5 On Your Side

Man fights for refund for hormone replacement

Posted February 16, 2011 4:25 p.m. EST
Updated February 16, 2011 6:22 p.m. EST

— Fred Sawyer of Cary wears a special ring to remind him of his late wife Sherry, who died suddenly in September.

"I'll wear (it) until the Lord takes me home," he said.

He had his wife's wedding band permanently bonded to his, a daily reminder of the strength of their union.

"She was my soul mate," Sawyer said. "We did everything together. Everything."

Last July, after years of hormone related issues, Sherry went to HRC Medical Center in Cary for treatment. The Sawyers paid nearly $3,000 for a year of treatment, which included office visits, blood work, vitamin injections and four hormone treatments. Sherry was able to get only two treatments and two blood works before she died.

A couple of weeks later, Sawyer called HRC to explain what happened. He asked manager David Hale about a partial refund. Sawyer says after some back and forth, HRC agreed to refund $1,500, about half of what he paid.

"That was it. She said that was all they were gonna do," he said.

But Sawyer never got that refund. In November, after he contacted the finance company, HRC credited him $750.

He called HRC again about the remaining $750. No response. He even had an attorney write a letter. Nothing.

"I wanted to call back. I actually wanted to go down there in person. But in my state of mind here, I didn't really want to," he said. 

So he called 5 On Your Side, and 5 On Your Side called HRC.

President Don Hale said that Sawyer was never promised a $1,500 refund. He pointed to a contract clause that says all money is "non-refundable" and that if the patient wishes to stop treatment for "any reason," the per treatment charge is $1,125, which is more than the package price.  

Hale said under the contract, Sawyer was owed only $750.

Sawyer contends that Sherry didn't wish to stop treatment – she didn't have a choice. Hale called that a "technicality," but after 5 On Your Side called, the company sent a check made out to Sherry Sawyer for another $750 because Hale wanted to "get him happy."

Sawyer thinks the whole ordeal is just sad.

"I wouldn't want to have anybody else to have to go through it. It's not right. It's just not right," he said.

Hale said the bottom line is that he "stands behind that contract." 

Sawyer believes sometimes there's a difference between what's legal and what's right.

HRC is based in Nashville, Tenn., but has a treatment center in Cary.