Ripped off?

My son was given demo Octicon Agil hearing aids to try before purchasing. Looong story but he lost one of the aids and the streamer. The ENT is now billing me full retail for the missing aid and the streamer ($3200 and $200 respectfully) These were demos! I am more than willing to pay for the office’s cost to replace them (if there is any…wouldn’t Octicon just send them new ones?) but I cannot believe they would have to pay retail…and high retail at that…to replace demos. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

If I loan a pair of hearing aids to a patient they are responsible for them. A document is signed by both myself and the patient detailing the terms of the loaner/demonstration period and that they accept full responsibility, acknowledging that if they are lost/damaged beyond repair, they will pay the full amount of the hearing aid as if they had purchased it. A copy of a credit card or a check for the full amount is held/kept on file.

It is generally done to prevent individuals from being dishonest by receiving a loaner/demo and then claiming to have lost it when in actuality they did not, hoping to a free (or essentially free) pair of hearing aids in the process. Unfortunately everyone is penalized for the poor choices of a limited few. I have personally never had anyone be dishonest in this way and I have worked in various settings (both ENT offices and dispensing offices) and in various parts of the country for 13 years. I have only been able to do loaner/demo units with no money required in ENT offices I’ve worked in, not in the 2 dispensing offices.

You could contact the ENT office and see if they are willing to accept an amount smaller than the replacement cost. If you did not sign any agreements to pay for the full-sale amount when you received the demo units if they were to get lost or damaged or if you did sign something but this wasn’t clear within the agreement then you might have good standing to present that as an option. Quite frankly, if you signed nothing when you received them then the fault may lie with the ENT office since there was no agreement between the two of you detailing the terms of the demonstration period if one should become lost/damaged and you might be able to pay nothing at all.

It is unfortunate that the hearing aids were lost. One thing to consider…Hearing aids have a way of turning up. So much so that I refuse to replace lost hearing aids within 2-3 weeks of patients reporting they have disappeared. Even in some situations where patients were “100% sure” they were gone, they miraculously appear 10-20 days later in a place where they least expected it. I’d say this happens probably 95% of the time. If you just discovered they were lost, give them a week or so and maybe it will be found…