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American Laser Clinics Part 1: Armed guards & threats.

This series of posts details how it came to be that American Laser Clinics hired an armed guard to prevent a physician from seeing his own patients. November of 2005 I was contacted by Dr. Vaugn Moody,   the medical director of an American Laser Center in Draper, Utah. (Yep. The same ALC that's running the laser hair removal infomercials.) Dr. Moody had been the medical director for ALC and had built out a new clinic in Draper. ALC had moved with him and were renting 4 treatment rooms and a front desk area. ALC had a staff of about six young women (early 20's) who were generally autonomous. About medical spa franchises.

Dr. Moody called and asked to meet and discuss the possibility of leaving American Laser Clinics and associating in some way with Surface.

According to Dr. Moody, American Laser Clinics was constantly late paying him for overseeing their operations and operating far outside the acceptable norms of ethics and acceptable medical standards. He was unhappy with a long laundry list.

  • American Laser Clinics was initiating IPL fotofacials without adequate or proper training for their staff.
  • The ALC technicians were being hired, given an hour or so of training from the other technicians and then performing treatments.
  • Dr Moody, the medical director, was entirely removed from any interaction with patients. The staff gossip was that the ALC staff had been told never to referr a patient to Dr. Moody's clinic since he'd try to 'steal them'.
  • Patients were being diagnosed and treated without being seen by anyone other than a technician with no medical licensure or training. 

Dr. Moody twas being sued by a patient who had been burned from a bikini line hair removal. The most interesting thing about this was not the fact that they had burned someone but that the burns showed the treatment pattern and that it was obvious that they had intentionally not treated the entire area but were 'skipping' ever other pulse. During later conversations with staff members they represented to me that they were actually trained to do that to save time.

The patient suing Dr. Moody (and American Laser Clinics) had been treated by a new hire who, without any supervison, had used the IPL Fotofacial head rather than the hair removal. Additonally she'd turned the device up. The result was a perfectly detailed burn that ran from her navel down to her pubis and resembling a zipper with that skipped pattern. The patient, who was supposedly a swim suit model heading for Las Vegas, was not happy. And rightly so.

Dr. Moody also told me that ALC staff treated a number of patients after he told them specifically not to because the laser was not resetting itself correctly and needed to be serviced. The result. Burns again. 

This litany of horrors went on and on. The staffs of both clinics were almost openly hostile. The situation was unmanagable and getting more so.

I should insert here that Dr. Moody went to medical school with one of our physicians and there was some pressure from that quarter to help him out. There was also the idea of converting his entire clinic to a Surface clinic which was Dr. Moodys positon from the start.

I ended up having a number of meetings with Dr. Moody. The situation was bleek but after a few weeks of dinners and a number of long conversations I agreed to convert his clinic to a Surface locaton after he disentangled himself from American Laser Clinics.

Of course there were a few problems. First, Dr. Moody claimed that he was afraid that ALC would not only retaliate by suing him, but that he might be in physical danger from them. He constantly spoke of ALC being run by 'mobsters'. At first I thought this was kind of funny.

Dr. Moody sent a letter to ALC that basically said that he would not sign a lease at that location and that they had 30 days to find another location. I saw and read the letter before it was sent and there were some other notes in there about late payment and such but that was the gist of it. (There was a letter of intent at the time but no lease so Dr. Moody was fine there.)

ALC did not go quietly into the night. 

Rick Frisk, who I think is a vice-president, was one of the founders of American Laser Clinics and had know Dr. Moody for a long time, called. Dr. Moody described the call to me as a lot of yelling and threats. Now I'm aware that people often exaggerate to make a point. But in this case I was there during a number of the calls and could hear the speaker on the other end. (Dr. Moody also recorded at least one of these calls and possibly more with a little recording device he'd bought at Radio Shack.)  I could hear some of what was said and listened to the recorded converstaton that Dr. Moody provided to me. I've never heard or seen anything quite as nasty. Rick's boss, the President of American Laser Clinics (I forget his name as I write this) threatened to spend his last cent to 'break' Dr. Moody among a long list of profanity. There were any number of these calls. The one's I was privy to were at least ten minutes long.

