ED Magedson – Founder
Ideal Image183 Heights Blvd Houston, Texas USA
Ideal Image Overpriced, shady contracts and business tactics Houston Texas
First, I need to mention that when it comes to the laser treatments themselves, and the people I immediately talked to at Ideal Image, that these people were extremely friendly, courteous, etc. The procedures themselves are not the rip-off entirely (besides the price tag, there is literally no one else in the Houston or Texas area that charges that much for Laser hair removal). My issue came after my first treatment. I'll put my story, and I'll put some general information if people still want to somehow brave this company's tactics. While Ideal Image will maintain they did nothing wrong (and legally they did not), and that it was completely my fault that this situation happened (and it is), they are still using shady, sleezy car salesmen tactics to wiggle their way into your bank accounts, and they will take advantage of the fact that most people are not paperwork savvy and contract savvy.
I put a summary at the bottom for those who don't want all the gritty details.
I reported to them that I had a condition on my legs that I was not sure what it was, but that it was diagnosed as folliculitis. The medical staff at ideal image approved me for laser treatments despite this, and I bought a package. I had a terrible inflammatory reaction and had to go to the ER. I talked to a medical director at ideal image, and there's a clause in the contract that states if the medical personnel deem you unfit to continue treatments for safety risks, then you could receive a full refund due to risk of injury. She mentioned she absolutely did not want this to happen again, and that there was a process I could go through to get a refund for my package purchase.
To be very clear--the original contract clearly states that with the approval of a medical director, that a refund can absolutely be issued. I got a CC for most of the package ($6,000), and paid for one of the treatments in cash ($1,500) so that my CC monthly payment wouldn't be so high.
I was contacted by a manager over the phone, and told that my bank account should see the payment hit in 3-5 days, that my *account* has been refunded in full, but that I would need to submit a form online to get the CC refunded. It was a refund agreement for the total amount of the CC account. Since I was told over the phone that my account has already been credited for the cash, this made sense to me that there was an extra step for the CC, and the CC has "Ideal Image" as the name on the card itself and the contract did as well, so it seemed like it matched up to me. I filled out the form, and submitted it. I got an email back saying, again, "That my refund has been processed in full. Please allow 3-5 business days for the credits to post."
I emailed them about a week later because I failed to see anything hit my account. And that's where they got me. The regional manager, her name is Renee, basically told me, "You signed a refund agreement in the total amount of $6,000. This is what you agreed to, and we're keeping the money. You paid for your first round of treatments, and the refund was only issued in the amount of $6,000." And she's right. There is absolutely nothing I can do. I contacted the BBB, but since I submitted the refund form, there is nothing that they nor I can do now. Ideal Image has every technical right to just say, "Yeah, doesn't matter what anyone told you over the phone, or that it looks like it matched up, you agreed to only let us pay you back $6,000, so that's all we're giving you back." I tried to explain that I wasn't trying to get out of paying for the treatments, but now I'm paying for a treatment that caused me a lot of pain AND emergency room bills. I literally couldn't walk for a day. She didn't care not one bit. I went to the actual place I bought the treatments from, and all of them just frowned at me and said corporate is who I would talk to anyways. I'm going to try to call the medical director again about the matter, since my original contract does state that refunds are allowed, but I'm pretty sure I'm stuck and while "technically" it is my fault, I feel the whole situation was bad business and other people deserve to know that. I was told it was being processed already by two different corporate workers, right up until I signed the contract--then they wouldn't patch me through to anyone but this Renee lady. Even when I asked for other managers, none of those guys would ever call me back. Renee extended me the number of the "legal representative", Kyle, as if that guy is going to care. She's already made mention that she's the ONLY one that can authorize refunds, so she clearly knows she's just sending me to him so that he can shut me down even more.
That's my story with them. Theoretically, they didn't do anything 'legally' wrong, and I will stand by that they did do actual laser treatments to standard. Their prices were way, way over the prices of other places, but that's not even the part I want people to know about. This is the part I want people to know about: they still lied to me, and then hid behind paperwork to cover up those lies. They were unclear about their 'free' treatments and how they work if you decide to buy a package, and they absolutely do NOT stand behind their product enough to guarantee a full refund if you are unsatisfied. No matter how much they say they "stand by" their services, anyone who says "well, that's your problem bub!" when they end up in the ER over their treatments when a medical condition was reported ahead of time is just in it to get as much money from as many suckers as possible. And I was one of those. Everyone was down to give me a full refund until I signed what I thought was the CC paperwork (BTW, even though "Ideal Image" is written super big on the CC, the company is actually something entirely different and isn't at ALL linked to them. So I thought the contract was for Ideal Image's CC program, but it was just for Ideal Image.) As soon as they had evidence that they could keep some of my money, they immediately shut down and stopped working with me entirely. They were super friendly and nice, until they "explained" that document to me.. Then when I talked to them again, they said, "Well didn't you even read it? You agreed to it." The regional manager, Renee, was not only the most unsympathetic person I'd ever talked to, but she was condescending and rude.. She might as well have told me, "Well, that'll teach you to trust people you silly girl." That's truly the tone of voice she used for everything, and she was clearly rather annoyed that I was even trying to talk to her about the issue.
