Editor’s note: State officials have alleged that McDonald Hearing Aid Center — a regular advertiser in The Union newspaper, among others — “advertised a $745 hearing aid product to lure consumers into stores where they were pressured and misled into purchasing products costing several thousand dollars.” Court documents are here. According to The Union, MHAC said it will “vigorously defend against baseless statements made to the media, and the allegations.” Here is the state’s press release:
“The Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensers Board (Board) is seeking to revoke or suspend the licenses of Mark Lee Moore, owner of McDonald Hearing Aid Center (MHAC), Robert Bennett, Michele Moreland and Marion Nelson for fraudulent and unlicensed activity.
“Moore is accused of using unlawful schemes to mislead elderly customers at multiple branch locations throughout Northern California where licensed hearing aid dispensers and unlicensed individuals acting as dispensers were motivated by corporate policies to sell the most expensive hearing aids. Bennett, Moreland and Nelson are licensed hearing aid dispensers who worked at various MHAC branch locations, including Lodi, Roseville, Fair Oaks and Sacramento.
“MHAC advertised a $745 hearing aid product to lure consumers into stores where they were pressured and misled into purchasing products costing several thousand dollars. Moore is also accused of using former television news anchor Stan Atkinson as a paid spokesperson without informing consumers of Atkinson’s paid status.
“These individuals took advantage of elderly people, running a bait and switch technique to mislead them into spending thousands of dollars unnecessarily,” said Board Executive Officer Paul Sanchez. “We are seeking to discipline their licenses because we are committed to protecting California’s consumers and safeguarding them from unscrupulous people.”
“MHAC is the second largest seller of hearing aids in the Sacramento Valley area. Between January 2007 and November 2013, MHAC grossed $45 million in hearing aid sales.”