The hospital sold me a knee brace while I was drugged. How to return?
December 18, 2018 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Yesterday I got surgery and after coming out of recovery, I was sold a knee brace. I felt pressured into signing the paper, and was very confused. I signed it for $690 which I would never do with a clear head. And I even already had purchased the brace myself on Amazon for around $100. I feel taken advantage of, and would like to return my brace for a full refund, but I'm not thinking clearly (on all kinds of drugs and post anesthesia) please help me start the return process!

Yesterday I had ACL surgery and the hospital sent me home with this knee brace . I was disoriented just coming out of recovery, and they sent a woman from DJO Global (who apparently is in contract with the hospital and DJO Global has their own office at the hospital). The rep quoted me $400 if I pay cash today, or $690 if they bill me in the mail. I was loopy, and chose bill me in the mail, and signed some paper and she left immediately. I feel taken advantage of. I even had already purchased the same exact brace on Amazon new for about $100, and I was never given the option to not purchase their brace at the hospital. I'd like to return the brace that the DJO global sold me for $690 while I was drugged up. Here is an image of the return poilcy that states "DJO accepts returns for credit only within 14 days from the date of service". That doesn't seem encouraging, but on their website I found information that seems like returns are ok minus 15% restocking fee (which I am totally fine with). How should I go about trying to return this brace? I am in a lot of pain and on many pain meds so I'm not thinking super clearly. Thanks for all the advice!
posted by maxexam to Work & Money (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Have you called the number listed in the return policy? I'm not sure why the 14 days thing should matter, if you got it yesterday, you should be well within that limit.
posted by Aleyn at 12:14 PM on December 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


(The 14 days thing is likely this: "for credit only".)
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:24 PM on December 18, 2018


Honestly, I'd raise hell with them, with your surgeon, and with the hospital. This is total bullshit. I'd refuse to pay, and fuck off with the 15% restocking fee. This is deeply, deeply unethical. They took advantage of you when you were under sedation.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:25 PM on December 18, 2018 [74 favorites]


Ask the company once, directly and politely. If they say no, contact the hospital's ombudsman or patient representative. You've already written what you need: "I felt pressured into signing the paper, and was very confused. I signed it for $690 which I would never do with a clear head. And I even already had purchased the brace myself on Amazon for around $100. I feel taken advantage of, and would like to return my brace for a full refund."
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 12:31 PM on December 18, 2018 [42 favorites]


This is the kind of story the consumer affairs reporter at your local paper will jump all over. I'd try to resolve it yourself first, but I think you have that trump ard if you need it.

HOSPITAL SELLING OVERPRICED SUPPLIES TO DRUGGED PATIENTS. TUNE IN AT 11!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by COD at 12:40 PM on December 18, 2018 [34 favorites]


Whenever I've been given anesthesia, the nurse reminded me not to sign anything for the rest of the day, so this seems super sketchy to me. Mr. Know-it-some has the right approach.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 12:51 PM on December 18, 2018 [13 favorites]


If you've had lots of friends and family asking, "What can I do to help you recover from surgery?," well, this is what they can do to help. Have them call the company and raise holy hell about the way you were taken advantage of.

Calling the hospital patient advocate or ombudsman is also a good idea, even if you get a full refund. Allowing a company to approach patients who are still under the influence of anesthetic drugs to sell them something is so unethical, I feel sick to my stomach thinking about it.

And I totally agree that if you don't get any traction from the above, calling the local news is a great idea.

I'm so sorry this happened to you, and I wish you a speedy recovery from your surgery!
posted by jesourie at 2:17 PM on December 18, 2018 [17 favorites]


Is there anyone else who can start this return for you? If you are still on meds, you should let them handle this. Otherwise, if you think you will be done with the meds long before the 14 days are up, I would wait until you are off of them. If you can't wait and no one else can handle this for you, I would do everything you can over email so you have records of what each party says.
If they want to put the hard sell on patients (shitty, but it happens), they need to do that before the surgery and not after.
posted by soelo at 2:20 PM on December 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


Agree with what Mr. Know-it-some wrote. And some leverage you have when talking with them is - you haven't paid for the brace. They're sending you a bill. It's not necessarily the best thing to do, but you don't have to pay it, and you can point that out.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 7:08 PM on December 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


I’d talk to lawyer. This seems so unethical that maybe you could threaten to sue them for coercing you at a time when you were clearly still under the influence of medication that had caused you to be unconscious. I’m thinking there’s a chance you may not have even been legally able to sign a contract because you weren’t capable of understanding what you were signing.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:08 PM on December 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


The book, American Sickness, by Elizabeth Rosenthal, discusses practices like this. She is on Twitter and she is working with VOX on a surprise billing series. They may have some interest in your story.
posted by Altomentis at 10:09 PM on December 18, 2018 [7 favorites]


Hell, I’ll call them and yell at them. 15% restocking fee my ass. But yes, I’d follow Mr. Know-it-some’s advice. Don’t offer to pay the restocking fee!! It doesn’t cost them $105 to restock it. And then I’d contact media whether or not they refunded me.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 3:57 AM on December 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


It sounds like you haven’t paid the $690 right, correct? You have the brace and “agreed” to be billed for it. I’m an attorney (not your attorney; this is not intended as legal advice); if I were in your position I would email them and tell them that I was not going to pay the bill because, as they know, I was under the influence of medication and not in my right mind. I would offer to send them proof that you have already purchased a brace on Amazon and thus would never have agreed to buy one from them if you had been fully aware. I would offer to return the brace.

If they don’t agree not to bill you, I would tell them I plan to take them to small claims court over it - and I would absolutely actually take them to small claims court over this. Generally, contracts aren’t valid if you aren’t competent at the time you sign, and it’s pretty clear that you weren’t competent to make decisions when you signed. You even have proof that you already bought the brace which further shows that you wouldn’t have agreed to buy the brace!

I would also contact the hospital (they may have an ombudsman’s office) to complain - it is unacceptable to allow a person in that kind of condition to sign a contract, and IMO both the vendor and the hospital are at fault here. You’re not the only person who has been put in this kind of position, and I’m sure that some people just pay.
posted by insectosaurus at 9:30 AM on December 19, 2018 [5 favorites]


Also, call your state AG's office. This practice should be banned.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 10:25 AM on December 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


"The book, American Sickness, by Elizabeth Rosenthal, discusses practices like this. She is on Twitter and she is working with VOX on a surprise billing series. They may have some interest in your story."

And by complete coincidence, nearly every time Vox writes a story about a bullshit medical charge, the previously stubborn billing department suddenly decides they made a mistake.

Good luck.
posted by el io at 11:25 PM on December 21, 2018


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