82-year-old with Parkinson’s out $6,300, decides ‘Better Call Behnken’

OroGold Store
OroGold Store

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – When do aggressive sales techniques cross the line?

For Bruce Bailor and his wife, Elaine, the answer is very clear. Bailor is 82 years old. He has Parkinson’s Disease and admits he’s not as sharp as he used to be. If he’s late on a dose of his medicine, his mind is even foggier.

All of these characteristics made him the perfect customer for OroGold, a cosmetics store in the Westfield Brandon shopping mall.

“He grabbed me and said, ‘I want to show you something for your wife,’ and I was attracted to that idea,” Bailor said.

Bailor was at the mall for a repair at a computer store, when he strolled past the OroGold store. As is customary, the store had a well-dressed, in-your-face salesman at the front door. Bailor made eye-contact and, before he knew it, he was inside the store and knee-deep in a rehearsed sales pitch.

OroGold sold Bailor more than $6,300 worth of anti-aging skin care creams and serums, as a gift for his wife. Bailor says the transaction was so fast, so suave, that he didn’t realize how much it cost. He had bought similar gifts over the years for his wife, he said, and never imagined skincare could cost thousands of dollars. (one item on Bailor’s receipt was $1,800.)

His wife Elaine was not impressed. She didn’t care that the company claims the products are, “infused with real gold.”

Before Bailor even made it home, Master Card called his wife, Elaine, to ask if she really bought more than $1,300 in face cream. She said she did not, and that charge was credited to her account.

Unfortunately, the biggest charge, for $5,020, apparently wasn’t enough to raise concern at American Express, as that company did not call Bailor to confirm the charge, she said. It wasn’t until her husband arrived home with his bag of goodies that she saw the receipt.

The very next day, the couple took the products back the store, and Mrs. Bailor explained her husband’s mental state and that he made a very big mistake.

“He points to a sign that says, ‘No returns and no refunds,” but it was buried under other product,” Elaine Bailor said.

The Bailors aren’t the first to complain of OroGold’s “no refund” policy. There are pages of complaints online from others who weren’t happy with their purchases either. Many complained they were not aware of the policy until it was too late. None of them complained, however, for purchase amounts as large as Bailors.

The Bailors decided they ‘Better Call Behnken,’ so I went to the Brandon store for answers.

The saleswoman at the front door said she didn’t recall Bailor’s situation but confirmed the no return, only exchanges, policy. When asked if that is fair, she said if Bailor bought and knowingly signed a receipt that says (in very small print, by the way) “no returns” then that is just the way it is.

“I’ve never been taken so badly in such a short period of time,” Bruce Bailor said.

When questioned about why the store would sell an 82-year-old man more than $6,300 in cosmetics, she said that amount is not even considered a high amount for OroGold. The average sales price, she said, is $18,000.

She called her boss, Ami Rubin, the man who sold the cosmetics to the Bailors and he referred 8 On Your Side to the company attorney. The lawyer did not return repeated phone calls.

OroGold Customer Service, based at its headquarters in California, did respond to emails from 8 On Your Side:

“OROGOLD at Brandon Mall is an independently managed retail location and although it is our brand policy to assist in resolving any customer concerns to the best of our ability, any final decisions would be made by the local management.”

So we called the owner of the Brandon location, Ami Rubin, again and left a message. It was not returned.

Meanwhile, Bruce feels foolish, but he is smart enough to recognize what happened to him at the Brandon OroGold store.

The Bailors ended up mailing the products back to the store, as advised by their credit card company. But even that didn’t work.

Now, the couple is left with more than $5,000 in credit card charges and dealing with late fees and collection threats.”He had somebody who was stupid enough to listen to him and go along with what he was saying.”


Do you agree with the store’s policy and refusal to take back the products? We’ve posted this to our Facebook page. Sound off in the comments or share with your Facebook friends and family.

 

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