I’ll shift my comments to Online Sellers section per your request.
I do not think it changes anything if you set up a personal account. We still know it’s you and you still have the same conflict of interest. To me there are at least a couple of issues: 1) You keep alluding to the price advantages of online sales without acknowledging any downside. 2) You keep making false statements about Costco hearing aids.
As Lemur pointed out, the Costco Bernafon Zerenas are the same generation. The only difference I know of would be tinnitus features. Resound Forte is the same generation as the Linx 3D. Kirkland KS7 is the same generation as the Rexton Emerald 80. The only Costco aid that is a previous generation is the Phonak Brio 2. The only features that I’m aware of being removed from Costco aids are tinnitus features and remote adjustment features.
Costco’s price for the Resound Forte 8 is $2600-$2800. From all reports, it is very similar to the Linx 3D 9. Online prices that are posted are in the realm of $3500.
Regarding service: I think face to face provides inherently better communication and I think this is especially important for newbies. We already have a forum member who thinks he would have been better off paying full price for his Oticon Opns because his first audiologist did a much better job of fitting them. An in person fitting can also do things that online cannot (at least currently) I’m talking about REM.
I am not trying to trash the online model. I think it can be beneficial for many people, but I don’t think it works for everybody, especially newbies who are coming here for advice.