What had really upset Rick and the ALC gang was that Dr. Moody had spent long hours at night copying all of their patient records. Now as the medical director he actually had a right to access these records but ALC was not happy with having their entire database of clients copied by someone who was kicking them out and obviously had designs on their business. Dr. Moody now had copies of every patient contact sheet that ALC had at the clinic. I can't remember exactly how many there were but it was an entire wall full and had taken at least 30 hours of work at night to copy.  

Then the shit really hit the fan.

American Laser Clinics hired an armed guard to protect themselves, their records, and their patients, from Dr. Moody.

The picture at the top of this post is of that guard standing in the front of Dr. Moodys clinic. I took the photo. It's difficult to see but the guard actually had a gun on his hip. It was crazy. The guard had been informed that Dr. Moody was a threat to the patients and staff and he took his posting seriously. Any time that Dr. Moody would walk towards his office (where I was standing and where the picture was taken from) the guard would run down the hall and confront him to prevent him from whatever.

All the while American Laser Clinics is treating patients. That woman in the photo is a patient filling out paperwork.

Let me reiterate:

  • American Laser Clinics is performing medical treatments on patients while an armed guard prevents the physician responsible for their care from seeing them.
I thought I'd seen it all but I guess not. The ALC staff members had been instructed to have no contact with any of other clinic staff and they were telling patients that the guy with the gun was just waiting for someone to get of work or some such nonsense. I would certainly love to have been privy to what the patients were thinking. There were a lot of angry looks from the ALC girls.

By the second day even I'd had enough. 

I called a few contacts I have at the local news and had a camera crew sent out. At the same time Dr. Moody called Utah's Department of Licensure and complained to them about these 'illegal' treatments going on inside his clinic while the guards were there. (They hadn't heard of this before either.)

It was priceless watching the film crew show up. Dr. Moody, who used to be an Elvis impersonator, escorted the camera right up front and started interviewing the guard and the ALC staff. I guess he felt safe enought that the guard wouldn't shoot him in front of the TV camera. The guard went all shades of red. It was somewhat funny but I felt really bad for the entire ALC crew. They were scrambling for cell phones like they were drowning and their cell phones were reserve air tanks. The poor security guard was obviously asking his boss for directions. He didn't know if he should plug'em all or run.

Dr. Moody spent 20 minutes interviewing the ALC staff asking them who their medical director, who's clinic it is, and why there's a guy with a gun there. 

Then the inspector from DOPL showed up. (I have photos of this entire phase.)

The inspector was really a take charge kind of guy. The TV cameras didn't even phase him.

Then two police cars and the security guards company owner show up.

Let me set the stage again: We have an Elvis impersonator with a TV crew, the State, the Cops, Dr. Moodys staff, and the ALC staff.... and patients coming in for laser hair removal. 

 I have to say that the State inspector and the cops were really good. The first thing that the cops did was run the security guards off the property as soon as they determined who owned it. They left in a hurry. ALC was not as fortunate.

The State shut them down on the spot.

They reopened the next day and treated a number of patient without any medical supervison (Dr. Moody took photos of all of this) but the State was on to them and they closed for a few more days while they scrambled. They ended up hiring a PA to literally sit in the waiting area all day. They met the deadline and moved back to their previous location.

But the saga is not yet over.

The patient who was burned sued ALC and Dr. Moody making them co-defendants.

ALC sued Dr. Moody for breech of contract claiming that they had a lease (which they did not).

During these procedures Dr. Moody was ordered to turn over all the American Laser Centers patient records that he had copied. He turned over a few few hundred but the vast majority were never turned over. I don't know specifically what the order stated but every single ALC record was copied and then entered into the front desk computer database with emails and contact info.

So, that's how it happened. Any thoughts? 

