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Dealing With Cancellation Policies When You're Chronically Ill

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OK, so maybe it’s just me… maybe I’m letting my emotions get the best of me. But I have something that need to get off my chest and share with others to see how they feel. This has been really bothering me lately and I doubt you’d ever imagine what it would be, but I find it necessary to speak up about!

Here it is… cancellation polices! As a person who is chronically ill, these really bother me. I feel like they are a constant reminder that I’m not “normal” and that no matter how hard I try I can never be the person I once was, before I was so sick. To be even more honest, they actually spark anger in me. I do understand and respect why they are in place but some policies that I am seeing lately are downright ridiculous.

When push comes to shove, people don’t get it. They don’t understand that sometimes I’m too sick and I have to cancel a doctor’s appointment. That an emergency room doesn’t know how to help me, that people literally look at me like I’m from outer space.

I have multiple autoimmune diseases, so long story short my body can decide to declare war on itself at any second! I don’t expect someone working somewhere to know this, but I expect that if things go south from something I literally have no control over, and is hard for my doctors to help me control, then maybe they would do the right thing and not hold me accountable for the cancellation policy.

There have been many times when because of cancellation polices I simply tell my family or my husband “no,” because of two things: I will get extremely upset if I can’t miss it and secondly feel a ton worse because I just cost us money. I don’t need these polices to make me feel worse about how sick I already feel. I don’t cancel because I want to, and I wish people would understand that! There are days when I wake up and I
cannot walk. This is 100 percent out of my control. I feel some businesses should lighten up. The 24-hour cancellation policy isn’t too bad, but if I’m being honest, sometimes I still won’t chance it. A perfect example is when I wanted to sign up for a massage and they told me I had to give my credit card to reserve the spot and if I didn’t show up I would be charged for it. I explained my situation and they didn’t seem to care. I told them I would do everything in my power to be there but sometimes I can’t walk. They didn’t compromise, so I said forget it I’m not going.

Another example: just the other day I wanted to sign up for a service I do all the time with the same person going on years now. But this particular person decided to put in a cancellation policy — not a 24-hour cancellation policy, 72 hours! My mind was blown! Seventy-two hours for a spoonie to know if they will be able to make it is like me guessing the winning lottery numbers. And if you didn’t cancel before the 72 hours they would still take 75 percent of the amount of your service. I couldn’t believe it. I am not even kidding, I cried about it. But then I thought about it and said you know what, I will just bring my illness elsewhere. And let me tell you I never canceled an appointment with this person in the years I’ve been going to them. But that cancellation policy is almost like a slap in the face.

Most cancellation polices are getting to the point where now I don’t want to do anything. To do anything these days you need to give a credit card and they are going to charge something even if you don’t show. Once again, I’m not saying we shouldn’t have them, but maybe we can have an open discussion about what’s allowed. With my conditions I literally have a 100 percent unpredictable body that changes faster than the weather. And I will be giving my business elsewhere until I have no choice.

I feel that some of these polices are just not customer-friendly and probably turn people off. I have enough worries and anxiety with my health; I truly don’t need any
more added to my life. I almost feel like some of these cancellations polices are taking advantage of the consumer and are not open minded to what is behind each individual.

Getty photo by Antonio Guillem

Originally published: March 3, 2018
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