Epic hearing aids and the illegality of “junk fees” in California

| Mar 11, 2021 | Class Action Lawsuits |

Almost 30 million members of the U.S.’s adult population could derive benefit from the use of hearing aids according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. This data helps illustrate the prevalence of hearing loss in the nation, which is especially high among older individuals.

EPIC Hearing Healthcare helps those suffering from hearing problems, but it has its issues. It charges a $175 fee for hearing aids sent back because they do not fit well. Because recipients are usually vulnerable elderly people who are on fixed incomes, this is illegal in California.

What counts as elder abuse?

When people think about elder abuse, they generally envision actions like theft, neglect or physical violence. However, companies also perpetrate financial abuse when they have unreasonable fees. By instituting one for the return of faulty hearing aids, EPIC violates elder abuse laws.

What regulations protect elders from consumer abuse?

The state’s Civil Code, Finance Code and Welfare and Institutions Code all contain sections for shielding aged members of society from unreasonable and false consumer activities. While they originally came into being for the purpose of safeguarding older adults from bad caretakers or facilities, they may also apply to the sale of goods, services and financial products. Unfair or deceptive practices like misleading advertisements and “junk fees” like the one associated with the return of EPIC hearing aids are unlawful.

What legal avenues are available to victims?

A class action is a way for many individuals to fight back against larger establishments. In the case of EPIC hearing aids, elderly people affected by the fee may join together to protest it.

The Golden State has many regulations in place to protect the elderly from consumer abuse. Companies that financially take advantage of them may find themselves subject to penalties.