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Thread: Big Ear or Big Ripoff?

  1. #1
    GREGFUESS
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    Angry Big Ear or Big Ripoff?

    I returned my Big Ear in ear speakers that are used for MP3 and Bike-to-Bike communications because the left speaker quit working. These were purchased at the 2009 rally in Johnson City, TN and received in September of that year. They were returned to Big Ear last month with the non-functioning left speaker.

    Because the timing of the return was right at a year, I assumed that this would be warranty work. What Big Ear is saying is that "It was a impacted ear wax problem. Not the big globy earwax[,] the micro fine ear wax". So they want $80 to fix the devices. I have worn the same pair of hearing aids for 10 years, and have never had an issue, even with "micro fine ear wax."

    Has anyone else had this type of issue with their in-ear speaker system? I am hesitant to accuse Big Ear of ripping me off because I have never heard of "micro fine ear wax", but they do exclude ear wax, and so presumably this includes even the "micro fine" variety from their warranty.

    I would appreciate any thoughts on this topic. I am at a loss as to how to respond to Big Ear, whether to say goodbye to a $350 pair of ear buds that have worked reasonably well, or to pay the $80 without their providing some kind of proof that this is what the problem was.

    Best Regards

    Greg

  2. #2
    criminaldesign
    Guest
    Take a toothpick used or not used and clean out those little tiny holes that the sound comes out of. It wouldn't take to much gunk to start muffling the sound. I've been there, it does happen.

    I think 'micro fine ear wax' was a nice way of them saying your speaker buds are clogged with wax.

    There's got to be bud's that are $300 cheaper that do the same thing. Are these just regular headphone earbuds?

  3. #3
    RK Ryder
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    They're still in business? I thought that they had gone under. I tried contacting them throughout July and August and only got directed to a website. I'll call them tomorrow. I think that I am on my third set from them since Johnson City. My plugs are still way too noisy to enjoy the ride. I have been very disappointed with their service and product.

    If I were you, I'd push to have this repair done as a goodwill customer service.
    Paul
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Treasurer of the Forest City Motorrad Club #159
    Knights of the Roundel #333

  4. #4
    GREGFUESS
    Guest

    Ear Plug Maintenance

    I treat the devices just like I do the hearing aids, the same pair I have had for 10 years. Never heard of a "micro fine wax" issue. Google doesn't seem to be able to identify this stuff, either.

    The sound canals are maintained clean and clear of wax, because as pointed out above, wax can and will fill the canal and muffle the sound. There was no wax in the canal when the device was returned, and the device wasn't working.

    Sound reduction, as also noted above, is not as advertised, but not bad either. Volume does need to be increased with speed, though usually not until about 70 mph.

  5. #5
    GREGFUESS
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    Goodwill Recommendation

    Paul,

    Appreciate the thought on the goodwill basis. Any ideas on how to motivate Big Ear to do this? I sent them a copy of the post, and asked for their reply, but they haven't responded, thus the post. Recommendation on motivating this outfit would be appreciated.

  6. #6
    criminaldesign
    Guest
    Better Business Bureau.

    I've had to use them before and they got the company I was dealing with to reply me in no time.

  7. #7
    GREGFUESS
    Guest

    Bbb

    Thanks Criminal, I had to use them before, and with excellent results. Totally slipped my mind in this regard. Will see how that works.

    Greg

  8. #8
    Registered User 88bmwjeff's Avatar
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    I don't have Big Ear custom earphone plugs. I think I have Ear Inc. brand. You have to be very careful not to pull on the cords when removing the ear plugs. Also need to be careful that you pull on the cords while riding, or getting off. I had to send mine back and get new speakers because one cut out completely.

    Arizona Al, who frequents rallies here on the west coast has an alternative to the speakers in the earplugs. He has tubes leading up to the ear, while the speakers are kept further way. This avoids the problem of pulling on the electrical cords. Next set of earphone plugs will be like this.
    Jeff in W.C.
    1988 R100 RT (the other woman)
    "I got my motorcycle jacket but I'm walking all the time." Joe Strummer

  9. #9
    GREGFUESS
    Guest

    Big Ear, Inc Warranty

    Glen Hood, CEO of Big Ear, Inc. stated previously that "It is not the time frame, you bought them on 7-17-09 and they were delivered on 8-24-09 at 11:05 am. Even though they would be out of the warranty period just a bit, we would have fixed them if it were a manufactures warranty problem."

    There is no such thing as "micro-fine ear wax", there was no ear wax in the device when returned and the device was not working when returned.

    When told that the audiologist that fitted my hearing aids responded that she had never heard of "micro fine ear wax" and "didn't know what he was talking about", Glen ignored the argument of ear wax and stated that "They were delivered on 8-24-09 at 11:05 am. This is when the warranty starts. You sent them back under the warranty on August 31 for a fit issue. You then received them back on 9-12-09 in Lake Worth FL. For no charge. You then sent them back and we received them in the office on 9-27-10 for a repair. This is clearly out of the 1 year warranty that is on our product".

