Costco has stopped carrying Phonak hearing aids

Didn’t see any Phonak aids in the display, so I asked. They have stopped carrying all Phonak (as well as KS10) hearing aids. They didn’t know if it was temporary or permanent. I also asked if there was anything new expected. She said no, but thought there would be something by the first of the year. Don’t know if there was any basis for the comment or not.

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This is just speculation. No real basis for the suggestion. But perhaps Costco wasn’t getting what it wanted out of Phonak relative to the KS10 situation and decided the way to bolster their point was to remove all Phonak HA’s until Phonak began to see things Costco’s way. One could equally interpret things the other way around. Phonak decided to make its point with Costco. No Phonak HA’s whatsoever until Costco sees things more from Phonak’s point of view.

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Both are certainly possible. My guess (and just a guess) is that Phonak was facing considerable price pressure from Costco (either directly, as in this is all we’ll pay) or indirectly in having all their hearing aids sell for notably less than Phonak) I’m guessing Phonak made a business decision that they could do ok giving up the Costco market.

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Took a look at the Costco website.
No Phonak aids or a KS hearing aid.

I wonder if there is a head butting going on about the KS11 aid.

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That’s gonna leave a mark.

WH

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I heard from the audiologist at my local Costco that Costco pulled them because of issues with the batteries and unreliableness of them. Then he went on to say that they will bring them back when those issues are solved.

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It may be more likely that, at the annual meeting, shareholders decided that the Costco business - already lower-margin and now with that possibly diluted by excessive KS10 returns - and made a business decision on behalf of management that the Costco channel was cannibalizing the parent brand too much and exerting too much downward pressure on ROI … I’m just throwing out another possibility.

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Maybe. But people aren’t going to stop going to Costco now, though. So they’d just be tossing their business out to Philips and Rexton. See how many more people are buying Philips 9030s now? And guess what, they’re pretty dang good.

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The Kirkland 10 devices were having a lot of faults and reliability issues. IMO Costco’s business model is all about low cost, high turnover. Get you in and get you out, which is excellent for a lot of people because they are so cost-effective, but they aren’t priced to facilitate a lot of aftercare follow-up/repair/adjust appointments for all their clients. They can’t afford to have a schedule filled with non-revenue-generating appointments for people coming in with hearing aid issues.

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My audi is very generous with her time; there are 3 in the shop so getting an appt. is easy. Cleanings happened at the front desk. Costco has great prices and is more time challenged. That said, now that I have a vacuum for my HAs, I don’t seem to need to go in. So if one can get fitted at Costco easily and like the HAs, it does offer a bargain. Clean them yourself.
Kirkland ps10s seem to be the most admired and talked about brand at Costco on this forum. So losing them may be painful.

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Unclear on what you are saying but Costco offers free cleanings.

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When I was looking into Costco for aids I was told that it takes a couple of months to get an appt. And I was responding to Louie’[s comments about Costco’[s business model. I remain impressed by their prices and how they make aids far more affordable.

I think it varies a fair amount store by store regarding appointment availability. My experience has been within a week or two max and being able to stop off any time for a cleaning or trouble shooting. For example if they find that a receiver is bad, they’ll replace it on the spot. If they determine it needs to be returned to the manufacture, they’ll take care of it. No need for an appointment.

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More information here:

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Well that’s that then, one helluva ride while it lasted, Phonak caves in to industry pressure on this, the rechargeable issue just compounded what the “industry” was firing at them since they first announced they were doing this with Costco, talk about a U turn, well I look forward to the KS11 from…

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An interesting statement by Phonak quoted in the Hearing Tracker article is that they won’t be doing OTC HA’s. I’m sure they’ve weighed the implications thoroughly. But I would think that’s a bad decision towards channeling aging customers with increasing hearing loss towards Phonak. With the availability and relative low cost of OTC aids, people may start wearing HA’s more to help with more moderate loss. Say, Signia, ReSound, etc., do offer OTC aids for mild loss. As buyers of those age, they may like their experience with the OTC aids and look forward to continuing with the same brand. Phonak won’t be capturing the same customers early on. But maybe their analysis shows that route is not likely to be a major source of future customers and name brand recognition will carry the day for them no matter how a potential customer starts out.

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It was interesting all right, no Phonak branded OTC from them, well sonova has quite a few sub-brands in the parts bin that they could use, it’s obvious they want some of the market, otherwise they wouldn’t have brought into Sennheiser and others, I believe this end of the market is going to be huge, a lot of fighting for market share, why? Well because the mild to moderate/severe hearing pie is pretty big, and those with hearing loss are getting younger thanks to the appeal to look cool with headphones and earbuds with no shortage of volume for the last 20 years!

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The KS10 is a very good hearing aid at a competitive price. I suspect that there were some misgivings within Phonak about having cannibalized its flagship products. It also means Phonak is now out of the running for Costco’s business. The delay of KS11 is due to lack of suppliers capable of ramping up supply as the Phonak conglomeration dominates the business. Costco is by far the leading retailer of HAs’. I am waiting patiently.

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I am not Sarah Palin and I can’t see Russia from my house, but I do approve this message :point_up_2:t2: :+1:t2: :laughing:

I’m not sure what is meant by this:

We are also ensuring that customers who want to engage in omni-channel models adhere to a new Phonak brand standards agreement for our prescription devices.

I assume their customers are audiologists/hearing aid practices. I think “omni-channel” refers to practices that sell multiple brands of hearing aids? Sounds like they really want to highlight the Phonak brand as a premium experience. I wonder if the brand standards agreement will include REM?

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