American Laser Centers (Pittsburgh)

Posted by: Anna_K

American Laser Centers (Pittsburgh) - 01/06/07 04:41 PM

I just wanted to take a minute and kind of tell my story about what's happening here between me and the local American Laser Center clinic in Pittsburgh.

About 13 months ago, I read their website, which stated that they can "effectively treat all types of hair." I have no pigment to my skin at all and have dark blonde hair. After going in for the consultation, I was told repeatedly by the clinical director that I was a good candidate and she gauranteed me that it would work. I was very nervous, having been to several other treatment centers in the area, so she reiterated that it would work, then added that I could pay half down. If I paid half down and it didn't work, I could just stop going. They would keep my $1,250, but I didn't have to come back for more. With that, I signed the treatment plan.

They told me that I would see differences after the first treatment, but after the first one, I didn't notice anything. I then came back six weeks later (November 2006) for another treatment. Still, no difference. I decided to just go ahead and forfeit the money.

I didn't hear anything from the company for six or seven months, just like I intended. In July, however, I was contacted by a new manager who said that she had my file and was seeing a "Balance of $1250" on it. She suggested I come back in for treatment. I advised her that I couldn't because it wasn't working. She told me it sometimes takes 6 treatments or more to see ANY result, which is a direct contradiction to what they told me before. I told her this. She said she would contact her regional director and that she would check into it.

Once again I didn't hear anything for a few months. In December of this year I was contacted repeatedly (four calls inbound, three voicemail messages) the day after Christmas. They advised me to contact her. I did, and it was then that she told me that I should come back in for treatment, and that she "Would hate to ruin my credit." I took this pretty seriously. I filed a complaint with the BBB.

I hadn't heard anything from the Better Business Bureau in the two weeks that it's been, but just yesterday I decided to call ALC's office to see if they had heard from the Better Business Bureau. She did call me back, and sounded like she had me on speakerphone with someone else. The manager was very rude to me and told me that their "Legal team would be in touch". She then said that all of my "records had been forwarded off to legal" and to expect a call from them - That "They would be contacting me". She seemed upset that I told the BBB that the company was harassing me and coercing me to continue treatment. She then abruptly ended the coversation.

I just got in touch with a lawyer. I mean, what else am I to do? I'm very young and I don't need some crappy company messing with my credit. Isn't showing my medical records to someone I don't authorize a violation of HIPAA? Besides, they coerced me into signing the original agreement and then told me if I didn't continue treatment for something that didn't work, they'd ruin my credit.

I guess I'm just wondering if anyone else has had any thoughts about this company or the way that they do business?
Posted by: NoHair

Re: American Laser Centers (Pittsburgh) - 01/06/07 06:46 PM

There have been several shared experiences with this chain within this forum. Pretty much all of them are negative and follow along your same experience. You can do a search within the forum for "American Laser Center" and you'll get 27 hits.

This company gives a bad rep to hair removal and laser in particular (and they usually don't even use a laser).
Posted by: LAgirl

Re: American Laser Centers (Pittsburgh) - 01/06/07 08:19 PM

yes, this company is horrible with lots of bad reviews on all the forums. all they care about is money. you are doing the right thing. i would write them a letter as well stating that all research (besides the company's whose laser(actually IPL, not a true laser) this company uses - which is anyway biased)indicates that LHR doesn't work on blond hair. Threaten to take them to court etc. Check out others' experiences here. They legally can't hold you accountable for any treatments you didn't pay for that you didn't receive, no matter what they made you sign, especially since that was based on a lie. I would contact a good lawyer and write this up. Look up all the legal statements that say this and include them in your letter. I urge you to do a bit more research on these forums regarding this company that gives a bad name to LHR and see what others have done. I included one link above. You can also try to get a letter from an experienced doctor who is willing to admit that LHR doesn't work on blond hair most of the time and include that. There might be a few people on these forums who can help with that.
Posted by: jimmyjames

Re: American Laser Centers (Pittsburgh) - 01/08/07 06:54 PM

I too had a terrible experience with American Laser Center. I wouldn't expect much from them at all. They will probably go ahead and file a deliquency on your credit report. Don't expect much from the BBB either. Didn't help me cause ALC just stonewalled. I'm talking to a lawyer now too.
Posted by: LAgirl

Re: American Laser Centers (Pittsburgh) - 01/08/07 09:50 PM

there was someone on the forum previously who was trying to find everyone who wasn't happy with them to file one large suit i might be able to find it through search
Posted by: BrentwoodJane

Re: American Laser Centers (Brentwood, TN) - 09/01/08 05:19 PM

The nice things first: I have been going to the American Laser Centers Brentwood Tennessee office for over a year and a half and have never seen the office dirty. I work in an operating room and am over sensitive about dust and clutter. The staff is friendly.

Now the not so nice things: The over $4,000.00 I spent PLUS the time involved has not paid off in results and it is very disheartening. I am on my 8th hair removal treatment and have only seen a 40-50% reduction in hair. I can't justify the money I spent on under arms, full bikini, and leg(s) hair removal.

