Laser Hair Removal Chain vs. A Doctor’s Office

Let the people who have been to both Ideal Image Robinson and Happel Laser for laser hair removal and compared them tell you their experiences.

And don’t forget to read the laser hair removal Better Business Bureau reviews from Ideal Image to get a feeling from previous customers.


# 1 Patient

REVIEW OF IDEAL IMAGE

FRAUDULENT “Medical Professionals”

Written on: 27/11/2012

Review of Wexford Ideal Image Laser Center as seen on reviewcentre.com (see previous link)

I would NOT recommend Ideal Image Laser Center to anyone.

The company is not looking out for the best interest of the client, and is simply running a sham operation to make the biggest buck they can. 

When I made my appointment for my free consultation I indicated I had an auto immune disease and that was one of the reasons I was seeking to have laser hair removal; the continuous exposure to germs being waxed was not in my best interest.

When I arrived, 15 minutes early for my appointment, I was greeted politely by an individual wearing scrubs and given some forms to fill out. 

These forms included health history and medications. I listed my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis plus all of the medications I used to control the illness. When I was ushered back into an office to discuss the procedure by two individuals also wearing scrubs, nearly 30 minutes had elapsed. 

They went through the procedure and honestly it was a big marketing scheme, but after explaining why I wanted the procedure, they assured me that I was a great candidate and this was performed in a sterile environment. The one person had had everything lasered and wanted me to touch her arms, etc and showed me lots of photos of befores and afters. Everything seemed to be ok and I indicated I wanted to talk about pricing.

The cost of a brazilian was $3390 for the 9 sessions. I thought at the time that was reasonable, after all they were running a grand opening 50% sale. I had my card out to pay in full as they went through the contract, noting where I had to sign and throwing lots of paper at me. They asked for my social, which was fine, but before I knew it I had been given an Ideal Image interest free credit card. 

I was not in favor of that, but since it was interest free, I figured it wasn’t that big of deal since they had already opened it. They indicated they could do my first session that night, but that I would need to wait a few minutes as the laser was currently in use for full legs, and that took a bit.

While I was back in the waiting room, another person whom I had not met came out and asked to talk to me (also wearing scrubs.) She led me back to the surgical suite and said simply that they could not perform laser services on me until they had seen blood work from my physician that I had a high enough white blood cell count for the procedure. 

I was flabbergasted. I had told every person I had come into contact with that I had rheumatoid arthritis and that I took immune suppressant medications. She explained she was the first medical personnel to look at my file and that no one else was educated to realize that presented a problem.

I asked what sort of blood work my physician would need to order and she asked if I had any blood work done in the last year. I had seen my rheumatologist in May and had my usual lab work done and she said a copy of that would be fine (it was August 16.) Since it was 745 pm at that point, I knew my physician’s office was closed. I also wondered why if no one else was a medical person who did procedures why they all wore scrubs.

medical professionalI left, very annoyed at the rest of the fake scrub wearers that I had wasted an evening and done the prep shave work etc, for nothing. I received a call about 10 minutes later from the marketing person apologizing as she knew how upset I was. 

When I got home, I read the contract very carefully (which as a lawyer I should have done ahead of time.) The 9 sessions you pay for – well those are really 5 full sessions and 4 touch-up sessions. If you decide or move away after beginning they will pro rate your refund according to the those 5 full sessions. So, if you have had 5 and move, you are SOL. 

The more I thought about it, I had signed a contract, been forced into financing I didn’t want or need, and not one person had looked at the area to be lasered! Not to mention their tag line of nurses/doctor supervised staff was a bunch of b.s. and they wanted old blood work as a CYA measure (I am not a medical professional, but seems to me your white blood cell count can change dramatically in 3 1/2 months.) 5 people had been told I had RA/took medication before someone actually paid attention. 

The next day I called back and said I was not comfortable continuing and that I would like a full refund as I wanted to talk to my physician before continuing. A regional manager from Missouri called me to talk me out of it, and offer me a free under arm zap, and still I persisted. There were plenty of negative reviews which I had not paid heed to ahead of time, I wasn’t going to make that mistake again.

I finally received a refund agreement later that day, which the manager had misdated, so I corrected him, signed the form and kept copies of everything. The refund agreement said within 45 business days they would return all $3390 to the method of original purchase. 

It took them over 70 business days (finally resolved November 13, when I had dated the refund agreement August 17,) multiple calls from me, eventually filing a dispute with the ideal image credit card and getting corporate involved before the money was refunded and the card closed. I received 3 bills in that time, and spent several hours straightening this out.

save money button on laser hair removal cost in PittsburghIn the meantime I went to a consultation at Dr. Happel’s office with Cindy. She is amazing. A brazilian is $250 a session and upper lip is $150 (read, 10 full sessions of brazilian would only be $2500. No contract, since Cindy believes everyone is an individual and what takes 9 sessions for one person may take only 6 for another. 

Before she does the first treatment she tests the laser on you after examining the area thoroughly and then you wait to see if you have a reaction or are comfortable continuing. 

Cindy is always punctual, efficient and they offer coupons at random intervals via email or on their website. It has been a great process so far (I am on session 4 for brazilian and 2 for the upper lip.) 

Bottom line – if you live in Pittsburgh and want laser hair removal – Ideal Image is just that – an image.

It’s not medically staffed and way overpriced. Go to a professional.


# 2 Patient

YELP review on Ideal Image in Pittsburgh

I’d give 0 stars [to Ideal Image] if I could.

I went for a consult, which was actually just a sales pitch.

They didn’t even look at the areas I wanted done.

They didn’t do a test spot and never even checked to see if I was a good candidate! Just sat me down and started talking about packages.

And you have to sign up for 8 or 9 sessions (can’t remember the exact number on the contract). What if I don’t need that many?? I asked about paying per session so I could stop at my time but they don’t work that way. So because of the number of sessions, even with the “package deal” it was still outrageously expensive.

caution signAnd what about my safety? No concern of that as long as I signed on the dotted line. 

I found a great place – that is not a chain – with a qualified and experienced technician. She checked out my legs and did a test area. And I can go session by session so I don’t have to commit, i. e. Pay for, sessions I don’t need.

Highly recommend Dr. Happel laser center (Washington Rd, Pittsburgh).

Conclusion

Let the actual people who have been to both Happel Laser and Ideal Image in Robinson guide you.

All things considered, these two experiences say it all.

Taking everything into consideration, you want the place that doesn’t give the hard sales pitch.

A reputable and established doctor’s office chain approach is completely different from a business oriented laser chain.

Ideal Image internet reviews and Better Business Office complaints often start with the outrageous price and end with trying to get out of the contract that they make you sign.

In my opinion, the differences in these two approaches are like night and day.

Isn’t that what these two reviewers said?

 

 

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