No pardon for Aust Hearing Services
THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Australian Hearing Services which has admitted conduct in breach of Australian Consumer Law.
Penalties of almost $40,000 were also paid in relation to infringement notices issued by the ACCC alleging the organisation engaged in false or misleading conduct in connection with the supply of hearing services.
The ACCC highlighted Hearing Help, a service provided under the Australian Government Hearing Services Program, which claimed to be “unbiased” but in fact had a primary objective of increasing referrals to Australian Hearing.
The company also falsely represented that Hearing Help was government funded, whereas in fact it is entirely funded by Australian Hearing which mainly operates on a “for profit” basis.
Clients of the Australian Government Hearing Services Program were also sent renewal letters falsely claiming that payment for annual subscriptions for maintenance services for hearing aids was mandatory.
The ACCC said it was the second time it had recently acted against a hearing services provider.
“The customers of these businesses are often vulnerable due to their hearing loss or age, and are often on a pension... we will continue to take enforcement action to protect vulnerable consumers,” said ACCC commissioner Sarah Court.