A friend's 96 year-old mother recently contacted a plumber to fix a leaking pipe. Unprompted, the plumber suggested her hot water system be replaced – particularly as it would be Christmas in two weeks and she wouldn’t want to be without hot water would she? Concerned, with guests coming to stay, she raised this with her son – what should she do? He arranged for his plumber to go around, who advised that the heater did not need to be replaced – and expressed his frustration at the practice of worrying elderly consumers unnecessarily to undertake work prematurely. Of note, some nine months later, the hot water system is still going.
Another friend’s mother and father had two burly men knock on their door one day, offering to trim their trees, for cash. They have returned every year over the past three years to ask to do the same. This past month they have returned again, and my friend’s mother, now a widow living on her own, agreed to pay them $150 cash for work that was not needed, because she didn’t feel comfortable to say no.
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