American Laser Centers — scam and fraud!
I was so happy when I received a phone call from American Laser Centers stating that I had won $300 worth of laser hair removal. I went in the next day to “just to talk” with someone about my winnings and this conniving woman told me that if I didn't purchase one of their packages right there and then, that the offer was going to be null and void. I felt cornered and unsure of this major financial commitment seeing how I was still in school, so I wanted to go home to talk it over with my mother. She assured me that the procedure was quick, painless, and will be worth the investment for never having to shave again. I told her that even with the $300 I "won" I could never afford the total she showed me. As a favor, she told me that she would give me an additional discount to knock the price down to $1000 and she would sign me up for the Customer Care Credit Card so I wouldn't have to pay it all up front. I found out that anyone who fills out there name, address, and phone number will “win” which I was never told. Although, I was told that there was a doctor that oversees the office. Later, I found out that he comes a few times a year to keep up appearances, but really the company pays them for their status to make it look more legitimate. Unfortunately I found all this out later and I did sign the papers but if I would have known what was to come, I would have started running far away from there.
I started going to treatments and I could tell right away that the staff had no idea what they were doing. It seemed as though staff members were coming and going quite regularly, while the conniving woman I mentioned was always coming and going from Dunkin Donuts. Whenever I was in the office, I was usually waiting anywhere from ten to forty minutes for my treatment. I had to sit in the waiting room on more than one occasion listening to her personal and unprofessional phone calls. When the phone calls were professional she would make it sound like it was "so busy" in the office when it wasn't. Numerous times, I would come in for an appointment and they would tell me that they only had time to treat one of my areas because of booking and time issues. One time, I waited in the waiting room for so long that she offered me three Micro-derm Abrasion treatments because I wanted to leave. Nice gesture I guess, but I just wanted what I paid for. The next time I went in for my appointment, this one staff member was taking too long on a patient so the manager started to reprimand her in front of me to the point where this staff member (Jodi) began to cry. I was surprised by their unprofessionalism, but in my opinion these were minor problems. In the beginning, my actual treatments were pretty "average". The process took anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and the laser didn't hurt. As I was approaching my 4th and 5th treatment and I was still not noticing any hair loss, they told me that they were going to do "double passes" with the laser (meaning that they would go over the treated area twice with the laser). When that didn't work and I still wasn't really seeing much hair loss, I was told that I was going to have a “double pass” with the stronger laser. A staff member named Luna treated me that day and she was very rude and also unprofessional. She was in a hurry and basically told me that she need to turn the laser up to a higher temperature because I wasn't seeing results. The laser felt hot on my skin but she told me that I just had to deal with it if I wanted to have all the hair gone. But finally she turn down the setting and she finished my treatment at a lower temperature.
Yesterday on January 18th, 2008, I want to my appointment unaware of what was to come. Another new and seemingly friendly staff member greeted me and began my treatment. Right away, the laser was hot! Actually, I even jumped and experienced muscle spasms from the laser hurting me from being so hot. I asked her to turn down the setting and she said that that was the setting from my last appointment. I told her that it was too hot and in all my other treatments except for the last, it never was that hot. She began to tell me how well "trained" she was and all the hours of experience she had doing this. I told her my experience from my last treatment and how it was too hot and she had to turn it down and that I wanted her to do the same. She told me that that was the reason why I wasn't seeing hair loss, because it wasn't hot enough. When she got to my stomach, I pleaded with her to really turn it down because it hurt so bad. She told me that my skin wasn't even turning red and she had plenty of gel to cool the skin. Once she started to do the “double pass” on that same part, I demanded for her to turn it down. I told her how much it was hurting and she told me that it was because she was going over my hip bone (which wasn't even part of my treatment). She even suggested that the reason why I was being so sensitive was because, "Sometimes around ones cycle, your skin gets more sensitive." Well that wasn't true in my case. When she started to do my back, I had to tell her again that I was in pain. She told me to, "try not to think about it!" That is pretty hard to do when I was getting burned. It may be because of the protective glasses she was wearing, but she should have seen that my skin was red! Perhaps, because she did notice what she was doing to me, she did turn the setting down. While she finished up, I told her how sore the area was and how none of my other treatments were like that. I couldn't wait to get out of there. I needed to go home to put ice on my skin. As I was driving home, it hurt to press my back against the drivers seat. As I was looking as these red marks, I realized that the whole time I was sitting there getting burned. I felt so violated! I waited until my mother got home so that she could look at my back and sure enough, there were burn marks in that area too that were in the shape of the laser device. My mother took pictures so that I could see and I was so upset. I called and left a message and I am still waiting for someone to call me back. I also called the main corporate number and of course, there was no answer so I had to leave a message. I will never set foot into another American Laser Centers office. I am certainly too afraid to finish my treatments and since I still have no hair loss, I would like my money back. I understand that I signed a paper saying that they don't give refunds but under these circumstances, I had no idea that I had to be burned to get the hair loss. That was not in the contract. I have pictures of the MULTIPLE burns, if anyone would like to see them. I do not want to have to sue and I am not asking for any pain and suffering compensation. I would just like my money back. I don't think that it too much to ask, especially when I will having scarring from this and who knows what other possible internal injuries (God forbid). I am a school teacher who just wanted to feel better about herself. I would have never even had this procedure done if I didn't "win" $300. I want to get my story heard so that this doesn't happen to anyone else.