Miracle Ear - Miracle-Ear: misleading, high-pressure sales that target the elderly
My father, who has dementia, responded to a "special promotion" mailing he received from the Miracle-Ear Hearing Center in Alderwood. The material conveyed a sense of urgency: "REWARD!" "HUGE SAVINGS" "3 DAYS ONLY!", etc.
The Miracle-Ear promotional material claimed:
*they needed "17 people with difficulty hearing to evaluate the latest in digital technology"
*they would "perform thorough hearing consultations FREE* of charge"
*they would then "choose 17 qualified candidates for this program"
*"If you are satisfied with the improvement in your hearing, you may choose to keep the instruments *RISK FREE."
The promotion ran "3 DAYS ONLY! February 15, 16, and 17." It also stated that those who responded "must bring a spouse."
Unfortunately, my father fell for their high-pressure sales tactics. The "Hearing Specialist", Sarah Rhee, convinced him to sign a medical exam waiver (to bypass getting examined by a physician), and sign a purchase agreement for two very high tech digital hearing aids - for $7180. She gave him a "promotional discount" of $2195, bringing the grand total to $4985. The $4985 was financed through an outside/partner financing program for 48 months at a rate of 13.9%. The total cost of the hearing aids including tax and finance charges is $6526.56. My father is retired and lives on Social Security - and certainly has no surplus of cash.
The hearing aids are too high tech for my father. They are too small - he can hardly see where to put the battery - let alone understand how to change the battery. Within the first month, they had to send one of the hearing aids back to the manufacturer because it stopped working. Meanwhile, he was without any working hearing aids for nearly two weeks. My father has severe hearing loss in both ears.
It was not until the contract had "expired" that I learned that he had purchased these hearing aids - and then I was told it was too late for me to do anything.
When my father couldn't understand how to use the hearing aids or change the batteries, I went with him to the Miracle-Ear Center as he spoke with Sarah Rhee, the "Hearing Specialist" who examined him and fitted him. She was unbelievably patronizing and condescending to my father. My dad is a very intelligent and gentle man. She treated him and spoke to him like he was an ***. He couldn't hear her, he couldn't understand what she was saying - and she became increasingly rude to him. She was annoyed with him asking the same questions. She told him over and over that she had already explained to him how to install the batteries and how to use the instruments.
He continues to have problems with the hearing aids, so I wrote them a letter requesting the contract he signed to be rescinded, due to his diminishing mental capacity and lacking the understanding to really comprehend the nature and consequence of the transaction. Miracle-Ear responded by sending my father a photocopy of the contract that he signed. Insulting.
Sarah Rhee and Miracle-Ear took advantage of my father. He was clearly unable to understand what he was signing and what she was saying to him. It was also very clear that he couldn't remember what she told him two minutes later. He is very trusting; he went in there alone and he was desperate to hear better. Their sales tactics are reprehensible. Their advertising and promotions are misleading and shameful how they prey on the elderly.
Review about: Miracle Ear Hearing Aids.