(Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Superior Court)
PHOENIX — A settlement was reached last week with a hearing device company to stop misleading consumers with U.S. Food and Drug Administration messaging on over-the-counter hearing devices, Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s Office announced.
The settlement said the company Budget Hearing Aids advertised hearing devices as “FDA APPROVED” or “FDA REGISTERED” on several websites from October 2019 through April, even though the agency has not approved any over-the-counter hearing aids.
Brnovich’s office claims the Arizona-based company’s use of the terms conveys a message that the FDA favors or endorses a particular product or service, which the agency does not and cannot do.
The company’s conduct allegedly constituted an unfair and deceptive act and practice in violation of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act, according to the settlement, and the FDA logo and terms must be removed from any of its advertising.
Brnovich last year warned consumers about possible misleading tactics after many over-the-counter hearing device companies entered the market following the FDA’s relaxation of restrictions on hearing amplifier devices in 2017.
As of October 2020, his office had received approximately 140 complaints about over-the-counter hearing aids over the past year.
“Consumers looking for an affordable over-the-counter hearing device should do their homework before making a purchase,” Brnovich said in a press release.
He advised people to check the Better Business Bureau and other objective consumer review websites before buying, always price shop and review the product details as well as carefully read the timeframes and conditions for refunds before you buy.
Those who feel they’ve been the victim of consumer fraud can file a consumer complaint by visiting the Attorney General’s website.