Lifestyle Lift Shuts Down Its Business, And Here's Why RealSelf Saw It Coming

Jager Weatherby on 4 Mar 2015 at 12:00am

Lifestyle LiftOn Monday, March 2, it was confirmed that Lifestyle Lift (2014 Worth It Rating: 63%), a nationwide chain of plastic surgery centers, suddenly shut down the majority of its business. For many of those following healthcare news, the announcement seemed abrupt. But here at RealSelf, we were anything but surprised.

“We saw it coming,” founder and CEO Tom Seery explains to Allure magazine. “This year, we have 47% less traffic on that section of our site, so the decline in interest has been obvious.”

But there’s more to the story than people seeking out other anti-aging procedures over Lifestyle Lift. When the company first opened in 2001, it struggled to establish itself as a trustworthy brand. The basis of their business was to offer a mini-facelift for a fraction of the price, which they reportedly spent $1 million per week advertising on TV. Unlike a traditional facelift, the Lifestyle Lift was performed under local anesthesia, took less than an hour, and had an average cost of $6,425 (as compared to $11,350 for a facelift).

Negative press for Lifestyle Lift started as early as 2006, and at the time, less-than-glowing reviews made up more than half of the the consumer posts on RealSelf. To this day, the company continues to garner negative reviews from patients left with horrible scarring, infected burns, and even loss of earlobes. “I worked very hard and long to be able to pay for this and now I am left with an awful mess and will have to pay once again to have it done from someone else,” wrote RealSelf user unhappy princess. “They promise you the moon, but their word is worth zero! They should be shut down!”

In 2008, Lifestyle Lift filed a lawsuit against RealSelf for trademark infringement, which we believe was an attempt to silence these opinions from our community. In response, RealSelf filed a counter-complaint under the belief that the company violated our terms of use by posing as patients and posting misleading reviews on our site in an effort to boost the procedure’s Worth It Rating. The parties reached a settlement two months later.

RealSelf is passionate about giving our users a transparent and unbiased way to learn about cosmetic procedures, whether that information is positive or not. “These sort of fabricated posts threaten our community’s trust in us,” says Seery. “We have no choice but to challenge these actions.” It’s our job to defend our users’ right to share their experiences with others.

Over time, Lifestyle Lift worked to improve its brand perception, but it obviously wasn’t enough to overcome early reviews. Trust can be a hard thing to earn, and even harder to regain once it’s lost. For the RealSelf community, trust is non-negotiable.