Credit Card and Dementia

darrahSeptember 30, 2010

Is there any reason my 80 year-old sister, who has dementia,should continue to have a credit card? I have power of attorney to handle her finances and a few months ago, a couple of magazine subscriptions that had run out, were automatically renewed by the companies without her authorization. I feel having the card leaves her susceptible to something like this occuring again or perhaps even something more serious. On the other hand, I fear that if her roof leaked or some other major repair problem happened, at least it could be put on the credit card and be paid off over time. I now keep the credit card under lock and key.

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If you keep the card safe and she can't use it, keep it. I used my mother's card for things like prescriptions and other items where it was just easier to pay that way. But a word of warning---document EVERYTHING and keep all receipts if you choose to use the card. If you get any charges that are not authorized, simply dispute them in writing, per the card's procedures. You are wise to keep the card away from her.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 12:15AM
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Many of those subscriptions are setup to to automatically renew unless the company is notified not to renew. This may be what happened with your sister's account. If you can find the company the renewal is with you can probably cancel. Some magazines handle their own others use various services.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 11:31PM
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I don't know when magazines started that "ploy" - I certainly would never have given them automatic renewal permission. Doesn't necessarily have anything to do with a credit card - I've always written checks directly for renewals and have never put a subscription on charge.

However, in both of my cases - Martha Stewart and Architectural Digest - they send letters in advance of the bill giving you an 800 number to call to cancel. In my case, too, I would imagine simply not paying would result in an eventual cancellation.

On oh so many levels, someone with dementia and free access to a credit card is not a good thing. You're wise to keep it secured.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 12:51PM
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Another thing to secure would be her Social Security card if she has one. When my beloved Mother was sinking further and further into Alzheimer's she became extremely gullible and trusting. I caught her on the phone digging in her purse to give a stranger her SS number. Well, that card "disappeared" for safe keeping too.

You really have to be ever vigilant.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 1:01PM
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I caught her on the phone digging in her purse to give a stranger her SS number. Well, that card "disappeared" for safe keeping too.

Actually, none of us should be carrying our SS cards in our purses or wallets. Should they be stolen, a thief will have just about every bit of personal information that they need to steal your identity. Keep it in a safe place.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 6:06PM
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That is why I write checks for subscriptions and pay bills on line thru the bank. Magazines cannot renew automatically.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 8:34PM
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Next time you receive a subscription renewal look at the information closely there is almost always a box that if you check it your subscriptions will be renewed forever. Things have probably changed since I had to tend with my mom's passing but at the time you had to write telling the companies to stop the subscription.

The really tricky ones make the sentences in the body of the agreement normally just stating by subcribing you request that future renewals be charged to a card or to a bank account. Currently I am having a problem with the company that handles America's Test books on a similar problem. Part of the purchase of some book Hubby wanted apparently signed him up for automatic books to be sent. Twice now I have requested them to cancel the request. Where/when/if there was an actual request for the books I do not know but was probably in the fine writting that most scan over. Apparently the part about automatic ACH payments was not checked.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 6:45PM
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    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 11:31PM
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I recently noticed some payments charged on my debit card that I traced to a magazine subscription company. However, when I called the company and gave them my address they said that they didn't have anything for that address. I NEVER use my debit card for transactions like this, so I called my bank to get my debit card number cancelled. Then I remembered a magazine subscription that I have been paying for for my daughter, and looked on the company's website using my daughter's address, and sure enough, there were about 4 new subscriptions for magazines going to her address. And the prices were much higher than if you subscribed directly. I called my daughter, and she told me that she thought that she was getting free subscriptions - that was the come on. She didn't read the teeny tiny print that said that if she did not act that the subscriptions would automatically renew, and that the original card charged (which was apparently my debit card) would be charged. That's not even the card that I am currently using to pay for the magazine that I initially subscribed to for her. What really maddened me is that the mag. sub. company would not give me any information about the charges until I came up with the address that they were going to. Even though it was my card being charged!!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 12:55PM
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