Saturday, March 07, 2009

American Laser Center Review: Refund Request Denied

The final verdict on my request for a refund from American Laser Centers is...denied. The office took several pictures of the areas that I was disputing, and submitted them to the "medial team" or whatever. Taking the pictures was the most unprofessional experience ever. This is nothing against the technician who took them, but unfortunately, they did not provide her training with how to best use the camera. If you don't know how to work a digital camera inside, you can get very bad photographs. And for something like this, when you need to capture visual details of your skin, and how many hair follicles are empty, this will not cut it.

The digital camera was tiny, and much less sophisticated than my basic Canon Powershot A610. I had to help the girl figure it out, and ended up taking pictures myself. I took them to the front desk, and politely insisted that the manager download them into her computer so that I could be sure it had happened. When I got home, I took more pictures with my camera, which turned out better and revealed more stubble detail, and emailed them to her.

After about two weeks, she responded with the news that the medical team advised me to continue getting treatments. Mind you, I've had 15 treatments. I'm no scientist, but I don't know the total effects of laser hair removal, and I already have one mystery freckle that wasn't there before, so doing more treatments is not an option for me. She also offered free treatments in other areas, which of course I did not take.

The next step would be to file a claim against them with the Better Business Bureau. My treatment was $2000 and I want half of it back. At this time, I am building and managing two businesses (and a few blogs!), so it's hard to dedicate the time to do this. I have seen and appreciate the comments on this blog from people who want to organize. I am an organizer at heart, but I'm not feeling like I can lead the charge on this one. I do feel that American Laser Center is a total scam and is ineffective for most people. It seems that their training of office people is extremely inconsistent, based on the different stories this blog has gotten regarding customer service.


So at this time, I think my roll in all of this is to be an outlet to people as they do online research, to warn them not to go with American Laser Centers. That everyone wins that stupid $300 prize, and that most likely, you will NOT be done in 6 appointments. If I suddenly learn more about how to file a claim, I may do it. Hopefully there is not a time issue, but there probably is. So...I may be googling it... ;)

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Contact a lawyer immediately who will take your case/add your name to a class action lawsuit. This fraudulent and dangerous company needs to be shut down. Keep calling lawyers until you find one willing to take your case. In the meantime, keep requesting via e-mail a full refund (what you deserve) every day from ALC until they finally issue you a full refund...even a full refund for the cream. Request a copy of your complete records (including photos) from the corporate office of ALC. You have a right to them and you do not have to pay for them, no matter what they say otherwise.

Mista said...

I could/should get my records, at the very least. I'll track down if there is someone else who started a class action suit. I feel like there was...

nina said...

they are terrible. don't go unless you want to get ripped off. i lost $7000 and they don't care!

Anonymous said...

Don't go. They burned me! treamtments didn't work. they took my $7000 and ran. customer service and evreything else companywide is neglectful to my issue. Why? they already got paid!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that you all haven't had the amazing experience I have had with ALC! I have gone to three different locations and I must say that the above comments really don't apply to the whole company or every office for that matter. I loved 2 out of 3 clinics I have been treated in! The one I didn't like wasn't a great location itself, and the staff was very cold. With that said I still had good treatments there. My favorite of the three is the one I go to now, in White Plains, NY. I can't say enough great things, but I'll try: the clinic is big and beautiful with free parking; the staff is professional and seems to love what they do. The clinic manager Colleen Maher is by far one of the best managers I've ever worked with, not just with ALC. You can tell that she loves what she does and it shows through her staff and her memory. She remembers my daughters name and asks about her everytime, even though she only met her once! Her assistant Jen is very much the same way, when she does my treatments I almost forget I'm lasering because we have such a great time talking! As far as my first ALC clinic they were also friendly and accommodating. I didn't win a gift certificate of any kind when I originally signed up, but did get a great deal for the package( I did my research before my consult) They explained the procedure fully, both the risks and my responsibilites.I am now seeing about 90% reduction on my underarms and bikini. I started treatment in Feb'07 so I'm currently using my 2 year guaranteed service time. It expires in april'08 and I am confident that my 10% will be gone in that time. What no one seems to address in the above comments is the fact that laser hair removal takes the clients participation in order to work: you must schedule your appointments within a certain time frame, you can't be tan and you must shave the area well prior to the laser. I notice a major difference in my treatments when I switched from using my venus razor the night before the treatment to a fusion blade. I was made aware of this and more when I signed up, and because I spent so much money have done everything in my power to ensure a great return on my investment. Can you all say the same thing?

