Medical Alert Service Provider Ordered to Pay More Than $800,000
Anne Arundel-based company failed to respond to consumers' emergencies
Baltimore, MD ( July 20, 2012) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has ordered Glenn Chumley to return the payments he received from consumers for medical alert services he failed to provide and to pay a $778,000 civil penalty. The Division found that Chumley, of Odenton, through his company Medical Alert Buyers Alliance Corp., preyed on elderly consumers by selling them emergency alert devices and one-year service plans promising to connect them with an emergency alert center if they fell or had other medical emergencies. Customers, however, did not receive a response when help was needed.
"There is no excuse for businesses and individuals that show such wanton disregard for the health and safety of their customers, particularly those who are vulnerable," said Attorney General Gansler. "Consumers should not have to worry that the services they purchased will not be provided when they need it most."
The Division found that Chumley stopped providing emergency alert services to more than 1,000 customers after he could no longer afford to pay his service provider. As a result, when consumers experienced emergencies and pressed their emergency alert devices, nobody responded. On one occasion, a consumer received no response when she fell, broke her shoulder and pressed the button on her emergency alert device. Another consumer fell and hurt herself and had to wait for four hours before she was discovered lying on the floor because nothing happened when she pressed her emergency alert device. Rather than tell his customers that their emergency alert services had been terminated, Chumley and his company continued to send annual bills to many of his customers. For these and other reasons, the Division has ordered Chumley to pay a civil penalty of $778,000, which equals the maximum penalty of $1,000 per violation for the 778 consumers that Chumley billed for emergency alert services that he did not provide.
The Division also found that Chumley made unauthorized charges on consumers' credit cards and failed to honor refund guarantees that he made to consumers. The Division's order contains an injunction preventing Chumley from continuing his unfair and deceptive trade practices and requires him to return all of the payments he collected from consumers for emergency alert services that he failed to provide. Chumley must also return the money he owes to consumers for promised refunds and unauthorized credit card charges. Although the Division continues to try to ascertain the total amount of restitution owed, Chumley is ordered to pay at least $36,257.98, an amount that the Division has already confirmed Chumley owes consumers.
Consumers with complaints against Medical Alert Buyers Alliance Corp. or Glenn Chumley may call the Consumer Protection Division at 410-528-1840 or 877-261-8807. Consumers may also write the Division at 200 St. Paul Place, 16th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202.