Penalty for returning hearing aids

Here in New York City, my audiologist tells me that if I purchase a pair of hearing aids and return them within 45 days, a small percentage of the purchase price is forfeited. A friend has experienced the same with another audiologist. Is this true everywhere or of all HA companies or audiologists? I ask this because so many people on this forum talk about returning hearing aids, yet no one seems to mention or be bothered by this charge. In particular, I note that many people who are using Costco have taken to returning hearing aids when they are not satisfied. Is Costco the exception?

I’ve lived in Florida for the last ten years and have never heard of that. I’ve heard of restocking fees for items purchased and returned over the internet. But I haven’t heard of this is the context of hearing aids. That is disturbing.

I’ve never heard of that either. No one that I’ve gone to for the last 15 years has had such a policy. I would look into finding another audiologist.

Most audiologist charge a small percentage of the price of the HA to basically cover the time they have invested in trying to get you to like them. If you return the first HA but end up buying another HA from the same audiologist they wave the restocking fee on the first HA, so this might be why you never were subjected to the return fee. At Costco and I believe Sam’s if you don’t like the HA you get all your money back even if you buy your HA elsewhere.

It varies from place to place. You may want to check your state’s laws to see what they are allwed to charge for.

I have had professionals charge nothing, even after making custom ear molds. That professional ot paid for the hearing test through my health insurance, though.

Online, Hearsource charges a percentage for returned aids.

I believe my current professional said he would charge $50 per aid to cover costs related to shipping the aids back.

Percentage, restocking fee, shipping fee, its all to compensate the professional for their time spent with you when you didn’t keep the hearing aids. It’s all negotiable and some will not charge if you switch to another model but stay with them. Costco does not charge a fee and has a 90 day trial period.

While I don’t call it a restocking fee or a percentage, I do charge a small return fee to cover material expences, credit card/bank fees and courier fees. I don’t think this is out of line.

Same with Sam’s. That said, many specialists would argue that a fee is also something to keep you from returning the hearing aids without thinking about it. We see a lot of that here at Sam’s Club. Patients freely admit that there is nothing wrong with the aids, they hear better with them, but they don’t really want to spend the money. Return fees can make some of these think about a return a little more seriously, even though they get 90% of the amount back.

every audiologist that I spoke with as I shopped for my hearing aids said that there is a 10% fee if the hearing aids are returned during the trial period. I live in NY and I think this is pretty much standard operating procedure here. It is a bit annoying, but I encountered it everywhere.

Thanks for verifying this. Just before I got your message, I phoned a major hearing aid professional in New York City who told me that there is a 75 day test period (apparently this also depends on the professional) and a 10% fee unless one eventually does purchase a hearing aid, even (apparently) if it’s from another company. But the first response was 10%. Only after I asked if there were exceptions, did I get this revised answer. Now my present audiologist (and her predecessor who has left) both told me just the 10%. I will recheck about whether it is forgiven if I keep a second set.

I ‘demo’ed’ a pair of Oticon Agil Pro’s (subject of a thread I posted earlier).
At the end of the demo period (3 weeks) I purchased a pair of Oticon Acto Pro’s.
I have until April 1st to do one of the following:

Return them …forfeit $200
Return them and order different pair (for me that would be Agil Pro’s if I do this)…this involves no forfeit fee.

In other words if you return them outright you pay $200. If you exchange, you don’t forfeit.

It is a method to discourage you from backing out of the HA line and going with a different one.

They want to lock you in to getting the HAs from them. Even if the ones you hate are being returned, they don’t want to let the BIG $$ go so they force you to to buy different ones from them through a bit of “legal” extortion… They name it all kinds of things like restock fee or other. in reality its a lie.

if there was a restock fee then the cost of restocking is there regardless of switching aids thus if it was really restocking fee then they would be charging it even if you ere exchanging past a certain date.

so waving the fee by getting different aids from them is nothing more than extortion.

what a total load of crap…
you know going in exactly what the deal is if you don’t like it don’t do it!
for someone’s who’s whole world is on the taxpayers dime… they should make you sweep the street or pickup dog crap at the park instead of sitting on your a$$ polluting the internet.

