HARRISBURG – The Attorney General’s Health Care Section has reached a $103,000 settlement with a southwestern Pennsylvania couple and their hearing aid businesses accused of selling hearing aids to people who did not need them and other violations of the state’s Hearing Aid Law and Consumer Protection Law.
Attorney General Tom Corbett said the stipulated consent judgment, filed in Commonwealth Court, involved James and Catherine Kocher, of Freeport, Armstrong County, along with several businesses co-owned by the Kocher’s: Tritan Financial Inc., of Freeport, doing business as Digital Hearing Solutions, and Digital Hearing Center, of Greensburg, Westmoreland County.
Corbett said the settlement requires the Kochers to pay $25,000 in restitution, to cover consumer complaints already received by the Attorney General’s Office, along with any new valid claims that are received before November 22nd.
Corbett urged consumers who believe they have been victimized by Digital Hearing Solutions to contact the Attorney General’s Health Care Hotline- at 1-877-888-4877 – as soon as possible so their complaints can be reviewed. Complaints can also be submited online using the Attorney General’s website, at www.attorneygeneral.gov (Click on the “Complaints” button on the front page of the website and select the “Health Care Complaint Form”).
In addition to the consumer restitution, the settlement also includes $48,000 in civil penalties and $30,000 for costs and future consumer protection activities, which must be paid before the Kochers can reenter the hearing aid business in Pennsylvania.
The consent judgment resolves an April 2010 civil lawsuit filed by the Attorney General’s Office. It was filed in Commonwealth Court, in Harrisburg, PA, by Deputy Attorney General Timothy E. Gates and Chief Deputy Attorney General Thomas M. Devlin of the Attorney General’s Health Care Section.
Corbett noted that detailed information about consumers’ rights regarding hearing aid purchases, along with tips to help avoid hearing aid scams, is included in the Attorney General’s Consumer Reference Guide for Seniors – available in the “Seniors” section of the Attorney General’s website or by using the following direct link:
Corbett urged all Pennsylvania consumers to contact the Attorney General’s Office if they believe they have been victimized by deceptive business practices or scams.
Corbett noted that the Attorney General’s Office has received more than 52,000 complaints over the past year – more than 1,000 complaints per week and an all-time high for the office. Online complaint forms are available in the “Complaints” section of the Attorney General’s website, at www.attorneygeneral.gov, or consumers can call the following toll-free numbers:
. Consumer Protection Hotline – 800-441-2555 (For general consumer issues)
. Health Care Hotline – 877-888-4877 (For all health and medical related complaints)
. Elder Abuse Hotline – 866-623-2137 (for all complaints involving senior citizens)