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Kansas City woman fighting to get back fee she paid to join senior center

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Eighty-year-old Sandy Stiner said she thought she had a month to cancel her membership for an apartment at Kingswood Senior Center, but she was wrong. She struggled for over a year to get back the $167,000 fee she paid to join when she called the FOX4 Problem Solver for help.

“I think it’s a great place… It has all the perks I think I’m looking for,” said Stiner, who is planning to move into a one-bedroom apartment there and sell his home in the Brookside area. of Kansas City said.

Stiner said a salesperson in Kingswood promised her that a close friend had just joined in as well. But Ms. Stiner later learned that her friend had not participated. So after a few weeks of thinking, Stiner decided not to move to Kingswood and canceled his membership.

She said she sent a letter to the complex, but was later told it never arrived.

“I wrote them another letter and I took it and gave it to them,” Ms. Stiner recalls. “Because, under the contract, I can send it by registered mail or I can deliver it to the door.
I thought everything would be taken care of.”

She was wrong. More than a year has passed and Kingswood has not returned her any of her $167,000 deposits. What Stiner didn’t realize was that the complex could keep her money until it sold the membership to that one-bedroom apartment to someone else.

“All they had to do to not sell the property was not show it,” says Stiner. “And it didn’t show up for a long time when I bought the property.”

Stiner’s attorney, Ted Anderson, wrote a letter of request. No one at Kingswood answered. Now he is filing a lawsuit against the retirement community.

“You know, they told her she could get her money back,” Anderson said. “And that’s all they would have told her if she hadn’t moved here.”

Kingswood CEO Sergio Fernandez Del Pino said the terms of the contract were carefully explained to Ms. Stiner before she signed. However, Stiner said she doesn’t even remember seeing a contract let alone signing one.

Disputes like these involving senior living centers are not unusual, so much so that several states have passed laws protecting the elderly.

“I get more complaints these days about continuing to care for the retirement community in situations like these than I do,” said Patricia McGinnis, director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. what I’ve been doing in the 30 years since I started this organization.

In 2006, California passed a law requiring senior living centers (similar to Kingswood) to return most of their money to people if either party decides to cancel their membership within the first three months. first. Stiner’s story alarmed Miss McGinnis.

“She should have gotten everything back,” she said. “She was never possessive.”

However, unlike California, there is no law in Missouri or Kansas that protects seniors who contract with senior living centers.

McGinnis said she started hearing about more and more problems with senior living centers after the nonprofits that used to run them started using management companies to run them. Kingswood is owned by a foundation connected to the United Methodist Church.

Problem solvers have reached out to the church’s Missouri Convention for comment. They introduced us back to Kingswood.

Kingswood’s chief executive said the facility was complying with the law as well as the terms of the contract he said Stiner signed. Stiner will get his money back once a new member of that apartment is sold to someone else.

Stiner doesn’t know if she’ll live long enough to witness it.

https://fox4kc.com/news/problem-solvers/metro-woman-has-nearly-170k-hanging-in-balance-as-apartment-in-retirement-community-sits-empty/ | Kansas City woman fighting to get back fee she paid to join senior center

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