Reader Comments (304)

I just find myself shaking my head reading this post. What the hell are they thinking.
I recently read that American Laser presently has 100 centers operating. That is a frightening prospect! It has always been my opinion that ALC had an easy time getting off to a fast start because of their incredibly easy entry fee. They look for docs who are licensed and who have an underutilized treatment room (who doesn't?). Each time they find a doctor willing to put his/her neck on the line (and accept all liability in case of any problems) the corporate office (a Michigan company) sets up an LLC in the foreign state (let's say Minnesota) and makes the Minnesota doctor a member of the new Minnnesota LLC (maybe 40%?). The next day, a sign goes up, a laser is delivered and - BOOM- they are operating. I have heard similar stories of one hour training for nurses and estheticians. I have also heard that- month after month-- after expenses (including no doubt hefty corporate fees and advertising fees, etc.) are tallied the LLC somehow usually makes no profit. They practice the model perfected by the Hollywood movie studios! I would guess that many, many docs have undertaken these huge risks and headaches for very little- if any- profit. And those who thought they would help build their practices with all the traffic can probably ask our friend in Utah how well that worked! Just another medspa nightmare to haunt us all!!!
Wow. This article really struck a chord of familiarity.

I worked at an American Laser Clinic as a technician for two years and found it to be the most frustrating and unethical situation I've ever been in.

We (the staff) were constantly pressured to 'up the sales' and act in what I would consider to be completely unethical ways. American Laser Clinics is not a place to work or receive treatment.
Having also dealt with American Laser Clinics, I'm with the tech. American Laser is the most oppressive, nasty group of business individuals it's ever been my displeasure to deal with. Every time I see those infomercials I feel my bile rise.

This story doesn't surprise me at all. Guys with guns and illegally performed medical treatments seem right in line. I'd be interested to hear from physicians (even those who are part of the company) who have had good relations with American Laser.

There's another post on this site somewhere that asks a similar question and adds that 'the silence is deafening'. I couldn't agree more. Where are all the happy docs. They must be golfing while the rest of us are actually treating patients.
03.18 | Unregistered CommenterBurned MD
ALC has one of the worst reputations around. I'm surprised that they're still in business, not that they're threatening docs.
03.21 | Unregistered CommenterMD jolley
American Laser Centers have a terrible reputation. I can't beleive anyone would take their clothes off and let them put a laser on there skin. These places are just pathetic
03.22 | Unregistered CommenterALC Joke
I love ALC. They were great!!!!!
03.23 | Unregistered CommenterB. Smith
Wow! Thank you for posting this story. It is disgusting what these people are doing. They have a few physicians at the corporate level who show up on shows almost daily gaining patient trust. Clearly though, it is a front for a disgusting practice. I feel bad for the physicians they prey on who are just trying to make extra money to cover their overhead, pay back student loans, etc. as well as the patients they scam. My question is WHY DON'T THESE PEOPLE GET STOPPED BY THE LAW? Look at the following from searched "american laser"
03.24 | Unregistered CommenterL.A. D.O.
I bet the CEO of this company is making millions of dollars a year.. something like $100 million in sales per year??
I worked for American Laser for one year and it was the most horrible experience of my life! The manager was young and inexperienced. She used to take each of the Technicians one by one into a room and scream to "Upsell" or we would loose our jobs. When we would work hard to do so only to be rewarded with a $50 bonus check, while she collected a $6000 bonus check! They are taught to take your money! When you have been told that you have won free treatments, so has everyone else. Once they collect your info, online or in a drawing, you have won! There is no sympathy. Many people that come in for treatments need compassion, American Laser does not have time for it, they only want your money! They do not hire people that are Estheticians all of the time either. In their employment ads they are looking for "Sales People", not licensed professionals. One of our Techs burnt someone at least once a week and was never talked to about it because she had the most "Upsells" each month, and no, she never went to school to be an Estetician! Stay away from this place, bottom line! I feel like I betrayed a lot of the people I worked with because I had to or I would loose my job. I still feel bad about it! My Manager would nag and nag peple until they gave in! Do not give them your money, go see a doctor. This is a growing industry and there are people to trust, and people who care, you just have to research it! There are no words to describe my experience although, frustrating and unethical is a good start!
Well here is an interesting piece of trivia.