No, it’s not Corey. It’s a fee to cover the time/resources an audiologist or HIS spends on each patient. Call it whatever they want (I do believe “restocking fee” is misleading but it’s not a lie) if I spend 3-5 hours on a patient adjusting their hearing aids and doing everything in my power to get them to work for that patient and they choose to return the devices and not try something else I deserve to be paid for my time. Kentucky allows pros to keep 10%, I and my employers feel that’s a bit excessive so we charge $100/ear if someone doesn’t keep their hearing aids. I will waive that on occasion for patients who are very negative going into it because I’m pretty confident that they will keep the hearing aids and therefore be a non-issue and 95% of the time, I’m right - they end up keeping them. When I explain to patients why that fee is in place, nearly all are very understanding and realize that I need to and deserve to be paid for my time.

For what it’s worth, as someone pondering a $4,000- nearly $6,000 investment having those options seem very reasonable to me. And after all, I was given a pair of HA’s to demo first. I coulda made the decision on that alone. But, the audi mentioned the other options and I felt they were reasonable…I interpreted her suggestion as one to test a less expensive version (by $1,600) …she didn’t have to do that; she coulda sold me on what I was obviously ready to buy but she chose to make me aware of options. She advised ‘no harm in trying and it costs nothing if you still want the more expensive pair’.
I don’t know, I’m new to HA’s but seems like they’re providing a lot of options to avoid getting stuck with something you’re not happy with and attempt to satisfy you with the most cost effect technology for your particular hearing loss. (I think mine’s pretty normal age related hearing loss).
My two cents.

Who sets the policy about the return time? One audiologist here in NY tells me the return time is 30 days. Other members here write of 45 day return time. And a phone call to another NY audiologist elicited a 75 day figure. Is it set by the manufacturer? Is it negotiated individually between the audiologist and the manufacturer? Is the 10% or whatever penalty ever set after discussion with the manufacturer or is it set only by the audiologist? (I am aware that this? penalty is not true throughout the country, according to responses here.)

I think all the manufacturers give the audiologist 90 days or so, and then it may be flexible. The audiologist decides what trial period they will offer, subject to state law minimums. Some states have a 30 day minimum trial period. The return fee, if any, goes to the local company/audiologist to partially compensate them for their time, materials, equipment usage.

There are state minimums, but a pro can always offer more if they want and if their manufacturer will allow it. I have a 60 day period in which I can return hearing aids with some companies, 90 days with others. The cancellation fee is usually also stipulated by the state. Kentucky allows 10% of the cost of the devices, we’ve set ours lower at $100/ear. No one can go over the 10% cost though.

Every state has its own laws. In New York State, if you return a hearing aid within the 45day trial period, you will receive all of your money back less a cancellation fee, which may be up to 10% of the purchase price, with a minimum of $100. This is spelled out on the standard sales contract, which should include the delivery date and the trial end date. Not every place will charge 10%,. I feel that is high. This is something that should be discussed at the time of purchase, I have waived the fee or reduced it on a case by case basis, but it is in writing, not a surprise. The 45 days is the law, but can be longer if agreed upon too.

Why should someone be able to return HAs at all???

When I fit someone with aids I have several hours of my time invested in that fitting. Even if I charge someone a small return fee it does not even come close to compensating me for my time.

I don’t know of another custom made medical device which allows you to not keep it just because you don’t like it.

Dentures, glasses, prosthetics, orthotics, custom made clothing, custom furniture, etc etc. None of these things can you buy and then bring back and say I want my money back. There are some people on this board who not only think its OK for a professional to spend all that time with them, but think there should be $ 0.00 return fee. Zero!!!

And for all of you who have spent your hard earned money on HAs, keep in mind that the price of the HA has to cover not only the time the audiologist spends with you, but the time lost because someone else returned their aid(s).

I had a new patient yesterday who came in with a pair of 8 year old Resound HAs and spent an hour and fifteen minutes telling me about her recent attempts to get new aids. 3 different audiologists, 7 different HAs, all returned, each audiologist telling her she should go somewhere else.

And, she told me she had done her research and wanted to try 3 different HAs and pay nothing until the whole process was completed. And, if she wasn’t happy with any of the aids she wanted to pay nothing, nothing for the two custom earmolds I would have to order, nothing for the shipping and handling I have to pay when I order aids from the mfg, nothing for my time.

After 75 minutes I decided I didn’t want to invest any more time in her so I said she should find someone else.