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Hearing aid specialists sorry for ‘errors’ after ACCC reveals misleading conduct

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Two hearing aid retailers are facing a $2.5-million penalty after admitting they mislead pensioners.

The consumer watchdog is taking Oticon Australia and Sonic Innovations to the Federal Court over a series of newspaper ads that were published last year.

The ACCC will allege the retailers put a false deadline relating to a federal government subsidy on the print ads.

The advertisements also claimed their products included wireless technology but failed to mention additional accessories, which cost more, were needed.

Janet Muir is the managing director of retail at AudioClinic and HearingLife, the brands the ads appeared under.

Ms Muir says they accept “full responsibility” for the “errors that were made”.

“In terms of the concerns that the ACCC raised, we’ve always taken them seriously, as soon as we became aware of them.

“We do accept full responsibility for the advertising errors that we made.

“We do apologise for that.”

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When asked whether hearing aid specialists are being incentivised to sell one product over another in the form of commissions or “kickbacks”, Ms Muir says that isn’t the case with their clinics but she can’t comment for other companies.

“In the industry that may exist, I’m not aware of all the practices that exist.”