Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Wednesday, December 12, 2001


Consumers May File for Refunds for 'Crystal Ear' Product

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, along with attorneys general from 13 other states and the District of Columbia, today announced a $105,000 settlement with TechnoBrands, Inc., distributor of the "Crystal Ear" hearing aid product. The company previously was known as Comtrad Industries, Inc. of Colonial Heights, Va.

The company falsely represented that the Crystal Ear was not a hearing aid so as to avoid compliance with state and federal laws regulating the advertising and dispensing of hearing aids. The attorneys general allege that TechnoBrands' advertising and selling of the product violate state law because the Crystal Ear is a hearing aid as determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and by Texas law. TechnoBrands has agreed to stop advertising and selling the Crystal Ear or any hearing aid in violation of these laws.

The states also allege that TechnoBrands made false and misleading representations to consumers about the Crystal Ear by making unsubstantiated representations regarding the performance of the device. The investigation found that the company used testimonials claiming results that were not substantiated as typical of a customer's experience.

The terms of the agreement prohibit TechnoBrands from advertising, selling or dispensing the Crystal Ear in any of the states without securing a license to do so from the respective states in which the Crystal Ear is sold. In addition, TechnoBrands is prohibited from disseminating any advertisement for the Crystal Ear or any other hearing aid which is false, misleading or deceptive. The company is also required to disclose in any labeling, promotional literature or advertising concerning the performance, effectiveness or safety of the product.

The agreement also requires TechnoBrands to refund to those who request it the full purchase price of the hearing aid upon return of the product. If a consumer does not have the hearing aid, he or she may either submit a written proof of payment for the device with a signed statement saying that he/she no longer owns it. The customer may also seek a refund by asking TechnoBrands to search its records to determine if the consumer purchased a Crystal Ear hearing aid. To ask for refunds, consumers should contact the company at 1998 Ruffin Mill Rd., Colonial Heights, Va., 23834.

The other participating states include Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Vermont, Wisconsin, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.

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