Anonymous said...

Re: Above comment

Why do I get the feeling that you are an employee of ALC? Thanks for sharing your "experience" but vibe is a little too defensive for someone who is simply a "Happy customer."

90% reduction in one year? I seriously doubt that. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I've had the EXACT same experience with American Laser and have also done a ton of treatments only to have a 40-50% reduction. I was also thinking about requesting a partial refund because I am tired of this. I feel it is a waste of time, money and I don't know how safe all these treatments are. Let us know if you continue to pursue this or if you know anyone doing a class action.

Anonymous said...

I am an esthetician and the only permanent form of hair removal is electrolysis. Lasers result in a permanent reduction of hair. It will grow back in 5-7yrs. and certain skin colors aren't a candidate at all. What's happening is white lines are showing up on people's legs. Aside from the facts, I was employed by ALC for about 4wks. That's all it took for me to realize they were ripping people off, third degree burning people bc of lack of training. I recieved 15min. of training on hair growth and performed a photo facial and they were sending me a certification stating I could do all of these procedures plus microderm. It was the worst experience I've ever had workwise. They do lie and manipulate people. They stress to all employees no refunds no matter what. I wish someone would file a lawsuit and shut this place down!

Anonymous said...

I just read your entire account up until this, and I want to thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to share. The war on hair seems endless - it's good to get some straight information! Good luck with any legal action.

Anonymous said...

I've had a very stressful experience with ALC. They totally hustled me into getting a package deal which was about 5,000.oo and after my first treatment i was burned and then my legs got bumps all over them! I told them I would never go back and i wanted my money back. I paid though care credit and I bought this package deal about two years ago, I still haven't made any payments on it i've been disputing and they're denying my refund. All this has done for me is ruin my credit and give me emotional distress. I'm getting a lawyer next week i'm going to sue those bitches. Also, I got my laser done at my cousin's spa who only charges 200 dollars for everything i want lasered per treatment and i'm completely hairless after only 6 treatments!

Anonymous said...

I am ready to take my dissatisfaction with American Laser Center (ALC)to the next level since they will not refund my money. I am looking for others who would like file a class action law suite against ALC. Please let me know if there is anyone out there who is interested.

Anonymous said...

I also have had a very bad experience with ALC. I spend about $13000 there and bought a lot of their services, fotot facial, affirm, Vela smooth and Vela shape. Their technicians don't have much experience. The only treatment that was useful for me was foto facial.
I did however, do laser hair removel at a differnt place 8 years agao and my hair has still not grown back. But I went through treatments for two years. So when they tell you that you need 6 treatments, they are not being truthful.

Lauren said...

I paid $4500 and saw absolutely ZERO results. Then the manager at the American Laser Center took it upon herself to charge my GE Credit Card an additional $500. I asked her to reverse charges for the $500...She did not and the corporate office is claiming ZERO REFUND POLICY. WHAT??? They can charge my credit card as they please and not have to give the money back???? TOTAL SCAM!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

American Laser Centers Class Action

Anonymous said...

The ALC in Colorado Springs, colorado is the biggest joke ever. FRAUD!!!! and very dirty! She lied to me when she ran my credit twice and the $$ was in their account before I even got home:((( We need to shut this place down. I called a TV station today and they are all over it. They told me how to get a hold of the Attorney General and I will not stop till I'm done. I am going to with big signs to protest by their building. Women were flocking there like flies! Please everyone don't stop on this company!!!!

