Pittsburgh Laser Hair Removal Doctor’s Confession – Happel Laser

Pittsburgh Laser Hair Removal Doctor’s Confession – Happel Laser

What Are Sketchy Laser Hair Removal Practices?

I have a confession to make – I love hearing about sketchy laser hair removal business franchises and spas that went broke and declared bankruptcy…

…and lucky for me that there’s the internet of things and my patients who have been to my competitors to tell me what is really happening out there – behind the scenes.

And that includes those facilities that are seriously hemorrhaging money due to questionable business practices.

You might think that’s weird or morbid.

But as a doctor who has never taken a business course in his life, it makes me paranoid.

Paranoid that if others can fail, that I could also.

Like American Laser Skincare and Premier Laser Spa did which both operated in Pittsburgh.

They don’t exist anymore. What’s really sad is that thousands of people lost thousands of dollars each on prepaid packages that were lost forever. The cost of laser hair removal in Pittsburgh is important.

Elvis and these bankrupt laser hair removal businesses have left the building (and Pittsburgh) for all eternity.

Hasta La Vista, baby.

For you, culling the herd is a good thing.

Their promises held about as much water as a hairnet.

Sketchy Laser Hair Removal Practices – The Definition

I look for other’s mistakes and their business model and their practices that brought these guys down.

I need to know the reasons that their clients have called them sketchy or “sketch” as some would say.

I was worried about that may sound catty or unprofessional so I looked it up.

The word, sketchy, as defined by the Urban dictionary:

1) Someone or something that just isn’t right 2) the feeling you get the morning after using a lot of drugs 3) something unsafe 4) someone or something that gives off a bad feeling, creepy an air of uncertainty, iffy, not kosher, and generally someone or something that you don’t want to be associated with depending on who you are 5) dishonest or disreputable

From what I’ve heard from patients and read that about sums up these laser franchises.

To avoid these complaints, we don’t offer or push prepaid packages, make people sign contracts, or offer guarantees for medical services.

After reading their countless reviews (which are predominantly horrible, by the way) you might say that metaphorically the smoke alarms have gone off.

But since the smoke has not started to waft under their door, some people tend to ignore their reputation.

They band continues to play (the ever-present advertising) while the ship is sinking.

Since the majority of reviews are written about the largest laser hair removal company in the country, let’s focus on what has been written about it.

What the New York Times Says About Ideal Image Laser Hair Removal

The New York Times described the sketchy practices of the largest of these franchises in three scathing articles that I would recommend that you read. Ideal Image advertises quite frequently on the radio in Pittsburgh.

1. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/01/your-money/zapped-by-the-hidden-costs-of-laser-treatments.html?_r=0

2. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/your-money/online-jeers-strangely-giving-way-to-cheers.html

3. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/31/your-money/when-a-customer-has-two-reasons-to-say-ouch.html?_r=0

Here are excerpts from these three New York Times articles.

But the Haggler is also certain many Ideal Image customers are being snowed. Both current and former employees say pushing Steiner products on customers makes, or made, them feel icky. Many customers, they say, need to finance their laser treatment and would gladly keep money they are forced to spend on lotions and oils. At many Ideal Image centers, the price consumers paid for laser treatments increased when skin products they did not request were included according to the reporter Davis Segal, aka The Haggler.

Once the column was published, a handful of current and former employees sent emails to the Haggler, telling him that the situation at Ideal Image was worse than the Haggler had described — for employees. They lamented that the company, which they argued had once been a fabulous place to work, was now lurching from bad marketing idea to bad marketing idea, and sales staff members were urged to get super-pushy with customers.

In the months before management was said to have requested some employee cheering, the reviews on Ideal Image’s Glassdoor page slanted to the negative. “Used to be a great place to work — now it is a nightmare for the sales staff,” was the heading of one write-up, posted on Aug. 4. Another, posted on Sept. 6, stated that Mr. Fabel “abuses power and has turned Ideal Image into a complete mess.”

But on Sept. 15, the Ideal Image frown was turned upside down, at least on Glassdoor. Over the next few days, more than a dozen reviews were posted, all of them so rah-rah they should have come with pompoms.

Nearly ten Ideal Image reviews have been posted to Glassdoor since Sept. 16 and we’ll let one speak for them all because they are variations of a similar sentiment. It was a scathing, one-star smackdown. The title: “A REAL review of Ideal Image — not one a current employee was forced to write.”


The title of this article was about confession.

I must confess that you must take reviews for what they’re worth with a grain of salt.

Every business has complaints. Unhappy customers often vent on the internet.

Fake reviews as implied in the New York Times articles are something else.

As a consumer, you must decide how trustworthy a place is and whether their laser hair removal services are worth it.

Better Business reviews are another great place to look for the truth.

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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