KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dan Conninghton has been wearing hearing aids for several years and never had a problem.
But then he decided to switch to a new model he found on the internet from a company called Nano. The rechargeable hearing aids he ordered in April were $399, about one-tenth of what hearings usually cost.
"Since then we've been on a merry-go-round," said Conninghton, a retired firefighter.
And it hasn't been a happy ride.
That first pair of Nano hearing aids broke after just a month of use. Since they were still under warranty, Conninghton mailed them back to Nano to be repaired.
But after weeks of waiting, he called customer service for help. He said reaching someone at the company proved a feat of its own -- he often waited on hold more than half an hour.
Finally, a Nano representative told him they couldn't find his broken pair but, no worries. Nano would send him a replacement pair.
But, according to the invoice, the replacement pair was actually "refurbished." Worse yet, Conninghton said that refurbished pair never worked.
That was in late May. Ever since, Conninghton has been trying to get his $399 back. He'd also like back the nearly $50 he's spent on postage returning both sets of hearing aids.
That's why he called FOX4 Problem Solvers.
Nano Hearing Aids is based in Arizona. According to the Better Business Bureau, the company has been around for two years and has already amassed 162 complaints.
Even though Nano is a BBB member, it does not have an "A" rating. The BBB has given it no rating, and that's not a good sign.
Glen Roe, a hearing instrument specialist with Beltone Hearing Aids, which has multiple locations in the metro, said buying a hearing aid online can be an invitation for trouble.
"The main issues are there is no one available to service them or to repair them or to make adjustments to them," Roe said.
That can lead to hearing aids that don't properly fit.
"If they don't fit right, it dramatically decreases your hearing," Roe said.
Also problematic is that if you need help with a hearing aid you bought online, you have to call someone on the phone for help. Roe said it's not easy for a hard-of-hearing person to communicate over the phone.
"They get frustrated and quit, and then the hearing aids wind up in the drawer," Roe said.
Conninghton refused to give up. He called, emailed and called again, demanding a full refund from Nano -- something he said Nano refused to do.
"They wanted to charge me a restocking fee," Conninghton said. "If they send me a (refund) check they got another charge for sending me a check."
But after weeks of waiting, Nano did send him a check for $317.60. But Remember he wanted $450, so he still wasn't happy.
FOX4 Problem Solvers reached out to Nano multiple times and multiple ways. We never heard back.
But days after contacting the company, Conninghton received a second check. This one was for $79 -- an amount that, added together with the first check, reimbursed him for the entire amount he'd spent, minus postage.