Anonymous said...

I do not even know where to begin, but that I made the biggest mistake of my life giving American Laser Center my money. Erika Barry, the office manager at the Okemos location is a horrible person to do business with. She lies, is extremely pushy, has a nasty personality, and does not care about her clients/patients/customers. This company's main priority is to make money and get customers in and out the door. They do not care about their patient's well being or health. They would rather put a customer at risk for permanent skin problems, so long as they get what they want. Money. They will claim that their employees are trained and certified and that they went through an extended training program lasting months. This is NOT true. If you have done any research, you will find numerous reviews from ex-employees stating that the training lasted only 2 DAYS and that they had no idea what they were doing. The technicians are told to push the sale further and skip areas to make the process faster. This company deserves to be shut down for good, and with the class action lawsuit against them, it's looking pretty good.

The company says you will have complete hair loss in the treated areas, and that it will NEVER grow back. They guarantee that you will be satisfied with the results, and you have TWO WHOLE YEARS after your final treatment to get any touch ups that are necessary. My question is- if this TRUELY lasts a lifetime, wouldn't you think their guarantee would be for life then?! If they could tell the patients that it lasted for life, they would get SO MANY MORE customers. Obviously it doesn't if they can only guarantee it for two years. Not only that, but rarely do people even see results before their two years are up!!!

Who in their right mind would pay thousands of dollars, to go through painful laser treatments for THREE years risking their skin and who knows what else for no hair loss, burns, blisters, and skin discoloration.

I was given misinformation, inconsistent information and I was lied to regarding various different aspects of the treatment. I went for one treatment and refused to go any longer. I started out that I was angry because they had all my money and I had read all the horrible reviews about the treatment not working AT ALL, and then when I started hearing about permanent scarring, blistering, skin discoloration etc. I started becoming concerned for what the treatment might do to me!

If you also have been ripped off by this company, please do not give up. Bug them EVERY SINGLE DAY until you see a refund. Get what you deserve. Also, there is a class action lawsuit. Please join the lawsuit at this website http://www.americanlasercentersclassaction.com/

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I'm not the only one with this issue. After I signed up w/ALC I already felt gypped. I don't even REMEMBER what treatment # I'm on or how long it's been. I REALLY haven't seen any results, and I'm doing just the arms and hands. They are ALWAYS chging technicians too. Crazy right? The only one that lasts is the manager.

Anyhow, I THOUGHT this company would be good. I went to another laser company, and they were great; but like most of you, I won "$300." So I thought, ok, check it out. BAD idea!!! After doing lots of laser hair removal at OTHER places, and then coming here to ALC, I know their lasers suck.

I should NOT have wasted my $$ or time with these ppl. Luckily no one has talked to me abt how many times I've been at their clinic... so I just keep going.

And EVERYTIME one of their technicians tell me abt their new product, I tell them "no thanks." They even ask me if I want to do more areas... I tell them, nope, I'm good for now. Seriously, are you crazy??

I even feel bad for sending my friend there. Lucky for her, she got a better deal b/c I helped her negotiate. She excused herself from the interrogation office to go to the bathroom to call me. The manager wouldn't let my friend leave w/o a deal. It's insane!!

Anyhow, if you readers insist on ALC... tell them that you want a deal for $500 or you're going. But don't expect ANY results after 6 treatments. I swear I'm on my 20th.

Flo said...

I too feel like I got hosed big time! They told me that they would offer me 18 months free financing, and after 12 months I started to see interest rates showing up on my statement from the 3rd party biller. Turns out they "entered the wrong information" and it is now too late since they no longer deal with that 3rd party billing service. When I asked for copies of the agreement I signed to allow the 3rd party service to bill me, I got stonewalled, and the manager told me that she has to "get corporate to release those papers" to me. They change managers with the weather, so that there is no accountability for the outrageous promises and claims they falsely make to you upon agreeing to pay them for services. Once they get your money, they change their tune, and eventually their managers, so no one is liable for what you think you're supposed to be getting, because "she shouldn't have told you that- we never do that!" I'm right there with you, should you seek a class action suit.