My own horrible experience with ALC here in Utah is when the technicians put WINDEX on my legs for the hair removal treatment. That's right, I said Windex! Also, the technician who did my treatment was talking to her boyfriend on her cell phone while doing my treatment and throwing out the f-bomb every other word. She was dressed really slutty and her boobs practically fell out of her shirt every time she bent over. Not a very professional work environment. It would be okay if it were say, a tattoo place or Hooters, but a MedSpa???

Then there was another technician who was at the front desk who would trash talk all of the patients WHILE they were there and within ear shot. The whole ALC franchise is a crock.

I have never been back since.
the ceo makes tons of money and he is money hungry...he lowered the bonus of the managers for what ever reason and the people who are the backbone are the techs and they get paid 14-18 an hour working 12hr days with no lunch break sometimes. the entry from 4/3/07 is totally what i went through as well and if that is something that is going on at other locations then get out get out now if you work is hell on earth...if you're an esthetician you deserve much more respect than working there. you see the same clients over and over and over and do double passes over and over which means that full legs that norm take 2hrs to do now have to be a four hour treatment because theyre not seeing the best results yet. can u imagine 4hours of monotonous beeping and running out of conversation then finally finishing only to see that your next client is a full back and chest (another 2hr appointment) NEVER again will this happen. i respect myself tomuch for thsi and they keep bringing people in with out thinkng about the lack of time slots available because each clinic has a mandatory quota the managers must reach or they get chewed out royally by their regional manager even if they hit it last month...its the forth circle of hell
I've looked into the American Laser Clinic and I can't believe they're getting all this PR on TV shows and all over the place (I've seen these and they're on their website as well). To see how they treat their customers though, one should go to and type in american laser - it's sad but somehow they're surviving
04.12 | Unregistered Commenterinterested
I also worked for American Laser for a very brief time(3mos.). I had another part-time job at a reputable privately owned clinic in Boston and I took the job at ALC for some extra money. BIG MISTAKE!! Although I do not have any horror stories to report, I have to say that ALC is the most unethical place I have ever worked. At the time, I had about 3 yrs of laser experience and they threw me in the room with less than one day of training on their laser and needless to say,I was very nervous. They claim their laser works on light hair, which it dosen't. The Manager/Sales Person is doing consultations and has never had any schooling, telling people laser will work for them and it won't. The constant badgering to "upsell". I could go on and on. I felt like I worked for a used car dealership. Don't believe the advertising, there are ethical clinics out there with qualified, experienced technicians.
I am currently going through a nightmare with ALC that seems to have no end. Beware that Care Credit (ie GE Money Bank) is totally in bed with ALC to rope unsuspecting people in to "packages" and contracts and they couldn't care less if you are injured from a treatment. Their "dispute" process is an absolute joke. I was tricked in to a package deal and when I tried to get out of it 3 days later, without having even one treatment-they told me too bad, so sad I was in it for 2400 bucks and there was no way out. The girl who signed me up had the nerve to tell me it didn't matter if I defaulted with Care Credit-I could still get my treatments. They got their money and that's all they care about. They don't see you as a patient or even a customer, they see you as a dollar sign ONLY. They blackmailed me in to coming in for one treatment and during that treatment the tech put STICKERS on my eyes, not goggles, and I suffered a three day long migraine that interfered with taking care of my children and going to work. I was sensitive to light, woozy and exhausted for 3 days following. I believe the strobe from the laser caused this. They refused to refund my money! I went to the doctor, got a statement from him and then and only then did they refund the package minus that one treatment. They are stubbornly refusing to refund for that one treatment and now I have to continue to fight, 6 months later, so this doesn't affect my credit. They have hung up on me when I have called customer service, their regional manager called me and was DRUNK one night, and it seems as though every person who works in this company is rude, disrespectful and obnoxious. Like I said, this has been a nightmare for me. If you are considering laser hair removal, RUN as far as you can from this place and their shady, dishonest, disreputable and horrendous business practices!
(EDITORS NOTE: This comment was posted by someone using different aliases to post positive comments about American Laser Clinics. Please read the following post about these comments:
This comment has been left up but with this note.)

