To JerryR, I think the audi may be telling you what you want to hear, but the reality is that if she can't sell HAs because of the online competition and everybody does what you plan to do (buy online then go to a local audit for adjustment), they'll wise up (or hunker down?) and start refusing to provide people service if those people didn't buy from them. They're simply not going to be able to pay the rent and keep the lights on charging everybody $20-$30 per adjustment visit and not being able to profit handsomely from the sales of the HAs themselves. Because the online purchase is still a fairly new option that not enough people are aware of or want to go through, they may be willing to treat the one-off folks like you who do it this way. Or agree to do this service hypothetically. But once people leave in droves to the online purchase route, no sane audi will undercut their value by agreeing to provide service only and not profit from the sales.
The more realistic scenario that's actually happening now is that they'll partner up with the online outfits to provide local support and get a cut of the sales. It happens in my case where I saw some ads from Hear.com, contacted them because I thought that the HA offering they advertised was exclusive through them only (turned out it was not), and they referred me to a local HIS who represents them for local service. But if I had bought an HA that route, it'd be Hear.com that would be negotiating the pricing with me, not the local audi. In fact that's what I did. I had 95% insurance coverage for in-network and only 70% for out-of-network provider. But Hear.com is not in-network with my insurance. So I told them that unless they match the 95% coverage for in-network, I'll find an in-network provider. The local audi stayed out of the whole negotiation between me and Hear.com. Anyway, Hear.com came back and told me they couldn't match 95% but they could give me a good discount. I told them their discount was not good enough, so I walked away. By now the local audi stepped in and told me that since I can't strike a deal with Hear.com, she'll work with me directly as an independent (not through Hear.com anymore), and will compete with the in-network and charge me the 5% out-of-pocket only same as in-network, and bill my insurance for the 70% because she's out of network. So basically she'd give me a 25% discount. Of course she padded up the price of the HAs (from the $6,200 which she charged me 5% for), to $7,200 when she submitted to my insurance to get the most for her 70%. But the insurance saw through that and refused to pay at that price. In the end, she got $3700 from them, and $310 from me, or about $4K total for the OPN1 pair.
I recently heard from somebody else who went through a similar route, with HearingRevolution.com, who got him in touch with a local audi, and in the end he paid HearingRevolution.com $4K for his pair of OPN1. I don't know what the local audi's cut is. But I wouldn't be surprised if it's the bigger cut between them and the online outfit, simply because they pay for the local brick and mortar place and the service, and the online place simply became the referral service.
The bottom line is that it really depends on what the competitive scenario in each situation, and the local audi can be competitive if they have to. As we can see, they even team up with the online outfits if they have to. But if the client is not cost-sensitive and willing to pay the premium, then the local audi is not going to offer the lowest price to the client if they don't have to.
The bottom line also is that whatever price you end up paying for the HAs, the local audi has to be part of the sales in some way, somehow, to get enough of skin in the game. Teaming up with online outfits for a local presence seems to be the trend. But what the OP (JerryR) is seeing here about a local audi willing to service something they didn't sell is only a one-off thing, and is not going to be a sustainable business model for them.
Last edited by Volusiano; 02-16-2017 at 01:30 PM.
HA wearer since the 1990's > Rexton Insite+ CIC (2011-2016) > Oticon OPN RITE (2016)
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