Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cochlear's New Return Policy-I've got a bone to pick with them!

Before I head into this rant, I want to remind everyone that I am a Cochlear Awareness Network Volunteer and in general, more than happy with Cochlear. However, I am a bit annoyed and upset with their new return policy.

I called yesterday as we are *this* close to having a fried coil. In the past, we would report our problem, the company would send a replacement part back, and then we would send back the broken part in an envelope provided by the company. As I was wrapping up my phone call with the friendly customer service rep (I always am super-impressed with their service!), he explained that he would send an envelope out, then we would return the part, then once it was received, they would send the new part out.


I've always advocated to families that I've chatted with about brand choices that Cochlear's Customer Service and return department was top notch and very parent focused. I would tout the examples of calling about a broken processor, and we would have a new one on our doorstep in less than 36 hours. As a bimodal family (Christian only wears one CI, and uses a hearing aid in his other ear), a quick turn-around time for part replacement is crucial for us. It seems like this new policy delays the process quite a bit. I understand that Cochlear may have had some issues with receiving broken or damaged parts from their customers, but I don't think that they thought this completely out.

The thought of possibly being in a situation where we don't have a back-up absolutely scares the living h*ll out of me. As other parents of kids with CIs can attest, pediatric users are extremely rough on their equipment. We entered into a lifelong relationship with Cochlear, and I understand that there is no way that they can make EVERYONE happy. However, I hope that Cochlear reevaluates this new policy and adapts something more "kid" friendly.


Mom to Toes said...

This is really weird. I went through this with a processor two months ago. I was told that Cochlear was going to be doing that with all products with serial numbers (processors) going forward, because it had become too difficult to track which serial numbers belong to which patients. According to Erin's audi, patients were calling and reading off serial numbers that didn't show in their patient files on Cochlear's system. It was causing huge headaches, apparently.

We've had two coil replacements since then and did not have to go through this new process - no serial numbers on coils, of course.

The weird part is that we called just last week about a bad processor and they had a replacement to us two business days later, with the typical return envelope. The customer service rep told us they were dropping the "send it to us first" program because of customer complaints.

I've received conflicting info from Cochlear CS reps in the past. I think they may not be very good at getting the word out to their CS department about policies. They always seem to operate under a veil of confusion.

I still love them beyond belief, though. We've never been left high and dry.

Paula Rosenthal said...

Hi Tina,

Unfortunately, Cochlear said that many people do not return the items they are replacing, even though they are sent a shipping label. I'm guilty of that as well. I can understand where they're coming from as it is a business, even if they're in the business of medical devices. I'm curious to know if it is in effect or rescinded as someone mentioned on your Facebook wall.

Rachel @ Cochlear Implant Online said...

Since you're a CAN member, have you contacted your CAN manager about the issue? Because all of the CAN managers are cochlear implant users or parents of children with cochlear implants, I always find that they understand the issues the best because they are in the same shoes as us.

Christian and Lily's Mommy said...

Thank you everyone---I did get in touch with our territory representative and she is doing some research for us. I will keep you all posted.

Laurie said...


I haven't had any problems with Cochlear on this issue. But, I always go through my audiologist and she orders the new part for me from Cochlear. I have more problems with the unit that the battery compartment goes in (cracks) and have to get that replaced about every six months.

Do you have any extra coils in Christian's box? I remember getting more than one.

Congrats on Christian's "Hearing Birthday!"

Hugs, Laurie