May 20, 2003
Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
GENERAL'S OFFICE SETTLES WITH HEARING AID SELLERS WHO FAILED TO
PAY CONSUMERS REFUNDS
General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced that his Consumer Protection
Division has reached a settlement with the Better Hearing Centers,
a chain of hearing aid stores that sold hearing aids to Maryland
consumers from locations throughout Maryland. Under the settlement,
the Better Hearing Centers and their owners, John and Sharol Kochan
of Silver Spring, Maryland, agreed to refund at least $24,990 to
eight consumers who had cancelled their purchases of hearing aids
and were not refunded their payments.
the Maryland Hearing Aid Sales Act, consumers who purchase hearing
aids have 30 days from the date of the delivery of their hearing
aids to cancel their purchases. Cancelling consumers are entitled
to 90 percent of the amounts they paid for their hearing aids, which
must be paid within 30 days of their cancellation request. Under
the Maryland Door-to-Door Sales Act, consumers who purchase hearing
aids through sales in their homes are entitled to full refunds if
they cancel their orders within three business days of their purchases.
Division alleged that the Kochans and their company did not adequately
disclose consumers' cancellation rights under both the Hearing Aid
Sales Act and the Door-to-Door Sales Act and failed to pay refunds
to consumers who lawfully cancelled their orders.
settlement requires the Kochans and their business to make full
restitution to all consumers who properly cancelled their hearing
aid purchases, but have not received full refunds of the payments
they made for their hearing aids. The Division is aware of at least
eight consumers who are owed refunds that total $24,990. The Kochans
also agreed to post a $20,000 surety bond with the Division and
pay the Division $1,000 for its costs and a penalty of up to $25,000.
The Kochans also agreed to alter their sales practices to comply
with the Hearing Aid Sales Act and Door-to-Door Sales Act and to
arbitrate any complaints they receive in the future through the
Attorney General's Arbitration Program.
purchase of a hearing aid can be a difficult and expensive transaction,"
Attorney General Curran said. "Hearing aid sellers must honor
consumers' cancellation rights and issue refunds promptly as required
who believe they are entitled to restitution under the Attorney
General's settlement with the Better Hearing Centers may contact
the Consumer Protection Division by calling (410) 528-1840.