By Wayne Johnson, Coordinator of Client Services, Salinas
A client came into our office the other day and said they had received a brochure in the mail for a captioned telephone and had purchased it at a cost of $99.95 on their credit card. Another client came in saying that an out of state family member had purchased a captioned phone for them. However, when it arrived they had no idea how to connect or use it.
Before spending money on a phone advertised as being for the Hard of Hearing check with the California Telephone Access Program (CTAP) 1-800-806-1191. CTAP is a program of the California Public Utilities Commission’s Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program. They provide many Free phones, including captioned phones, for California residents with differences in hearing, vision, mobility, cognitive and speech levels. They also provide great support for those who have their phones, including installation and instruction on how to use the phone you receive.
Always research before agreeing to offers over the phone or sent to you in the mail or e-mail. Many times the same item is available from a government or local program. Programs you can discuss services and equipment with in person and who will be there if you need assistance.
The other important thing to remember is if you do not know someone, no matter how nice they seem on the phone and how they have just what they tell you that you need, if you give them your credit card number you are giving them the keys to your financial kingdom. Unfortunately, I have seen this happen. It can be very expensive and time-consuming to resolve, including fixing your credit rating and dealing with ID theft.
In previous generations, importance was put on “locking your doors” to your home. While that is still extremely important, today we have to lock out people from getting our personal information.
Of course, these offers you receive in the mail may be legitimate. Do your research on the companies, check the Better Business Bureau’s website to see if there are any complaints that would cause you concern. And don’t forget, before you buy anything, check to find out if you can get the equipment for free first. When in doubt, contact us at DHHSC.