An elderly Chinese woman has spent more than Ksh2.6 million (USD25,000) on breast-enhancement pills and other health products over a six-month period after being exploited by a telemarketer.
According to the Shangaiist, the 81-year-old retired teacher identified as Ms Wang lives alone in the city of Hanzhong, Shaanxi province in China.
The website noted that Ms Wang had lived comfortably on her retirement income but when she recently began borrowing money from relatives on numerous occasions, her daughter, Ms Feng, got curious and investigated the new behavior.
“She receives her retirement income and normally we give her some money, but I had no idea why she needed money from our relatives,” said Feng.
Ms Feng discovered that her mother has been spending all her money on health products, which were recommended to her by a friendly telemarketer.
“We’ve confiscated eight mobile phones from her in order to stop her from buying these health products,” she added.
The telemarketer reportedly took time to shower the elderly woman with affection, and he kept her company on the phone while she was lonely.
Ms Wang began to enjoy the attention from the telemarketer and she bought all the health products recommended to her.
Within six months, the elderly woman was conned into spending about USD25,000 on products, which included many breast enlargement pills and other products that health experts consider unfit for use by the elderly.
Wang’s 15-square-meter apartment is now full with a huge pile of health products, many of which remain unopened.
The incident prompted her daughter to make an official complaint with the city’s Consumer Complaints Center.
Cang Hongjie, director of the complaints center, said Wang had started to buy the health products after reading a magazine advertisement.
The marketing company responsible for selling the products had reportedly used flattery and promises of small favors to encourage Wang to buy the products, Cang said.
Since the company only sold the goods, and relied on another company to distribute the products, it would be difficult to investigate the matter further, Cang stated.
However, police managed to track down and contact the telemarketing company who finally agreed to take back all unopened products and reimburse Mrs Wang a total of USD17,804 (Ksh1.8 million).