Anonymous said...

I am a former employee of ALC and everyone needs to know that ALC only offers A LOT OF BULL. We were given very little training and in the four months I spent there, I saw numerous burns, many unhappy people, and they worked us to death. I worked 10-12 hr shifts with no breaks and was forced to skip lunch many times. They wanted us to lie to clients and tell them the correct results were being achieved, when it was clear that nothing had changed. I never got two days off in a row and when I called in sick once, I was scolded. They are a terrible company to work for. I hated every minute I spent with ALC.

Anonymous said...

Everything that they say is true. If you want to get ripped off in Michigan ...just go to the Okemos ALC. American Laser Center. I know for a fact that this place is out for only your cash. I was a former patient and they took $3500 from me. I wanted to thank Athena for taking me and giving me the treatments that have left me hair free for a year now.

Anonymous said...

Ken Quat has litigated a class action lawsuit against ALC, but cannot attend to cases outside MA. I believe the firm is currently partnering with a California class action against ALC.

http://www.quatlaw.com/

I would like to start a class action lawsuit against ALC with the aid of 2-3 other people in Texas. Finding a lawyer to take our case may be the hardest part. I hope everyone in their respective states will be able to as well!

Info about class actions:
http://www.quatlaw.com/classactionFAQs.html


I have already gone to the BBB, but ALC still wouldn't give a refund and is now not responding to my reply (through BBB) after their decision was made. Basically, it didn't help, but unfortunately very slowly and hopefully surely, I will get this resolved! Keep at it everyone!

Thanks to FashionMista for the posts - i hope this diverts a lot of people from the disaster so many of us went/are going through!

Anonymous said...

Is this a scam too? It seems like they just want your email address - and there is pretty much no helpful info. The privacy policy says they will give out your email address to third parties. I want to join a real class action - not this one that seems to be a front for email gathering.

Scam?? --> http://www.quatlaw.com/classactionFAQs.html

The Ken Quat class action faq seems helpful!! good luck!

Anonymous said...

Sorry - ignore this post right above me... I meant to say:

Is this a scam too? http://www.americanlasercentersclassaction.com/

It seems like they just want your email address - and there is pretty much no helpful info. The privacy policy says they will give out your email address to third parties. I want to join a real class action - not this one that seems to be a front for email gathering.

The Ken Quat class action faq seems helpful!! good luck!

Anonymous said...

I am currently a client with ALC and my next appointment is on 12-19 coming up soon but after reading all these I'm thinking about canceling all the subsequent appointments. I signed up to have my under arms, full legs, and upper lips done and although I haven't had any bad blisters or scars I am still not satisfied with the results. And what I'm really worried about is the fact that they never gave me light blocking goggles to wear when they work on my upper lip region. My husband had some Broad Band Light treatments had a non-related clinic not too long ago where I saw they gave him thick titanium goggles similar to tanning goggles. His technician told me that they were supposed to give me those goggles whenever they work anything around the face area. So now I'm worried if I've sustained any permanent cornea damage.

Anonymous said...

I would have to agree with all of the posts... I have been getting treated in NY for my lip, underarms, legs, and bikini since 2008, and have yet to see major results. I have never got burned... but have had many close calls. I went to one location in the financial district (where i signed my deal) and wasn't happy with the customer service. One of the technicians made me seem like a liar when i was given a choice to recieve a free laser hair removal from any part of my body and i chose my eyebrows (which they were fine with) until they switched managers and I was told that it hadn't been approved by the FDA. Once i switched locations, (i am now at the 5th ave location) I noticed the inconsistencies, and overall unprofessionalism. As one post mentioned-- all these people care about is money and once they have it-- they could care less if you hate them, whether the treatments are working, or if you complain. Also, they seem to hire new technicians left and right so you never have any consistency- it seems as though removing hair is a free for all and each technician has there own technique... The last tech i had told me that Im not seeing results because my pain tolerance is too low!!! can you imagine the nerves of this woman who probably has never had 1 treatment and is telling me my pain tolerance is too low??!!! I have three tattoos and think i have some tolerance to pain. I could not believe people in a so called "professional" enviroment would speak to paying customers this way. This company is definitely not a medical institution and probably takes anyone with a H.S diploma. I would love for this company to get shut down so that everyone can get a refund.

