Antitrust Law Daily Hearing aid sellers warned about claims of COVID-19 stimulus program
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Friday, August 21, 2020

Hearing aid sellers warned about claims of COVID-19 stimulus program

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

FTC and State of Wisconsin advise company behind Elite Hearing Centers of America to cease making claims about COVID-19 stimulus relief for hearing aids.

The FTC and State of Wisconsin have sent warning letters to MHC II LLC, doing business as Elite Hearing Centers of America, which purportedly placed newspaper advertisements and social media posts suggesting it could provide government stimulus money to customers to purchase hearing aids. These letters follow a number of warning letters issued jointly by the FTC and Food and Drug Administration in recent weeks.

According to the FTC, the ads and posts for Elite Hearing Centers imply that consumers are eligible for a government benefit. They include language, such as "COVID-19 HEALTHCARE STIMULUS PROGRAM" and "Receive up to $3000 through our HEALTHCARE STIMULUS PROGRAM. Must register by July 31." The ads and posts also included the Great Seal of the United States next to a headline reading "FREE HEARING AIDS."

The warning letter notes that the CARES Act or Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Pub. L. No. 116-136, does not provide any payments specifically to purchase hearing aids, and Elite Hearing Centers is not authorized to provide any assistance under the CARES Act.

The company was advised to cease making false and misleading claims and to inform the FTC of efforts taken to stop the challenged conduct.

This is not the first letter warning marketers of hearing aids about COVID-19 stimulus claims. For example, on July 15, the agency sent a warning letter outlining similar concerns to Ear to Hear Healthcare, LLC and Zephyr Hearing Aid Center.

Warning letters with FDA. Since the FTC last announced a series of warning letters to marketers over allegedly unsubstantiated claims that products and therapies can prevent or treat COVID-19 on August 14, more than a half dozen more letters have been issued in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Recipients of these most recent FTC/FDA warning letters include: Living Senior, LLC; PA Green Wellness, LLC; SilveryGuy; Oxford Medical Instruments USA, Inc.; TTD Eye, Inc.; Canadian Chaga; MMSTabs.com; and Vapore LLC. The warning letters are posted at: https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/warning-letters.

Companies: MHC II LLC; Living Senior, LLC; PA Green Wellness, LLC; SilveryGuy; Oxford Medical Instruments USA, Inc.; TTD Eye, Inc.; Canadian Chaga; MMSTabs.com; Vapore LLC; Ear to Hear Healthcare, LLC; Zephyr Hearing Aid Center

MainStory: TopStory Advertising ConsumerProtection FederalTradeCommissionNews StateUnfairTradePractices WisconsinNews GCNNews

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