So Much for Their Satisfaction Gurantee
THE BACKGROUND Well it all began 3+ or so years...
- 8 Sep 2008
Well it all began 3+ or so years ago when I went through a very bad breakup of a 9 year relationship involving infidelity which pretty much stripped me of my pride and left my self-esteem in shreds and dependant on anti-depressants to cope... all at the age of 27. Off and on I had considered doing mesotherapy and after personally recommended results from a friend, I decided to take action. When I started researching I came across a "new, better" procedure known as lipodissolve. Pretty soon it seemed it was constantly being advertised in magazines and on t.v. So, I decided to schedule a "free" consultation...what did I have to lose, right? (I'm sure many can relate to that statement...hindsight...)
At the time, I had begun dating someone new and as with most new relationships I was feeling extremely self-conscious. Before going in for the consultation, knowing the procedure wasn't going to be cheap, I asked myself, "How much would I be willing to pay to have the guaranteed body I would be satisfied with and always desired?" Believe it or not I came up with $10,000. Trust me I am in no means financially well-off and I come from a hard working, military parental background. Too bad I didn't just work harder at diet and exercise like I was able to do three years prior when losing 35 pounds. My weight did fluctuate slightly over those years and at the time of my consultation I believe I weighed in at about 160 pounds (thanks to too much partying...I do live in Las Vegas after all and the buffets alone...I tell ya) on my 5'7 frame.
When I arrived at the facility I was immediately impressed. I'm not sure about the other locations, but the Las Vegas office is located just outside the "well-established" area known as Summerlin. I walked into a very polished decor complete with plasma t.v.s playing the uplifting sounds of an Eagles tribute concert. The staff was of course very courteous and professional. During the consultation I got the standard informational video, but having already done my "research" I felt confident knowing what I was getting into and all I needed was that all important figure(monetary and literal) as to whether it was going to be a yea or nay. My consultant was very friendly and was of course informative... especially about the satisfaction guaranteed. If I completed all the required sessions and was not satisfied or if I had a doctor's note with a legitimate medical explanation (including pregnancy) as to why I could not continue the sessions, I would get a full refund. Oh and of course the procedure was not for everyone, but geared more towards people with problem areas and better results were achieved when combined with diet and exercise. So, she examined my problem areas (which was quite large since I was, afterall, overweight) and what-do-you-know I was a candidate! Now my options. What areas to treat? I have always had a love-hate relationship with my legs and referred to them as drumsticks. From the knees down I loved my calves and ankles, but my thighs were a whole other story. So, I knew that was my major problem area that I wanted to resolve/"dissolve" more than anything. Now, the thighs as most of you know weren't just one area. You have of course the inner and outer thighs and the "moon' area underneath the buttocks. So that's pretty much three areas requiring treatment. Onto the other problem areas. My underarms. For some reason I was cursed with having the majority of my stretch marks on my underarms. Over the years I've learned to live with them, but with treatment she claimed they would practically disappear or at the very least be minimal. My Abs/Stomache. This is probably one area that was never too much of a problem with me. No stretch marks and relatively remained trim and flat giving me that hour-glass shape. However, with my recent weight gain it could definitely use a tune-up. As with the thighs this wasn't just one treatment area. There's the upper abs, lower abs, and love handles. So again three areas. I guess as a trade-off for not gaining weight in my midsection, my body chose to transfer it to my back in the area lovingly referred to as the bra-fat. Like my underarms, I've learned to live with this problem area, because a bra does indeed tuck the fat in and smooth it nicely. So, wow all these areas they can help treat, but at how much??? Well it turns out, if I remember correctly, around $1,500 PER area. Oh but wait they offer packages! It was basically three treatment areas for the price of two, so you would be getting one area for free! However, which areas to choose. Like I said my main focus was my thighs, but now I had 8 possibilities. Now being the good consultant that she was she had one last package to offer... the creme de la creme, piece de resistance... the Swan Package. Now does that not sound so grandiose or what? I could get all my problem areas plus two additional areas that I may not have needed treatments then, but in later years the knees and underchin areas will be affected by gravity and OF COURSE this package had a lifetime guarantee. It was like an investment, because at the time I was only 27 years old. Well wouldn't you know, as fate would have it, the price of this package was my magical figure of $10,000. Wow. Now it was yea or nay time. Before you make a final decision they want you to meet with their financial consultant, because they do have their very own in-house financing that currently was offering a special. When I met up with her she was of course not only an employee, but also a patient and willingly showed her own before and after photos. So any doubts I had about results were slowly diminishing and afterall this was a 100% money back satisfaction guarantee. They offered the one year free financing, but the kicker was if you paid in full you got a 10% discount. As irony would have it over the years I has always been smart with my money, if not on the frugal side, and managed a little nest egg. Was it worth it? I did say I would be willing to spend the $10,000 if I was guaranteed my dream body. If I paid in full now I could use my credit card and it would only be $9,000 ("only" right?) and as a bonus I did receive 2% cash back on credit bard purchases. They were so willing to accommodate than if I signed the paperwork today they could schedule my very first session that very same day! It was the beginning of springtime so by the time summer rolled around I would be through my treatments in time to show off my new body. So, again... what did I have to lose when it seemed I had so much to gain? Not sure if it was the happy pills I was on at the time (anti-depressants) or what, but I was overly optimistic. So, a Yea it was. However, I did not receive the treatment that day, because there was trouble with charging the full amount on my credit card. For some mysterious reason they stopped accepting American Express, so I had to get an increase on a different credit card. I should have known right then and there, that if they were declining to work with an actual upstanding corporation such as American Express there would be problems ahead.
