Laser Hair Removal Rip-Offs, Cons, and Hoaxes Exposed

Laser Hair Removal Rip-Offs, Cons, and Hoaxes  Exposed

The 10 Biggest Scams of Laser Hair Removal

Rookie Mistakes Made When Getting Laser Hair Removal

It’s been over a year since we last wrote about laser hair removal scams in Pittsburgh.

AlertThis article is an updated list of the latest hidden ways that you can be tricked out of your money by unscrupulous laser centers.

Let’s get started.

#1 The Fake Discount Hustle – 70% off is what you hear on the radio for laser hair removal. Mattress stores are notorious for this pricing strategy. Lately, it’s become more difficult to tell if even if that eye catching huge discount off of the original price of a service or item is really a good deal.

Like the sticker price on a car, no one wants to pay that original meaningless marked up price. Even the invoice price is padded to make money for the dealership.

According to, many retailers like J.C Penney regularly use fake, inflated prices to manipulate customers into thinking the inevitable discounts are more impressive. It’s an age-old retail strategy called “price anchoring”. 

It’s one of the oldest tricks in the playbook. The anchor prices are ridiculously inflated. They are aimed at sales hunting and coupon loving customers.

It’s as blatant as the 70% off of the pie-in-the-sky fraudulent laser hair removal ads. It’s deceptive, misleading and unlawful.

J.C. Penney and Kohl’s were sued in 2015 for ripping off customers this way. Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have also been hit with class action lawsuits for phantom markdowns.

Don’t fall for it.

#2 The Low Laser Settings Rip Off – Laser settings can be manipulated by unethical and unscrupulous operators to keep you coming back for more treatments than are necessary.

Appropriate settings must be dialed in to heat up the hair follicles enough to disable them. Deliberately lowering the settings to keep their unsuspecting customers coming back is just plain crooked.

The settings on a laser that can be adjusted include the amount of energy, the pulse width, and the spot size.

Experienced laser and dishonest operators can manipulate them. You have no idea what the correct settings are just like you don’t know how the different parts under the hood of your car work.

The motivation for doing this is the bonuses offered to laser technicians for the volume of treatments that they perform.

Ask the laser technician if there are volume incentive bonuses. If there are, you may be in the wrong place.

Be aware of this.

#3 The Hair Color Sting 

Laser hair removal doesn’t work for people with blond, red, or grey hair. To make it more confusing, there are variations in those shades of color.

Dark hair with light skin responds best to laser hair removal.

Don’t believe the places that claim that if your hair is extremely light, white, very blonde or red, that it may take more sessions to get results.

That’s not true.

Laser hair removal targets the pigment in hair. Hair without enough pigment in it will fail when doing laser hair removal.  

Places claiming it will just take you more treatments are trying to rip you off.

Don’t believe them.

#4 The Prepay Shakedown

Never prepay for laser hair removal or any other service.

What if:

  • It doesn’t work
  • You don’t like it
  • You lose your job
  • They go bankrupt
  • It’s too painful for you
  • You don’t get the results that you expected

These scenarios are not far-fetched. You will be stuck with payments for services you won’t receive.

Most laser hair removal places push packages. That keeps you coming back no matter what. “Touch ups” are often not completely covered in their plan.

They do that because that makes them more money. More money for them means more money out of the pocket of most consumers.

Do not buy expensive over-priced packages that lock you in. No one can know ahead of time how many treatments that you will require.

Most people don’t consider that buying contracts is a financial risk.

People who buy only what they need, will save money. For that reason, you should only pay for the services that you use and only when you use them.

Realize that it is more profitable for laser offices to bundle their services. They don’t want you to know that.

There is no way to know ahead of time how many laser hair removal treatments that you will need.

It is likely that you won’t need all of the treatments sold in laser hair removal packages.  

Not paying for treatments that you won’t use will save you money. 

#4 The Easy Financing Available Hoax

Credit cards and easy financing are a bad deal for many people. They are often available at places that offer cosmetic services like laser hair removal. That makes it more enticing to many people.

The interest charged is not included in the contract price. Many are interest free for a year or more. The doctor is paying the interest to the credit company to entice you to have the treatments. They try to make it seem deceptively affordable.

High interest rates of 20% or more are not unusual. Unlike repossessing a house or car, they can’t repossess your laser hair removal so high interest rates are a necessity.

After you sign a legally binding contract, you are responsible for the entire amount even if they go out of business and you cannot receive the total amount that you prepaid.

You have to honestly assess the consequences of missing payments and what that could mean for your credit rating. Better financing is usually available with your bank.

Cosmetic services like laser hair removal is a luxury. It is for people with disposable income. Is it worth wrecking your credit?

#5 The IPL and Home Laser Hair Removal Racket

Don’t go on “cheap dates” with spas that offer insanely low prices for laser hair removal.

They depend on volume to make up for the discounted prices. Many people just look for the cheapest.

There’s always a reason it’s cheap. Their lack of reliable true lasers that actually work is often problematic.

