5 On Your Side

Raleigh Man Fails To Get Refund After Not Receiving Hearing Aid

Posted May 8, 2006

— Hearing aids can be extremely expensive, so it is tempting to try something at a better price, but one Wake County man did not even get to find out whether they worked or not.

Wilton Fleming has worn hearing aids for 10 years. Recently, he noticed they were not working so well. Then he saw ads for Crystal Ear hearing devices. The hearing aids were $379 each plus shipping and handling, for a total of almost $780.

Fleming said that was a good price, especially considering the ad offered a "full refund" if he was not happy.

"I can't go wrong with that," he said.

Fleming ordered them in February. He expected they'd arrive in two weeks. When they didn't, Fleming called and said he was told to wait four more days. But the Crystal Ear hearing device still didn't come. Fleming said he was not happy, so he asked for the "full refund."

"I just got fed up with them and I said, 'I want you to send me my money,'" he said.

When Fleming did not get his refund, he called Five On Your Side. Crystal Ear spokeswoman Judy Fauts told Five On Your Side the person who Fleming talked with "just did not take care of it." Fauts immediately sent a check for $777.

Fleming put the money toward new hearing aids, and said he can finally hear what he's been missing.

Crystal Ear has 12 complaints with the Better Business Bureau, eight of which were reported in the last year. It has an unsatisfactory record because of some unanswered complaints.

Fleming wisely paid with a credit card. Had Five On Your Side not been able to get a refund for him, he could have disputed the charge with the card company and likely could have gotten a refund that way.


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