I was frustrated on my 6th visit when photos was taken of all areas (under arms, full bikini, and legs) to show progress of the hair removal. We are instructed to shave before our appointments at home because the laser will not work if the hair is there. They took photos of me after I shaved. How insane is that for them to take photos for progress after I shaved. Of course there is no hair there, I shaved with a razor.

Other issues, the phone goes to answering machine most of the time. I've left up to three messages over a 5 day window before someone called back. The first time this happen I thought it was just a temporary issue but have had similar thing happen several times in the last year and half.

The computer is "down" a lot so scheduling has been difficult at times. Their paper record keeping has been poor and some of the staff are not proficient with their computer skills as they spend 5 to 10 mins figuring out when my next appointment will be.

My appointments are every 7 weeks apart. However, scheduling conflicts with American Laser in Brentwood may make them 8 to 9 weeks apart. I'm not happy about that.

I've researched several medical journals that hair laser could be every 4 weeks apart but ALC has rejected this as acceptable practice.

Having poor results upsets me the most but second to that is: The technician swears she does not skip areas while applying the laser but she does. She should research "Two-Point Discrimination on skin". I (clients) can tell when areas are skipped and it takes away their creditability to insist otherwise. But I have over $4,000 invested in the hair package and I signed a contract so I have no recourse but to go back each time, go by their rules, and hope for the best.

Posted by: pdeco1

Re: American Laser Centers (Brentwood, TN) - 09/01/08 07:55 PM

They are probably using an IPL, not a laser.

What are your treatment settings? Is the hair dark and coarse?
Posted by: haireverywhere

Re: American Laser Centers (Brentwood, TN) - 09/02/08 04:31 PM

I looked into it where I live, had a few emails with them back and forth, they would not confirm with me what laser they used, I even asked in an email, why are you sending me coupons (which obviously is a bad sign) and not telling me what laser you use???

I called there 866 # and they just said they use AmeriLase and AmeriLite - Sounds like they are making that up, one is IPL and the other diode...

Seriously - why aren't people look into this and making sure they are using the BEST laser possible...

IPL does not work and it amazes me how many LHR centers are using it and lieing about it's effectiveness on removing hair.

I don't know, maybe its just me but I don't get it...

Just another reason WHY this Forum is SOOO important!!
Posted by: dfahey

Re: American Laser Centers (Brentwood, TN) - 09/02/08 05:22 PM

This site has saved consumers thousands of their hard earned dollars. Yes, for that reason alone it is a very important website. Add in the emotional hell that the hairy go through after spending thousands of dollars for sketchy hair removal promises, temporary and permanent, that turns out all wrong and this site is a real force for those seeking real help for real results.
Posted by: LAgirl

Re: American Laser Centers (Brentwood, TN) - 09/16/08 12:59 AM

- Brendwood Jane: You shouldn't be asking for 4 week intervals. Intervals should be 8-12 weeks apart. So that is not the bad part. Laser also only works on coarse hair. If you don't have that type of hair left, you will probably not get further results, especially with their less than optimal machines

- haireverwhere: Those machine names are legitimate names they came up with after renaming Syneron machines via an agreement with them. You can read press releases on the agreement online.
Posted by: qbcmtr

Re: American Laser Centers (Brentwood, TN) - 09/17/08 01:52 PM

Wow, what a fishy company. I saw them here in NYC at a event called "Girls Night Out", it's like a boutique sales event. They had a nice display. I remember there being a blonde haired lady and a brunette representing the company. They also have blonde haired women all over their website. Can they technically get sued for attempting to treat blonde hair? I was reading on the web that they have a "new technology" that uses radio waves and a diode which is suppose to remove blonde hair.

So glad I read this post because I am in the search for a center in NYC and I was considering them because they are such a huge franchise.
Posted by: dfahey

Re: American Laser Centers (Brentwood, TN) - 09/17/08 02:03 PM

Just because you see a blond haired woman doesn't mean she has blond hair. Hair dye? Doesn't mean they have blond hair everywhere, now does it?

Sounds like they are pushing something like an Aurora (IPL) that doesn't work.
Posted by: LAgirl

Re: American Laser Centers (Brentwood, TN) - 09/17/08 05:53 PM

Amerilase is the machine that is the diode and RF, basically same thing as the Comet. And no, it won't remove blond hair. All marketing hype.
Posted by: qbcmtr

Re: American Laser Centers (Brentwood, TN) - 09/18/08 01:30 PM

Originally Posted By: lagirl
Amerilase is the machine that is the diode and RF, basically same thing as the Comet. And no, it won't remove blond hair. All marketing hype.

Wow that is soo crazy! If they are such a large company why do they attempt to delivery a service to clients they know wont work? I'm have dark hair so I am in the clear but for others that actually listen to them, what a shocker.
Posted by: LAgirl

Re: American Laser Centers (Brentwood, TN) - 09/18/08 05:54 PM

It's a business. They do what they think works for them. In general, this company tends to make their money on sale pitches and charging large upfront costs for a set of treatments with a no refund policy. I guess they figure it doesn't really matter what happens after they got the money.