Sunday, May 9, 2010

$6 Million Don't Last Like It Used To

I think I'd like to go back to the day when you didn't see famous people doing commercials. A few days ago I joked that I had a "bionic ear." Imagine my surprise when I heard about the Lee Majors Bionic Ear.  Being curious I had to check it out. Putting aside the fact the Steve Austin had a bionic eye and Jaime Summers had the bionic ear (and she still had to push her hair out of the way!) of course. 

I feel really bad that Majors needed money so badly that he put his name to this kind of crap. At least Lindsay Wagner has a Ford Truck... I took a look at Majors' listing in the Internet Movie Database and it looks like he's been working steadily. They're all minor or guest roles but at least he's working. I can't believe he needed to cheapen his name by having it associated with this shite.

So what's wrong with Major's Bionic Ear? First, it's not a hearing aid like you would get after and audiology exam. This is more like a "hearing enhancer." Like someone shouting in your ear.  Secondly, the way it is sold is misleading: $14.95 (+S&H) to try it and then 3 payments of $99.95 to keep it (over $300 per aid.) That's for one Bionic Ear. 

The refund conditions leave a lot to be desired. You have to ship the Ear and its packaging back to the company at your own cost. The Ear must be in "as new" condition or no refund will be issued. What constitutes "as new" condition is open to the vendor's discretion. They also say you should insure your return or you'll be charged for any damages to the Ear. The cynic in me says that people who are too cheap to buy real hearing aids are not going to want to spend money on insurance. The vendor can then say the the Ear was damaged and not issue any refund.

I've read a few comments about the Ear. The fact that the battery is rechargeable is good but not if the battery doesn't stay charged for a reasonable amount of time. Most people say that the battery doesn't stay charged nearly as long as the vendor says. Some have said it runs out in less than half the time it's supposed to.

If you're really having trouble hearing you should get yourself to a doctor for testing. The Bionic Ear may do more damage in some cases. I believe there are certain things you should not buy by phone, mail or online. Your ears are too important to mess around with.

Now to something else that bugged me when I watched Majors' commercial. I felt that I'd seen the visuals before. Check out this commercial for a product called Listen Up:

A company too cheap to film a new commercial for a new product can't be relied on to have a good product. You've been warned.
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