    I posted a review of the product and their warranty on the Big Ear website, where reviews of the product are posted. No surprise, but my review did not appear. The BBB has been informed, but no response yet.

  10. #10
    Curmudgeon At Large Bobmws's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 88bmwJeff View Post
    I don't have Big Ear custom earphone plugs. I think I have Ear Inc. brand. You have to be very careful not to pull on the cords when removing the ear plugs. Also need to be careful that you pull on the cords while riding, or getting off. I had to send mine back and get new speakers because one cut out completely.
    I have found the the shirt clips that came standard on cell phone hands free cord (wired) work perfectly on the earbud cord to prevent accidental pulling. I run the cord junction behind my neck and clip to my shirt collar. HTH
    Bob Weis
    '04 K12RS - Hannigan Hack
    www.earplugco.com

  11. #11
    Rally Rat nytrashman's Avatar
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    i don't have big ear but i do have custom earphones made by EAR-iffic Molds and they are fantastic. they came with a little tool to remove ear wax from them. i have two pair of these earphones, PM your address and if i can find where i put the little tool that came with the second set of earphones i'll send it to you.

  12. #12
    GREGFUESS
    Guest

    Ripoff

    Thanks, NYTrashman, appreciate the guidance. The problem isn't the wax, because I have worn hearing aids for 10 years, I have the tools to clean the aids and used those habits and tools on the ear plugs. There was no wax in the plugs when they were returned. They simply did not work.

    The issue is that Big Ear refuses to honor their commitments. The speakers simply quit working after a years worth of riding, and Big Ear refuses to honor their warranty commitment. Big Ear prefers to make up excuses, such as "micro fine ear wax". My audiologist says she has never heard the term and doesn't know what Big Ear is talking about.

    Big Ear stated that "The only mistake that I might have made is I should have, (now I have learned) was to inform you before taking them to the lab for evaluation was to make it perfectly clear to you that they are clearly our of the 1 year warranty and the lab has no obligation to make any repair to them with out a cost associated to them and not waste there time". Later Big Ear stated that "I would not complete a repair for anyone with out there permission, I will send you product back un repaired and apart".

    So I asked Big Ear what lab they were using. They replied that they used three labs, requiring another email to ask which lab they sent my plugs to. The reply was that "These labs are under contract with me to build our proprietary product.
    They will not deal with our customers."

    At first Big Ear said they would honor the warranty except for the "micro fine ear wax". When I forwarded the information from my audiologist, Big Ear quit talking about the micro fine ear wax and started quoting the warranty, and said that the warranty expired ~3 weeks ago.

    I am surprised and disappointed in the performance of this outfit, their contradictory statements and, I believe, disregard for integrity. Some of the MOA members are representatives of Big Ear, and I hope that they are not tarnishing their reputation by association.

  13. #13
    mymindsok
    Guest
    IMHO Big Ear appears to be a company with little regard for it's customers and even less integrity.

    I visited BE's offices helmet and GPS in hand, had castings done and paid cash for a pair of their custom ear phones in April or May of 2009, with guaranteed delivery before the first of July, when I was scheduled to begin a coast-to-coast ride.

    Two weeks before my departure I received a pair of earphones that not only didn't fit my ear canals but wouldn't even fit under my helmet! The ear phones that I was presented with were obviously meant for a different customer but I was subjected to a round of dialog and questions about my ear canals having changed sizes and shaped over the course of the preceding two months. (Yeah, right!)

    Two weeks into my six week long trip, BE had my earphones delivered to me special delivery, somewheres in the Midwest but unfortunately they still wouldn't fit under my helmet and the second set of casting didn't get the fit right.

    To make a longer story short, I arrived home a month later with an aching head plus one earphone was DOA, due to a fraakked cord.

    Finally, after another round of fittings, new castings and three months of waiting, I demanded my $300 back and a dozen long distance calls back and forth, the office manager cut me a check.

    Never again...!

  14. #14
    Rally Rat nytrashman's Avatar
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    it sure sounds like big ear is a company people should stay away from. as painful as it might be in these tough economic times but your best bet might to to cut your losses and have a new set of earphones made from a more reputable company. not only am i completely satisfied with the earphones i got from EAR-ific Molds i recommended them to a friend who is 100% happy with there product. the guys name is Tim McCarthy here is a link to his website: http://www.bullfrogcycle.com/contact.htm

  15. #15
    Dum vivimus vivamus ted's Avatar
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    Commitment?

    I can understand your being angry about the customer service, but I cannot understand your feeling ripped off. Big Ear sold a product with a 1-year warranty and the product failed outside that 1-year warranty. They have no commitment to fix the product for free under an expired warranty. It would be nice of them to do it, and some places would, and it sure seems like they could use some help in the customer service department, but they are under no obligation to do it - and filing a complaint with the BBB because they wouldn't fix something out of warranty for free is a dishonest abuse of the system.

    It is too bad the product failed just out of the (short in my opinion) warranty period and people buying these things would be smart to take a lesson from your experiences and more seriously consider the warranty period when buying custom audio plugs.
    Ted
    "A good stick is a good reason"
    1994 K75RT
    Moto Pages

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