First of all, I have used ALC and have recommended them to many, MANY, friends of mine. I had my lower legs done and never had any problems. I feel like those people who have had bad experiences exaggerate how 'horrible' the experience was. Yeah, there are going to be a few bumps here and there, but when they treat so many people and only the mistreated speak out, then everyone gets the impression that is how every client is treated. That's just not fair.

Now, in regards to the above story:
1)the DOCTOR was STEALING RECORDS! Didn't anyone else think that was unethical?!?!
2) The CEO is Rich Morgan, not Rick Frisk.
3) I feel that ALC had the right to protect their clinic, with armed guards if that was what needed to be done. They didn't need a lease agreement signed if the doctor only owned 40% (like they mentioned the doctors did) Dr. Moody wasn't the majority owner, ALC was and therefore he didn't have the right to be there if he was doing illegal transfer of records.
4) As for the patients that were still being treated, it was their choice to still be treated. Personally, as soon as a police officer showed up at my clinic I would have rescheduled or canceled completely.

(EDITORS NOTE: This comment was posted by someone using different aliases to post positive comments about American Laser Clinics. Please read the following post about these comments:
This comment has been left up but with this note.)
Sounds a little like Happy Customer works for ALC. That is an awful lot of inside information for just a happy customer.

I am also always concerned about the other posts as it could just be a competitor trying to give someone else a bad name.
05.24 | Unregistered CommenterLH
Well let me start by saying that ALC is a SAD joke. Hopefully everyone belives in KARMA. They will get what they got comming. I'm waiting for the day that they will get their headlines...unfortuneatly not the ones they want. The headlines will read: ALC is bankrupt because of scams and RICH MORGAN is behind bars. There has never...I repeat NEVER been a single patient who has had their hair gone in 6 treatments at ALC. Not even 25% of their hair gone...don't let them lie to you. There is never NEVER been a doctor on hand at the ALC clinics of the ones I know of. If you are a poor responder you will have to wait for God knows how long to get a reponse back from the medical staff (where the poor responder reports go). Don't give up on getting your money back....Fight for it....TRUST ME! Threaten them with going to court or the news....They will give you free tx's even after your 2 year guarantee ends if they have to....TRUST ME! If you are a skin type IV or V or VI which is when you have some color to your skin then chances are your hair might LOOK like it's going away but it WILL come back. Dr. Kathleen Gilmore was explaining this at a seminar until Rich Morgan shut her up. If you get burned make sure you report it not only to the clinic, but also to the news. ALC is a scam...all they want is your money! For those of you out there that are using Care Credit...according to a new policy with Care Credit....If you receive even 1 credit will not give you a refund. That is why when you sign up and get services through Care Credit ALC will try to squeeze you in an appointment right away so that you don't have a chance to back out. You might still get a refund through ALC but that is after 6 treatments and a 2 year guarantee (which equals to approx 3 years) and then you still will have to fight for it. FOTO FACIALS AND CELLULITE REDUCTION TREATMENTS DO NOT WORK! I HAVE BEEN AROUND LONG ENOUGH. NOT A SINGLE HAPPY CUSTOMER WITH RESULTS:( When you are going in for a consultation..they will tell you how they are having this fabulous sale and that you are getting the best deal right now. BULLSHIT! The prices are sooo high because they want to take as much money off a patient as possible...then when you tell them the price is too high they will tell you how they are going to give you a "Coupon" or "Gift Certificate" to give you a better deal. Bottom line they are able to take up to 70% off the price and throw in complimentry treatments of other services like micro-dermabrations. REMEMBER: THEY GET A BONUS CHECK EVERY MONTH AND GETTING ALL YOUR MONEY GIVES THEM A BIGGER BONUS. Every clinic has to reach a goal every month. They will give you the best deal at the end of the month because they have to meet that goal. The clinics have very young girls as young as 19 working. Unfortunately when it comes time for you getting treatment and you are about to get your get upper lip zapped.....did they really sterilize the lazer after it was just on a guys genitals? THAT'S ALL FOLKS I'M OUT!
05.24 | Unregistered CommenterSHADYALC
OH YEAH AND ONE MORE THING..Technicians are constantly get threats and are harassed by their regional manager...anyone have any ideas what to do about this? AMERICAN LASER CENTERS technicians are overworked,underpaid and DON'T GET LUNCHES LIKE THEY SHOULD just like previously said on 04/12
05.24 | Unregistered CommenterSHADYALC
I was told today that it will take 12 treatments to make my light hair gone. I almost bought a package including cellulite treatment, glad I came across this post.

