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A company used high-pressure sales pitches to persuade senior citizens to buy expensive and unwanted hearing aids, state Attorney General Dennis C. Vacco contends in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Beltone Hearing Aids Center of Plattsburgh and company owner John Tolbert allegedly bilked elderly people out of thousands of dollars by promising a free in-home hearing test and then pressuring them to buy hearing aids, Vacco said.

"In reality, the free hearing test results in a sales pitch for hearing aids that can cost as much as $3,000," he said.

Vacco said the company also refused to honor its 30-day, money-back guarantee and sold used hearing aids that it claimed were new.

Vacco is suing under a new law passed last year that increased civil penalties up to $10,000 for those found liable for consumer fraud violations against people 65 and older.

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