As competition in my community has increased, I’ve seen more and more ads from other providers that say “free trial” or “free test drive.” It’s been my experience that these trials may be free to a patient but are anything but free to a business.
Some hearing care providers allow patients to try several different aids with no money down. It’s been my experience that in most cases, a patient who has nothing invested won’t hesitate to waste your time. Patients who really want to hear better won’t mind paying up front, and those who hesitate to pay may not be serious about investing in better hearing and may be the most likely to return the aids for credit.
Offering a trial period to patients is typically required by most states laws. The regulation usually indicates that the person purchasing the hearing aid may elect to return the hearing aid anytime within the designated trial period for any reason. The terms and the regulations of the trial period and the amount of the restocking fee vary widely among states. I find the mandate for a trial period rather unsettling. Try that with your travel agent (“But I didn’t like visiting Greenland!), or with your automobile dealer (Can I have my money back for that new car I bought last week, please?). Obviously, it’s not really free, and such costs are just one more reason that hearing aids are expensive.
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