Intense pulsed light is not as effective as a real laser. Avoid IPL.

Home laser hair removal gadgets are purposely turned down so that you don’t hurt yourself.

Would you take out your own appendix or set your own broken arm?

Seek professional help if you have unwanted hair. People are tempted to do-it-yourself to save money.

They may work for home repairs. For hair removal, you will just waste money. Understand why home laser hair removal doesn’t work.


Should You Consider Home Laser Hair Removal? – Happel Laser

Beware of ridiculously low prices for laser hair removal that are a red flag.

#6 The 100% Permanent Removal Hustle – Reputable laser hair removal establishments tell people it’s reduction so there are realistic expectations.

Fly-by-night places that hit and run often advertise for results that they cannot deliver.

That’s why it’s important to find an established location that’s been successful for years. Those are the places where you’ll find happy clients.

Hucksters will fold up their tent and move to the next location when they over promise and under deliver.

Don’t expect for the hair to be completely gone. It’ll come back but perhaps not as thick or as dark.

Some people have had laser hair removal treatments done and were coming back after years from their last treatment because hair began to grow again.

Everyone’s results vary depending on the location of the hair, hormones, and the coarseness of the hair.

Remember that it’s laser hair removal reduction, not permanent laser hair removal.

#7 The Painless Sham

Getting laser hair removal is not fun. The discomfort involved comes from the heat of the laser.

Laser hair removal always has some degree of discomfort. Everybody’s threshold of discomfort varies.

Because pain is subjective, there are techniques that may help some who are more sensitive to get through it.

Know the top ten laser hair removal tips to avoid pain during your treatment.

10 Laser Hair Removal Tips to Avoid Pain | The Coward’s Guide

#8 The Laser Hair Removal Guarantees Con Game

Beware of the following promises.

Never shave again.

Or if you sign today, you’ll get a lifetime guarantee.

Life time guarantees and free touch ups are a sucker bet.

What a lie! Remember it’s reduction not permanent hair removal. For most people, laser reduces the amount of your hair by 10 to 20% with each treatment. No one can guarantee results forever.

All laser hair removal guarantees have loopholes. The lawyers that write them are experts paid to prevent you from ever using these fake guarantees. The contract that you sign is iron clad.

It is impossible to get out of a laser hair removal contract.

The laser companies have billions of dollars in assets. There has never been a class action lawsuit filed against a laser hair removal company. You will spend more money than your contract is worth trying to sue them.

You can’t win if there is a legal dispute.

The question you must ask is – can you trust them?

#9 The Fine Print Flim Flam

Watch out for words like up to” 70% off of your third or fourth area. The worst part is that these prices are often inflated so that even 70% off your third area is still more than clinics charge.  

Be careful of the small print stuck somewhere in the middle of your contract where they know you won’t ever bother checking.

Not tanning during the lifetime of the contract is always included in the fine print of the guarantees. Can you avoid the sun for years to prevent nullifying these restrictions?

#10 The Bankruptcy is a Real Possibility Sucker Game

National laser hair removal chains have recently gone bankrupt leaving thousands of people with prepaid contracts in the lurch.

That’s a euphemism for still paying for unused prepaid treatments worth thousands of dollars.

Many have completely closed their doors without any warning.

Premier laser spa declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 20, 2015 and closed five locations and then changed their name to Laser Rx.

Premier Laser Spa customers were sold packages days before their doors closed forever at some of their offices.

These companies knew they were going to close these offices but still sold unsuspecting people packages that they knew they could never honor.

American Laser Skincare has declared final bankruptcy and closed its 132 locations permanently causing a lot of financial pain with its customers.


Don’t go on cheap dates looking for the least expensive laser hair removal available in your city.

Laser hair removal used to be a medical procedure.

Now it has become a cutthroat business. It is a totally unregulated by the government and consumer protection agencies.

To attract clients, some disreputable new places will pull out all of the stops to survive. Interest free loans, binding package “deals” and fake guarantees and discounts are involved to entice you.

The less reputable places eventually go bankrupt. Until they do, you have to be wary that plenty of places are out for a fast buck.

Despite this, laser hair removal remains a great advance in the right hands.

Telling people the truth is important.

There are plenty of honest websites on the internet that feature qualified practitioners developing their practices with professional and personal integrity.

On the other hand, there are also websites that would make even the trusting wary of the services and promises. 

Results vary from patient to patient because it is a complex process.

Laser treatment remains the best solution for most people with unwanted hair.

Be mindful that there are places that try to scam you so choose your laser hair removal facility carefully.

About The Author

Dr. John Happel

Dr. John Happel has been in practice as a surgeon since 1986 in the Pittsburgh region. He specializes in vascular surgery and has subspecialized in the treatment of varicose and spider veins since 1999. Dr. Happel is board certified in vascular surgery and recertified in vascular surgery in 2012. He was chosen in 1985 to fulfill the position for the vascular surgical fellowship at the world renowned Mayo Clinic.

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