Mr. George Dennis
3572 Par Four Drive
San Diego, CA 92019
RE: The tariff classification of the TV EARS Professional from China
Dear Mr. Dennis:
In your letters dated April 8, 2007 and June 29, 2007 (received here October 4, 2007,) you requested a tariff classification ruling. No sample was provided. We did not receive with your later letter your April 8 letter plus any information then submitted as we had requested in our 5-31-07 letter to you.
We ruled in New York Ruling Letter N011243-109, mailed to you on 5-31-07, that its HTSUS Classification for Chapters 1 through 97 is 8518.30.2000.
This letter concerns only your claim of a secondary classification in HTSUS 9817.00.96.
In your June 29 letter, responding to our questions, you ask that “we review the TV Ears headset with accessories (neck loop, t-coil module, music cord, telephone cord, and voice cord).” Per the current tvears.com website, the Professional, unlike the 2.3 MHz and the Original, is T-coil and neck loop compatible. A neck loop (worn around the neck) is plugged into the headset and transmits the signal so it can be “detected and converted into sound by the t-coil,” which is in the hearing aid. Also, unlike the 2.3 MHz and the Original, the Professional is shown as recommended for Hearing Aid Users. Therefore, we take it that your request concerns just the TV Ears Professional, i.e., that headset imported with the stated accessories and its infra-red transmitter.
The TV Ears Professional is similar in many ways to the TV Listener which was determined not to be eligible for classification in HTSUS 9817.00.96 in Headquarters Ruling Letter 558684 DEC, 12-14-94. However, there are additional features indicative that the TV Ears Professional would likely only be of fugitive use for those who do not have a permanent or chronic impairment which substantially limits their hearing. See US Note 4-a to HTSUS Chapter 98 and, for example, HRL 562812 KSG, 3-30-04.
Due to the t-coil module, the headphones can be used (independent of the transmitter in the imported system) in “looped environments,” public places that provide electromagnetic transmissions of the sounds of the event, not just those with infra-red transmitters, as in 558684. Also, using the infra-red receiver in the headphones, it can provide the hearing aid with tv sound (using the infra-red transmitter and receiver), as well as with the sounds represented by the electrical outputs of the music cord, telephone cord and voice cord (mini-microphone.) The t-coil/neck loop capabilities go beyond the “available jack adaptor for a hearing aid” in the TV Listener in 562812.
On that basis a secondary classification will apply for the TV Ears Professional system in HTS 9817.00.96, as specially designed or adapted for the use or benefit of the permanently or chronically physically or mentally handicapped, free of duty and user fees (if any), if all applicable entry requirements are met including the filing with the Customs port of entry of the U.S. Department of Commerce form ITA-362P. Note that this classification has no effect on any quota, visa, or restricted merchandise requirements.
This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).
A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist J. Sheridan at 646-733-3012.
Robert B. Swierupski