It seems like my life was turning around. The guy I was dating became my live-in boyfriend and would chauffeur me to my treatments as well as pamper me afterwards. It was so reassuring sitting in the waiting area with the fellow patients that seemed so distinguished. If they too were willing to "invest" in the procedure then I shouldn't worry. Again this was in the early days of the Advanced Lipo Dissolve Institute when the feedback was mostly positive. At my first session I was told I could only do three areas at a time, but the first session they recommend only two. I decided on my abs since my vanity was eager to seek their familiar comfort. The rest would come in time, because, hey, I had the Swam Package and it was a lifetime guarantee. I know a lot of you experienced the pain, some to the extent they could no longer tolerate future sessions. For me I expected it. I was afterall being stuck with a needle numerous times. The burning and swelling that went along with it was also expected. I just gritted my teeth and focused on the end justifying the means. After the first couple sessions for my upper and lower abs I started on my cursed underarms, because at the time I didn't have any love handles. In all I managed to complete the required 6 sessions on my abs and underarms in about a 3 month stretch. Thankfully I was able to receive my requested nurse that had a technique that made the experience, if you can imagine, less painful.
Throughout my treatment my weight continued to fluctuate. I'm not sure if was due to the treatments or my contentment in life. Regardless I do believe I did achieve some results. Perhaps it was because I invested so much (financially and personally) that I needed to believe I had results, but I was not going to be sold until I completed the recommended 3 additional treatments to achieve the optimum results. However, since I was so aggressive in my treatments they recommended I take a short break to allow the medication to work its way out of my body and the infamous small nodules in my abs I developed to recede. A break from the painful injections and swelling was welcome. So much so that months went by. I wasn't too concerned though, because I was guaranteed lifetime treatments and I also wanted to lose some weight to make the treatments more beneficial. In the meantime my relationship prospered and I became engaged and eventually became weaned from the anti-depressants.
As the months went by I struggled with my diet and exercise and refused to go back until my body was in better candidate condition. This was because every now and then I would research the lipo Dissolve procedure, especially after The Advanced Lipo Dissolve Institute became Fig. I liked to be conscientious about how I spend my money and wanted to see if the hype was still positive and of course the testimonials. Now we can all say, "ha, ha, right?" Anyways, I was beginning to become easy that I had thrown $9,000 away, because the nodules remained and I developed dimpling in my abs... nothing major, but definitely noticeable that I hoped would diminish. I thought about a refund, but I didn't signon and commit to everything for a refund. I actually wanted the promised results. Off and on my fiance would joke about how it would be nice to have that money to help with the expenses and we should just get pregnant. Well...as fate would have it I did end up in the family way and trust me it was not planned nor welcome, but it is what it is and even though we may not have planned it, some higher power obviously had other intentions. I thought about continuing treatments after the baby was born since I had the lifetime treatment guarantee, but with my future husband being in the military there was a possibility we would be moving sooner than anticipated and I wasn't satisfied with the dimpling that occurred. So I made the call, preparing for an ordeal over the refund. However, the person was surprisingly quite pleasant and actually understanding. She told me there shouldn't be a problem with the refund and she forward the message to the person in charge of refunds and I should hear back the following day. Well four days went by and I decided to call back only to receive the recording regarding the closing and when I went to the website I discovered the bankruptcy filing. Just my luck...
I apologize for the lengthiness, but I guess I figure since I'm out the most amount of money perhaps it might provide some solace in sharing my experience. It seems so many figures of speech come into play with my experience - "Hindsight is 20/20" - "If it seems too good to be true" - that many can relate. I always prided myself in being smart with my money over the years, maybe even on the side of frugal. I thought I was getting a deal by purchasing "The Swan Package" and paying 100% up front. Too bad I didn't go with their financing, because it seems those of you who did will be the only ones that have the greatest potential of financial recovery. It's ironic how I hate the thought of wasting money on interest and always believed that if you have to finance, then you can't afford it. I'm not exactly a religious person, but it seems pride and vanity has taught me a difficult lesson. I did receive the bankruptcy paperwork and filed it, but I'm sorry to say we will most likely never see our money again. Even after liquidating, the debt ratio most likely will not be in our favor, especially since other entities take precedence over the patients. Yet another irony. It was our money that allowed them to operate, but we will be last in line for leftovers. I am curious though. It seems people are still receiving refunds from Care Credit, but have these same people already joined in the bankruptcy? If the slight chance that a miracle occurs and there is money to divide up, how will they know to exclude the people that have luckily already been refunded? Just a thought. Anyhow, I realize it is only money and it could be worse and I could have medical problems like some of you now experience as a result of the procedures.
I am now married with a healthy, beautiful, two-month old baby girl. Like most of you, I regret being so frivolous, especially when I realize how much my family could have benefit from the $9,000. However, it could be worse as I previously mentioned. In order to get through difficult situations I try to see the humor in things and it certainly is funny how easily I bought their lure of a lifetime, satisfaction guarantee hook, line and sinker. I must remind myself at least I have my health. For those that can relate to my experience, you can also take comfort in the fact that you're only out a few thousand, unlike me...
So good luck to everyone, we should all keep our fingers crossed, and just try to be thankful for what we do have, because it could always be worse...