Please be more specific about WHAT CLINIC when you say treatments don't work, such as the FotoFacial. We Dermacare) are getting great results and the patients are uniformly pleased. It is possible the equipment ALC is using is inadequate, but potential clients looking here would have no way of knowing that from your post and would just assume it's all voodoo.

I respect your concerns, but please realize many clinics offer the same procedures, most with great success.

Thank you.
05.26 | Unregistered CommenterDermaDoc
I had 2 weeks in at American Laser when I handed in my resignation. The laser training is inadequate, I wasn't even trained on the right machine. It is too fast paced, not enough time to adequately do the procedure as outlined in their protocals. I did not feel safe, and I was concerned I would hurt someone because I was rushed. I am hoping I can find a medical spa that is truly run by a physician and adequately trains the staff. dermanurse
05.28 | Unregistered Commenterdermanurse
Where are you located dermanurse? I'm sure alot of physicians are looking for people like you. I've heard the same things from people leaving ALC's and moving into physician offices.
05.28 | Unregistered CommenterMichMD
I am a previous employee and whoever was the one that said they were correct in having "armed guards" is nuts! They probably had armed guards making sure the manager SOLD the consult and didn't let them leave until they did...EVERYTHING is true about all the negativity..I have my BS in sales and had a roughly aged regional manager who had previous "surgical tech" experience (Basically medical assisting) but she was telling me how to sell.. (keep in mind I had doubled my clinic sales) They know nothing about customer service. I used to go home and night and laugh with my family after showing them all of these emails I used to get from my regional...(Then I had a few people listen to a conference call I had)..They thought she was nuts...She was basically an old lady on a powertrip who has never had a manager job...And needed some work for herself...But of course, she was getting beat down as well if she didn't beat us down...) She would come in and talk about Rich and his personal life..If she was my employee, she would be fired... All of the meetings we went to were a complete joke. It was basically to see how high the owner's ego had risen from the last time I had seen him...The regional managers call the offices at 659pm just to make sure you are still trying to make sales. (even thought you just made a ton of money for them the previous month) If you didn't go into the meetings with a smile on your face the entire time, you would be fired when you got back to the office..if you are a customer wanting hair removal, beware...check out all of the ther lawsuits on here..
In response to MichMD, I am located in Washington state. I think I have learned my lesson to stay away from any franchise med spa or laser clinic. The trouble is that on the West Coast these impersonal, get-them-in-and-out-fast franchises are all over the place. Our state has a new mandate that all operators of lasers must be at a minimum a licensed esthetician. Having just finished my esthetician training and becoming dual licensed (RN and esthetician), I had high hopes that ALC would utilize my new skills and knowledge. Sadly nothing in my training prepared me to operate a laser, and what I did learn made me very aware of how unsafe I could be.But even worse, most of the Estheticians are unaware or perhaps not concerned about the danger associated with a laser.I believe most new hires are pushed onto clients before they are adequately trained. If all the places here are like that, then I will have to move to another area. So if you know of any MD in the aesthetic field looking for a nurse, I may be interested.
05.29 | Unregistered Commenterdermanurse
Too bad you aren't out my way dermanurse, I'd hire you in a second by the sound of your qualifications.
05.29 | Unregistered CommenterMichMD

