Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Victims of "chiropractic contracts"

How can victims of "chiropractic contracts" get out of such contracts?:


My family and I were conned into paying for chiropractic treatments in advance. After four months of treatment, scare tactic, etc., I have woken up to the fact that my chiropractic care is not helping me or my husband and children. It is only causing much stress.

We still have about five months of payments left. We signed a contract and notified the clinic that we would like to discontinue care, but they said that the charges that are due are for the treatments from our first three months of service. Is there any way to get out of this contract?

I have just been sick about being conned. The chiropractor was very smart. I feel he might even believe wholeheartedly what he practices. He held an "extreme makeover" contest in our city which drew in the public. He "educated" (i.e. indoctrinated) people weekly about the state of their health. He also offered free screenings. The contest lasted 12 weeks and their was much success--many people lost weight and got off medications, etc... However, he also got a lot of people into his chiropractic clinic. First he did the scare tactic--used the machine on my husband that said his nerves in his back were all "in the red" and that he had phase 2 degeneration according to x-rays. His forward head thrust and numbers were all horrible and "will take 10 years off his life". But he wouldn't reveal any of my husband's findings unless I was with him. They did a screening on me and low and behold, I was worse than my husband. I said we might consider care, but I would be travelling much with work and would start maybe in 2 months when my schedule settled down. The chiropractor's wife (his nurse) stated that she "couldn't promise that I won't die that week of a heart attack if I don't get started on my treatments immediately" because my back is so bad. Now, I have to sidestep here: without knowing anything about me or my family history, how could she possibly state that? (I am 5' 3'', very healthy, 28 years old, 112 lbs, exercise regularly, and have no history of heart disease in my family). This should have been my tip to run! Then they presented us with the contract. I stated that we wanted to go home and think and pray about this decision (it was adding a monthly car payment practically to our bills) and they said we were not allowed to do that. They could give us a few extra minutes if we needed it. She checked with my insurance agency and they covered 20% of my expenses which should help with the cost. (This clinic also pushes all the "no immunizations", vitamin and mineral supplements, get off all medications because they are killing you, wobble chairs, etc....)

As treatments went on, both my husband's and my back were continually sore or in pain. We kept asking if this was normal and he assured us it was because our backs were so bad. After about 2 months we inquired about quitting and were told that all the work that we had done for our backs would be completely reversed and our backs would be worse than before. We were also told that we would be charged $105 for every visit we had made to the clinic (in the contract they are only $65 if you "complete" your treatments.) We continued to go because they had their foot on our neck. It has now been four months and I started researching and reading books and catching on to the scare tactics. I called my insurance company because I hadn't received any insurance receipts. It turns out they have never turned anything in to my insurance provider. In addition, it also turns out that the insurance company never approved treatments because the clinic isn't in my acceptable network list.

My husband and I don't quite know what to do. We still owe (I think) about $2000 (although we had asked a month ago how much we owed and never got an answer). If we don't pay it, they will "report us for bad credit." We will also be responsible for all legal fees if they sue us for the unpaid amount" (as stated in the contract).

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