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Call Kurtis: Your Rights When It Comes to Hearing Aids

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Eight-time Emmy Award winner Kurtis Ming is CBS13's consumer...
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ELK GROVE (CBS13) — After losing his hearing 65 years ago in World War II’s Battle of the Bulge, veteran Ed Wall was guaranteed satisfaction on his new hearing aids, he said.

But when he said the company refused to give his money back, he called Kurtis.

In California, customers are supposed to get 30 days to test out hearing aids. If they’re not happy after the company makes adjustments, customers get a refund.

But 88-year-old Wall said the company won’t refund him.

Wall recalls exactly when in the Battle of the Bulge he heard the loudest sounds he’d ever hear.

“As soon as we pull in, the German artillery starts unloading on us,” he said. “It really puts pressure on your ear.”

Wall bought top-of-the-line hearing aids from McDonald’s Hearing Aid Center, he said, after seeing an ad that said “satisfaction guaranteed,” “no risk,” and “nothing to lose.”

But when Wall said the devices weren’t any improvement over his old ones, he tried to get his money back.

The company said no.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Wall said. “Is this real? I’m not going to get my money back?”

McDonald told him it needed the chance to adjust them, which is true under California state law.

Under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, customers can return a hearing aid and ask for an adjustment or replacement within 30 days.

If the device is still not specifically fit for the buyer’s particular needs, the law allows for a refund.

“The seller of the hearing aid has to have a fair opportunity to make the adjustment or repair or to replace,” said consumer attorney Eric Ratinoff.

Company CEO Mark Moore told CBS13 Wall never gave that opportunity, and just wanted his money back.

Ratinoff said that could be a problem.

“The consumer can’t just decide after all, ‘I don’t like this hearing aid, I’m gonna go return it,'” he said.

Wall said the store worked on his hearing aids several times even after he asked for a refund, but he still wasn’t satisfied with them.

After CBS13 got involved, McDonald agreed to the refund and had Wall sign a release acknowledging he never requested “an adjustment, repair or replacement” and they were “specifically fit to his particular hearing needs and therefore do not qualify for a refund.”

Wall is glad it’s over.

“I have faith again in humanity,” he said.

CBS13 learned there is some debate on when that 30 days starts, as written in state law.

Moore told us it doesn’t start until after a “complete fitting,” which could take up to six weeks as part of McDonald’s Patient Journey adjustment program.

The state, however, told CBS13 the 30 days starts the day a customer is first fitted for use with the hearing aids.

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