I went to the Pittsburgh branch in November 2006, for a "free" consultation. Dawn Stellabotte, the clinic manager, manipulated and tricked me into signing paperwork. She said I was signing privacy and medical paperwork regarding the free consultation. She also offered me a free credit check to see if I could afford any of the procedures. I was curious to see if my credit would allow it so I said OK. Instead, she opened up an $8300 line of credit in my name. I never received any treatments, and ALC refuses to refund the money because of their "No Refund" policy. I am already up to $110,000 in debt from student loans (I'm a recent graduate), and I can't afford this $8300 charge. Especially since I never knew I was signing up for it. They have also already sent the debt to a collection agency. So now I am fighting two battles. This whole experience has been so humiliating and I lie awake at night wondering how I will ever escape this fraudulent debt. I can't afford legal fees, so I am going to try other options. I will be contacting a number of consumer advocacy agencies as well as the media so I can get some attention to this. But I need help for other people. I know there are more people like us out there, but they are embarrassed and ashamed to come forward. If I put my self out there, I know they will also come forward. This company operates on manipulation of women with low self-esteem and they continually subscribe to fraudulent and deceptive practices, and should be forced to stop. Please call the ALC on my behalf and tell them what they are doing is wrong. Their main number is 1-877-252-8922. Their main corporate office number is 248-426-8250.

05.31 | Unregistered CommenterAngela


What I would recommend is you call the Attorney General for your state and connect with the consumer protection/affairs branch. Explain to them everything you have gone through. They may be able to help.

05.31 | Unregistered CommenterJarvik7


I agree with Jarvik7 but I would also recommend to call the state medical association. The state medical association will have jurisdiction over them as well.

If the medical director starts to see his/her medical license is on the line then changes will be made. If this does not work contact a lawyer.

It is companies like this that give a bad name to the industry. Those you see posting on this site are all trying to do what is best for the clients. For us, it is not just making a buck it is about making our clients happy.

05.31 | Unregistered CommenterLH

I am currently in the middle of a simlar and disturing money issue with Pure Med Spa at Horton Plaza in San Diego, CA. I had a Restylene procedure done which was to reduce the bags under my eyes, and although one eye did very well the other looked like I'd just gone 12 rounds with a professional boxer. Huge, swollen and red--and I had gone to get my appearance approved!

The technician who did the work said that was "normal" and the procedure had been 'successful.' She told me some people were so unattractive after the procedure that they refused to take their sunglasses off! When I told her I was far from happy with the result, she told me I was insulting her "medical integrity" (she is neither a nurse nor an M.D.).

I went back later to see what Pure Health Spa would do to make things right, and the manager told me she would comp my next round of procedures, as I was having Botox, Restylene, Mesotherapy, IPL and microdermabrasion. I believe I have paid about $9,000 to date, although neither Pure Med Spa location seems to know what I've paid for, have had done, or still having coming to me. This confusion is exacerbated by their "no refunds" policy.

So I just went in for a Mesotherapy appointment this morning, and to my horror the technologist who'd 'maimed' me (although it's now healed, as they said it would, and they said it often took up to 3 months for the black eye(s) they give you to heal) took me in the back and told me she would no longer treat me because I'd insulted her "medical integrity" whatever that is. I was pretty happy about this turn of events, until she told me she talked to the "Medical Director" of Pure Med Spa and he'd decided I could no longer be treated at ANY Pure Med Spa clinic (some of the treatments had gone well and I would have continued them, and to pay for them), and that Pure Med Spa has a "no money back" policy.

The strangest thing, really, is that I'm one of their highest paying customers and was generally happy, until I ran into this technician. I didn't understand how they could let such a good customer go out the door, but if they don't refund my money nor perform the services for which I paid, I think there's a business model I want in on!

At any rate I also experienced what others have said about Pure Med Spa, with the people supposedly doing my treatments not showing up and my appointments not being cancelled (4 times in a row), once they get a good technician that person is gone in no time, and just general confusion. I am sure they do not know what I have paid for.