The worst part of all of this is I was offered a free test treatment--which I thought I was getting. The way it was explained to me in the office was, I could receive a free treatment to my area, and walked out of the place without paying for a single package, to see if I like it. I thought that was really reasonable of them, and it was what sold me on the whole idea, because if it turned sour for some reason, I wouldn't be out any money. I ended up buying a package anyways, but I was under the impression I'd still receive my free treatment that day. Instead, what the girl did was roll my "free" treatment into the cost of my total package. She didn't explain this to me, and even out loud told me I would "start my paid treatments in June", but this was not the case. I could have tested my skin for FREE, not paid a single dime, and while I would have probably still gone to the ER the damage would not have been nearly as bad, and I would not be out nearly $3500 between the single treatment and my ER bills.
While I don't think this is the kind of business and service the Houston Heights location was trying to offer, they literally have NO say in how their sales go. They make the sale, and they don't have any authority after that. No one that talked to me, worked with me, etc. can go back to corporate and say, "Hey, we need to get this girl a refund." They didn't fight to help me with my situation, they just sighed and said they were sooo sorry to hear that happened. The corporate office is terrible, and there are so many other laser treatment centers you guys can buy your skin care needs from that don't use shady tactics like this company did.
- The locations you buy your treatments from have no authority or say in your sales or contract. After you sign, they cannot and will not help you if something goes wrong with said contract.
- They do not stand by their product. At the end of the day, their product did not work for me, and despite there being a clear clause in my original contract stating that injuries qualifies for a refund, they refused to refund me my entire account. They do not back their products, despite being told out loud that they guarantee satisfaction.
- They repeatedly told me over the phone that my bank account was IN THE PROCESS of being credited for my cash already, and that I would need an extra document for my Credit Card refund. When I filled out that document, they suddenly told me that that document allowed them to keep the money that was suppose to be deposited into my bank account, and that there was nothing I could do about that. And they were right.
- While my original contract clearly states that medical injuries would entitle me to a full refund at the descretion of the medical director, when the medical director said for sure a refund was in order, the regional manager said that *she* was the final authority on refunds. This is written no where in the original contract though. They are flimsy with their ends of the contract bindings, but they'll stick to it word-for-word if it benefits them in other areas.
- At the end of the day, I spent my birthday in the ER, and spent $3,500 of my money on a single treatment that caused me a lot of pain, and they took every liberty they could with shady paperwork tactics to keep as much money as possible instead of issuing me the refund my contract clearly authorizes and more than one associate assured me I would receive.
- They offered me a free treatment even if I didn't buy anything, but when I did anyways, they took the liberty to roll my 'free' treatment into just deducting the cost of a treatment from my package, which they then used to say "Oh, you *did* get a free treatment because we adjusted your total package cost to include one." Only I really didn't get a free treatment because I paid for the treatment I did get since they kept all my money, when I could have walked out those doors taking as much free stuff as I could before making a hard and fast decision.
Seriously. Do not. Buy from these guys. There are plenty of laser treatment centers, and yeah they're a fraction of the cost, and they might not look as fancy as these guys. But at the end of the day, the machines are what counts. They have Yag and Alaxandria machines (or whatever they're spelled like). As long as the laser center you're going to has those machines, you'll get the EXACT same treatments for less money, and no shady business tactics either. Do not support a company that uses fraudulent information on their contracts and lies to customers over the phone to get them to sign papers in a hurry so they can turn around and use it against them. I was trying to hurry because I just paid a hefty medical bill I was not at all expecting, and now I'm far further down the financial tube than I ever knew was possible. And while Ideal Image has the power to help me tremendously, they won't. And that's a shady, sleezy business if I ever heard one.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/28/2014 09:57 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ideal-image/houston-texas/ideal-image-overpriced-shady-contracts-and-business-tactics-houston-texas-1142310. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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