Elder Abuse and Foundation Repair (Fiscal Coercion & Pushy Salesmen)

In the construction business, there is no shortage of smooth talkers and silver-tongued salesmen who exert emotional and psychological manipulative prowess – we’ve all bought a magic bag of beans.

Salesmen can be pushyslick, whatever apropos adjective you want to slide in there – but America’s Elderly are a primary target for such Machiavellian sales tactics.

Upwards of 5 million older American adults are abused every year. The annual fiscal loss for elderly victims of financial abuse is calculated to be 36.5 billion.  

Here at Dalinghaus, we respect our elders, most of whom are simply trying to live out their golden years in peace.

In this article, we are going to equip our older, more experienced readership with tips on how not to be taken advantage of when it comes to foundation repair.

In this article, we are going to cover –

  • Elder Financial Abuse Definition
  • Financial Elder abuse tactics
    • Pressure/Coercion
    • Guilt
    • The Assumptive Close
  • 3 Days to Cancel Any Construction Project  

Facts with Brian – the average age of an elder abuse victim is 78 years old according to data collected in 2010 by the National Center on Elder Abuse.

The Definition of Elderly Financial Abuse

Elderly Justice Act: Elderly Financial Abuse Definition

The fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized, or improper act . . . that uses the resources of an elder for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain, or that results in depriving an elder the rightful access to, or use of, benefits, resources, belongings, or assets.

Financial Elder Abuse Tactics in Construction 

Pressure/coercion to sign immediately

Be wary of salesmen who push you to sign immediately. They don’t want you to ask for other bids to compare and contrast.

A rushed decision is rarely a good decision. They usually offer an X% discount if you sign on the spot.  

They utilize language like –

  •   I’m really not supposed to do this, but if you sign right now, I’ll give you the friends and family discount.
  •   I understand it’s tough financially for everyone right now, so if you sign today, I’ll wave some bogus blahblahblah fee.  

The question to ask for this particular pitch is – if you can offer me this discount today, why can’t you offer me the same discount next week after I’ve had the weekend to think it over and discuss it with my family?

Friends and neighbors, knowledge is power. They know you might jump on the internet and do a little digging, maybe even find a blog like ours here at Dalinghaus that outlines fair and balanced pricing for foundation repair.

Facts with Brian – While family and friends make up a considerable chunk of elderly financial fraud, businesses account for a whopping 12% of all financial elder abuse.  


Be wary of salesmen who sing a sad song by saying they are in a competition with the other salesmen, or they need to make this sale because they might be let go.

This type of salesmen might also act put out when you refuse to sign right away saying –

  •   You wasted all of my time today. I canceled/rearranged an existing appointment to fit you into my busy schedule. You’re being ungrateful.
  •   You want to leave your family a genuine financial investment, right? Well, a home with a busted foundation is not a viable nest egg…

The Assumptive Close

Be wary of salesmen who end their pitch by assuming you have decided to sign with them.

Truth is, when we assume, we make an ass out of u and out of me.  This closing sounds like –

  •   So, when should we get started?

This also fits into the either-or pitch – so, are we going with the helical piers or push piers today?

Obviously, the assumption here is that you will pick one or the other when maybe you’ve decided you don’t want to use this particular construction company.

In short, it’s a game of emotion – welcome to these are the days of our lives drama.  

Other Signs to Look Out For –

  •   Overcharging, increasing the scope of work
  •   Once you make a down payment, and the foundation repair construction company keeps pushing you off, never shows up
  •   Any foundation repair company that is not licensed, insured, and bonded. 
  •   They have horrible reviews

The National Center of Elder Abuse identifies seven variations of exploitation –

  1. Physical abuse
  2. Sexual abuse
  3. Emotional abuse,
  4. Financial/material exploitation
  5. Neglect
  6. Abandonment
  7. Self-neglect

3 Days Grace   

One vital piece of information to remember is that you legally have three days to cancel any construction contract you’ve signed in the beautiful state of California.

So, if you feel that you or an elderly loved one has been taken advantage of in any way, or just have an inkling that something isn’t quite right – you can cancel, no questions asked, within this designated time frame.

*Please Note – Some foundation repair contractors have a clause in their contract which specifies non-refundable deposits. While this is common practice, make sure to always carefully read the fine print.  

Dalinghaus encourages:

But don’t take too much time, as your signs and symptoms could quickly deteriorate…  

Have Peace of Mind with Dalinghaus  

So, in summary, you now know: 

  •  The definition of financial elder abuse
  •  The 3 main tactics utilized by pushy salesmen
  •  That you have 3 days to cancel any project without financial penalty (in the state of CA)   

If you or your elderly parent lives in Southern California or Central Arizona, we’d be happy to inspect your leaning chimneyfailing retaining wall, or foundation for FREE. Just click the link below –


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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