a city that has a college of chiropractic, and they’re on every street corner (it seems). They do some legitimate things, but I do agree that much of their philosophy is woo.

Other than losing money, how was she harmed? She never took any of the supplements.
Did she disclose her condition to the chiropractor before he proscribed the supplements? I don’t know.

I’m thinking that either she was taken in a scam (more likely explanation) or she didn’t tell him meaningful information which would have changed his advice.
Further, if he’s a scam artist, is he really a chiropractor or is that BS too?

I don’t disagree with this at all. But I think she hasn’t been harmed and there’s not much that can be done, the ‘doctor’ is probably well aware of legal limitations and staying within them. Frankly, I think she should be happy if she can find a way to get her money back. And if she doesn’t learn from this she’s just going to scammed again.

I have known two ethical chiropracters and they both told me that most chiros are quacks. They each treated one thing and one thing only: back problems. One has kept me going for decades.