- Comparisons between “American” hearing aids and Chinese Jinghao shows that MD hearing aids is the closest match, possibly an exact match
- Americans pay around $199 for a simple MD Hearing Aid Device that matches a $25 Alibaba Hearing Aid device
- Doug Breaker, CEO of MD Hearing Aids who blogs about competitor devices on his own site was unavailable for comment
Consumer action groups and the FDA are constantly monitoring the hearing aid market in the US, with the FDA providing guidance on risky and potentially fraudulent deals. The latest discovery, however, points to a more alarming issue when comparing so-called American hearing aid brands like MD Hearing Aids with cheap Chinese brands like Jinghao sold on Alibaba.
MD Hearing Aids $199 vs Jinghao $25 with no clear difference
The image below clearly shows two hearing aid devices that seem incredibly similar, with technology analysts unable to tell the difference. Of the many American hearing aid brands that were analyzed, it appears that MD Hearing Aids is a near exact match of the Chinese Jinghao brand that is sold on Alibaba. The shocking part is that Americans are charged $199 for something that is sold for $25 on Alibaba. That seems to be an aggressive 10 X markup for a product that is hardly different, with a lot of consumer complaints.
MD Hearing Aid Reviews
Some of the reviews below were obtained from reliable consumer sources such as Yelp.com and the BBB. This is often a quick way to tell if a brand delivers on it’s promises, or not. These are also considered good tools to help avoid some of the many hearing aid scams on the web. According to the reviews, it appears that consumers are not only concerned about quality – but claim to be let down when it comes to MD Hearing Aids refunds. Although our investigation did not explore whether or not deceitful advertising was used, one user also refers to advertising tactics as false, with several mentioning that initial sales support is quick, with waiting times exceeding 30 minutes when it comes to refunds.
ALARMING reviews of MD Hearing Aids matching that of Jinghao:
- Huge feedback in terms of the sound it produces Restocking fees are charged Misleading advertising This appears to be a deceptive advertisement and not really a “BOGO” offer as understood by most consumers Told that I needed a RMA number to return or i would be penalized 20%.
- I called twice and was left on the phone for 35 and 45 minutes with no response other than a recording saying they were busy. I tried E-mail and sent three requesting an RMA number to return it, well within them 45 days.
- No reply. In the past, they have always replied timely
- I ordered a cheaper model ie PRO serial nr ********** ABOUT A MONTH AGO AND DISCOVERED THAT IT IS NOT AS GOOD AS THE ONE IHAD GOTTEN PREVIOUSLY FOR RIGHT EAR. SO I NOW HAVE A PRO IN LEFT EAR ANV AIR IN RIGHT EAR AND I HAVE CONTACTED THE SELLER SEVERAL TIMES BY PHONE AND EMAIL AND CAN NOT GET A REPLY
CEO / Blogger Doug Breaker unavailable for feedback
The CEO of MD Hearing Aids, Doug Breaker appears to be an avid blogger whose tactic is to intercept the search traffic demand of trusted American brands like Costco. He was unavailable to explain the difference between his brand and the near exact matching Chinese brand. Instead of vehemently blogging about the competition, it may be useful in the interest of the American consumer if the leadership of MD Hearing Aids could step forward to explain the difference the market demands.
What are the most popular Hearing Aid scams in America?
With nearly 40 million Americans suffering from hearing loss and the significant link between hearing loss and dementia which is well documented by medical researchers, it is regrettable that those who suffer with hearing loss, often fall victim to scams, which ultimately delay the help they deserve. Below are some common scams to watch out for when buying hearing aids:
Mail order without proper refund support:
So many mail order companies exist in the U.S. who claim to provide after sales support. The reality is that they are great at processing orders, but go silent when refunds are required for devices that simply do not work. The law of averages dictate that with so many consumers giving up on their rights and with deaf people having particular difficulty to request a refund by phone, that scammers can get away with exploiting this vulnerable category of consumers.
Misleading trial periods that are missed due delay tactics:
The most common scam is to advertise a reasonable trial period with a “money back guarantee” if hearing aids are returned for a refund within 45 or 90 days etc. But in reality, as reviews on Yelp point out, some of these brands are clever to draw out the process, which tricks the consumer into missing the refund deadline. We have not done a trial purchase to test MD Hearing Aids or other brands on this matter – yet it is alarming that so many consumers are mentioning this specific problem in their review of MD and some brands.
Emotional sales tactics exploiting those who are vulnerable:
Sales tactics such as “buy one get one free”, or “today only”, or exclusive deals on Amazon and Ebay, where many scammers tend to hang out, have become well known and reported issues in the American market. These scammers have piloted their techniques in the US and are now heading for Europe and other locations as far as Australia, where they can catch non-suspecting half-deaf customers.
Final take: Buyer beware when it comes to online hearing aids:
- It may seem that MD Hearing Aids and their CEO Doug Breaker has been singled out in this consumer alert: however there is no other brand that matches the Chinese products so closely and the consumer reviews for MD Hearing Aids together with the digital marketing tactics that are carried out with the authorship of the CEO himself, along with a sub-standard review rating from the BBB for MD Hearing Aids, shows that this is indeed a brand to be weary of.
- The FTC may be slower to catch up on companies who accept the traffic of legitimate brands to sell other products to them, yet consumers and ethical retailers are quickly waking up to these practices.
- Considering the broader market for hearing aids: Thousands of Americans are helped by hearing aids and the social benefits are clear according to research. Bypassing online scams and adhering to warnings with others about potential rip offs that will ultimately delay much needed help, should be the legitimate right of every individual in need.
Visit the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) https://www.hearingloss.org/
Other hearing loss organizations: https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Hearing-Loss-Organizations-and-Associations/