By Joanne Arbogast
The Daily Item
Hearing aids and batteries are expensive — a single hearing aid can cost thousands of dollars.
And if it isn’t fitted correctly, a hearing aid is useless.
The state attorney general’s office has received reports of aggressive salesmen using hard-sell tactics that may persuade people to purchase the wrong hearing aid or one they don’t need.
According to “A Consumer Guide for Seniors” compiled by the attorney general’s office, hearing-aid sellers are required by state law to tell you up front that any examination or representation made by them as a registered hearing-aid dealer or fitter is “not an examination, diagnosis or prescription by a person licensed to practice medicine and therefore must not be regarded as a medical opinion.”
The seller must also:
Give you a written receipt containing all pertinent facts and specifications regarding the hearing aid and indicate whether the hearing aid was used or reconditioned.
Provide a detailed disclosure agreement containing a complete description of what the fitting procedure or process does and does not include.
Disclose any and all fees, including cancellation fees and
Provide you with an instructional brochure.
Most importantly, the law says no hearing aid can be sold to anyone unless it’s accompanied by a 30-day money-back written guarantee.
Not all hearing loss problems can be fixed with a hearing aid, so before investing in one, be sure and get examined by a licensed otolaryngologist or doctor of audiology and confirm a hearing aid will help.
You’re heard it before, but take time to read any paperwork before signing anything. Otherwise, you run the risk of signing an agreement to waive the need for a medical examination before you buy a hearing aid.
It is recommended that you don’t pay with cash. Instead, use a credit card or check (payable to the company, not the salesperson). This way you can quickly stop payment, if need be.
And remember, the seller is required by law to give you a 30-day money-back guarantee. Be sure you receive it.
To check if your hearing-aid seller and fitter are in compliance with Pennsylvania’s Hearing Aid Sales Registration Law, check with the state Department of Health’s Hearing Aid Registration Program at (717) 783-8078.
To file a complaint, call (877) 888-4877 or visit www.attorneygeneral.gov.