Cailin said...

Hey all - I'm a beauty blogger who just got the $300 call today and made an appointment for my "free consultation" tomorrow. I thought, hey, this'll be great - I'll get a cheap underarm or bikini service done (hoping $300 would knock off a good chunk if not all of something that small - seriously, are people just made of money?) and a blog post out of it too. Of course, that was before I did my internet research like a good little soldier, and now I'm actually a little scared.

I'm still planning to go to the consult, although now my reasoning is that this might make an interesting post and possibly a useful warning to my readers...my question to those of you who have been with ALC is, is there ANYTHING, like a bottom-of-the-barrel facial, that I can swing for $300? (I'm very good at saying "no", so I don't foresee an issue with any annoying upselling.) If I have free credit, I'd like to get some kind of experience in treatment with these people and just see what's up, in the spirit of journalism and all. Has anyone had any experience with the non-hair removal treatments? Also, what's a reasonable price to pay for laser hair removal in general if you're not being overcharged?

Thanks for the help, ladies!

Anonymous said...

I've been having some challenges with the company regarding refunds. Except I made the payment and decided to cancel the service due to how I was treated during my spot check. I did not receive any treatment and was informed after I sent a complaint to customer service that ALC has a no refund policy. I put in a complaint to the Attorney General Office in my state, BBB, and had my attorney get involved. I received a phone call from the clinic manager a couple of days later that I will be receiving my refund within the next one to two weeks. I am going on my two weeks now and plan on filing a paper with the small claims court next Wednesday if I don't receive my refund. Absolutely horible service and I will make sure none of the people that I seek their service.

Anonymous said...

I paid 2000 for facial rejuvination, while i was receiving a tx someone cmae in to ask about the 999 special. when i realized it was the same tx i paid double for i called the 800 number and spoke with miguel, he compared it to buying a tv at target "would you expect them to pay you half of what you paid?" I certainly would if their price was cut in half the next day. he said he would forward my complaint to danielle phillips the regional mgr. no call back which i expecyed. she was the one that gave me my initial consultation and the cost was outrageous. didn't go for my last tx. the last time i had the microdermabrasion i got periorbital dermatitis and had to take abt for 1 month. aas far as the results, one brown spot is now gone. that's it!

Anonymous said...

I paid 2000 for facial rejuvination, while i was receiving a tx someone came in to ask about the 999 special. when i realized it was the same tx i paid double for i called the 800 number and spoke with miguel, he compared it to buying a tv at target "would you expect them to pay you half of what you paid?" I certainly would if their price was cut in half the next day. he said he would forward my complaint to danielle phillips the regional mgr. no call back which i expecyed. she was the one that gave me my initial consultation and the cost was outrageous. didn't go for my last tx. the last time i had the microdermabrasion i got periorbital dermatitis and had to take abt for 1 month. aas far as the results, one brown spot is now gone. that's it!

Jonelle said...

any updates on this? anyone receive a refund.. the BBB and attorney general denied my refund...i cant believe how these people conduct business they need to be shut down and im amazed they havent been called out yet..everything online about ALC is all negative...i'm interested in a class action suit if one was even started

Carmen said...

I would really like to get involved with class action suit against American Laser Center. They have scammed my family out of thousands, and they dare me to take legal recourse. I am a single mom of 3 children and one has severe disabilities. I have to proportion my time and money well, but this company must be accountable.