Title 5
Businesses and Professions

Chapter 49
Hearing Aid Dealers and Fitters

R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-49-12

§ 5-49-12. Complaints — Grounds and proceedings for revocation or suspension of licenses.

(a)(1) Any person wishing to make a complaint against a licensee under this chapter shall file this complaint, in writing, with the department, within one year from the date of the action upon which the complaint is based.

(2) If the department determines the charges made in the complaint are sufficient to warrant a hearing to determine whether the license issued under this chapter should be suspended or revoked, it shall make an order fixing a time and place for a hearing and shall require the licensee complained against to appear and defend against the complaint. The order shall have annexed to it a copy of the complaint.

(3) The order and copy of the complaint shall be served upon the licensee, either personally or by registered mail sent to the licensee’s last known address, at least twenty (20) days before the date set for the hearing.

(4) Continuances or an adjournment of the hearing shall be made if for good cause.

(5) At the hearing, the licensee complained against may be represented by counsel.

(6) The licensee complained against and the department shall have the right to take depositions in advance of the hearing and after service of the complaint, and either may compel the attendance of witnesses by subpoenas issued by the department under its seal.

(7) Either party taking depositions shall give at least five (5) days’ written notice to the other party of the time and place of those depositions, and the other party has the right to attend (with counsel if desired) and cross-examine.

(8) Appeals from suspension or revocation may be made through the appropriate administrative procedures act.

(b) Any person registered under this chapter may have his or her license revoked or suspended for a fixed period by the department for any of the following causes:

(1) The conviction of a felony. The record of conviction, or a certified copy, certified by the clerk of the court or by the judge in whose court the conviction was had, shall be conclusive evidence of this conviction;

(2) Procuring a license by fraud or deceit practiced upon the department;

(3) Unethical conduct, including:

(i) Obtaining any fee or making any sale by fraud or misrepresentation;

(ii) Knowingly employing, directly or indirectly, any suspended or unregistered person to perform any work covered by this chapter;

(iii) Using, or causing, or promoting the use of, any advertising matter, promotional literature, testimonial, guarantee, warranty, label, brand, insignia, or any other representation, however disseminated or published, that is misleading, deceptive, or untruthful;

(iv) Advertising a particular model or type of hearing aid for sale when purchasers or prospective purchasers responding to the advertisement cannot purchase the advertised model or type, where it is established that the purpose of the advertisement is to obtain prospects for the sale of a different model or type than that advertised;

(v) Representing that the service or advice of a person licensed to practice medicine will be used or made available in the selection, fitting, adjustment, maintenance, or repair of hearing aids when that is not true;

(vi) Habitual intemperance;

(vii) Gross immorality;

(viii) Permitting another’s use of a license;

(ix) Advertising a manufacturer’s product or using a manufacturer’s name or trademark that implies a relationship with the manufacturer that does not exist;

(x) Directly or indirectly giving or offering to give, or permitting or causing to be given, money or anything of value to any person who advises another in a professional capacity, as an inducement to influence him or her, or have him or her influence others, to purchase or contract to purchase products sold or offered for sale by a hearing aid dealer or fitter, or influencing persons to refrain from dealing in the products of competitors;

(xi) Representing, when this is not the case, that the hearing aid is or will be “custom-made,” “made to order,” or “prescription-made,” or in any other sense specially fabricated for an individual person;

(4) Knowingly placing the health of a client at serious risk without maintaining proper precautions;

(5) Engaging in the fitting and sale of hearing aids under a false name or alias with fraudulent intent;

(6) Selling a hearing aid to a person who has not been given tests utilizing appropriate established procedures and instrumentation in fitting of hearing aids, except in cases of selling replacement hearing aids. Selling a hearing aid to a person who has discharge from the ear, loss of balance and dizzy spells, or a loss of hearing for less than ninety (90) days, unless that person has received a prescription from a physician;

(7) Gross incompetence or negligence in fitting and selling hearing aids;

(8) Violating any provisions of this chapter.

History of Section.
P.L. 1973, ch. 243, § 1; P.L. 1997, ch. 149, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 467, § 3; P.L. 2021, ch. 400, § 13, effective July 13, 2021; P.L. 2021, ch. 401, § 13, effective July 13, 2021.