7OYS helps woman get refund after misleading hearing aid ad

7 On Your Side helped a woman get a refund after she was overcharged by a hearing aid company in Walnut Creek.
December 4, 2013 7:42:48 PM PST
A hearing aid company has been running ads offering hearing aids for a very low cost. However, one Bay Area woman said she wound up spending thousands of dollars and never did receive a device.

The ad was hard to resist. It offered customers a risk free trial and a big discount on hearing aids.

However, that wasn't the deal our viewer actually received.

She came to 7 On Your Side for help and now state officials are looking into her complaint too.

Orinda resident Lorna Mullick, 92, was having trouble hearing movies on TV.

"Actors mumble or don't speak clearly," she said.

Mullick figured she must have a hearing problem. So these full page ads really got her attention.

"You were going to get fitted with the hearing aids and if you weren't satisfied, you would get a full refund without any questions," Mullick said.

Mcdonald Hearing Aid Center in Walnut Creek was offering hearing aids for just $745, which customers could "try risk free, satisfaction guaranteed, nothing to lose."

"So I thought well that sounds OK so I went," Mullick said.

Technicians tested her hearing, took molds of her ears and then gave her a form to sign. She says she was so rushed, she didn't realize what she'd just done.

"No time to read it and no price on it either, until they told me to go and pay," Mullick said.

Mullick realized she'd just purchased hearing aids that cost, not $745, but $6,700. She had to put 50 percent down on the spot. However, she did go through with it.

"They were trying to force them into my ears," Mullick said.

She says the technicians couldn't fit the hearing aids into her ears.

"They were pushing hard and it was very, very uncomfortable," Mullick said.

The technicians kept making adjustments. The devices still didn't fit.

"I think I went back three, possibly four times," Mullick said.

The contract gives Mcdonald Hearing Aid Center six weeks to fit her properly, but after six weeks Mullick still didn't have hearing aids at all. So she called to cancel her order.

Mcdonald Hearing Aid Center said she had to go in person and apply for a refund.

"So I made an appointment," Mullick said.

However, Mcdonald Hearing Aid Center canceled her appointment and two more after that and then demanded she pay a 15 percent fee for canceling her order. She refused to pay.

"And so I called channel seven," Mullick said.

McDonald Hearing Aid has many locations across the state and turns out it has an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau.

We also learned the California State Department of Consumer Affairs is investigating several complaints against the company.

However, after we contacted the hearing aid center, it did refund Mullick's entire $3,300 payment. No one at the Walnut Creek store responded to the numerous requests for comment. However, we tracked down the store owner Mark Moore in Roseville.

In an email he wrote, "Customers learn all the terms of the sale before they buy. Each customer purchasing a hearing aid signs an agreement which is reviewed with the customer in detail. Mullick purchased a pair of hearing aids that were manufactured to fit her particular hearing loss. The request for cancelation was processed on October 1 and a full refund of her purchase money was provided that day. Hence, Mullick has been made whole."

"That's what channel seven did for me. I could hardly believe it," Mullick said.

Officials at the California State Department of Consumer Affairs declined to reveal more information about its investigation.

If you are looking to buy hearing aids or know someone who is, make sure to take your time and shop around before you sign an agreement.


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