Sorry to rant, but it's just unbelievable to me that a "business" can operate like Pure Med Spa, and grow to be #1 at that. I recommend avoiding them like the plague, and going to qualified professionals. And if you decide to go to have the bags removed from your eyes, make sure you buy an extra pair of sunglasses!

I suggest calling the Medical Board of California to make a complaint. The person who injected your filler should have been an RN, PA or an MD. They need to be aware that this is going on since they may be breaking the law. Find a good doctor and avoid the malls:)
Good Luck

05.31 | Unregistered CommenterLA MD

Well, at least it's kinda nice to not hear a horror story about Dermacare for a change.

I have heard many people around my area having Restylane under they eyes and I try to talk them out of it. I feel it is too temporary, dangerous, and once it wears off, you have the skin stretched out even more. Titan, Laser Genesis (1064nm resurfacing) and vascular treatments if any spider veins are darkening the areas around the eyes get pretty satisfying results for us.

And yes, I am exquisitely careful about treating around the eyes with a laser modality.

Good luck on your efforts to get your money back Angela and Evan. There is still too much of a 'huckster' mentality at some medspa's for those of us with business ethics.

05.31 | Unregistered CommenterDermaDoc

The writing of this story is so clearly in favor of Dr. Moody that it indicates a personal relationship between the the author of this article and the doctor. There is no evidence to substantiate that any of the treatments provided by American Laser were done negligently, nor is that central to the story. Likewise, one could argue in the same manner as the author that there isnt any evidence to support that Moody isnt just a money grubbing thief. Clearly the issue here is what motivated ALC to hire an armed guard to prevent Dr. Moody from having access to ALC files. Here Dr. Moody was copying files so that when he opened up a competing business with his new medspa partner, Surface, he could steal ALC clients. Dr. Moody wanted to run a successful and competing medspa but he didnt want to spend the money to aquire a patient base, nor did he want to do the work necessary in order to make it successful. From this story one can gather that he was content to steal files from his very own subtenant. Moody even went so far as to sureptitiously copy files at night. This unethical behavior, glossed over and observed without judgment by the author of the article, is theft. I am sure that Moody did not spend one marketing dollar to aquire any of the ALC clients. As such, it is theft of propriety material which resulted in ALC taking appropriate security measures to protect their property. Theft of this nature would antagonize any business owner even the nefarious owner of American Laser Centers. As such, posting an armed guard to protect your business from your overtenant who is stealing from you in the night is practical. I will concede that visually it is outrageous, but what other alterntive did ALC have? The rest of this piece is just a reckless hatchet bad mouth job of American Laser Centers, and has little to do or nothing with the central issue in the headline. I do not work for or with ALC nor have I ever. I am a business owner, and if I were ALC i would sue Dr. Moody for theft of propriety material; and I would sue the author of this article for slander. Furthermore, I would like to take Moody's motivations to task. I have a sneaking suspicion that what motivated Dr. Moody was also money. I doubt that he would take such drastic measures, exposing himself to legal action, jeapordizing the safety and harmony of his office on behalf of ALC clients. Which sounds more plausible? Dr. Moody, so offended by ALC practices towards ALC clients in his office took up their just cause; or unless he really is Ralph Nader, Dr. Moody seeing how successful American Laser was in his very own office wanted a bigger cut. American Laser was probably making more money in Moody's very own office in a shorter span than Moody was. Moody, feeling envious I am sure, then probaly looked for ways to invite another medspa into his office, one that was offering him a much better deal. To me Moody represents so many other jealous business owners who screw their partner or subtenant when they get greedy. It probably just killed him to see someone in his office more successful than he. Further, why should Surface be the beneficiary of ALC's efforts to build a business? As a business owner I am appalled by the kind of theft demonstrated by Moody.As a reader I am appalled at the sanctimony, the disengenuinous, and the casualness with which the author levels harsh biased accusations that are clearly meant to take sides and damage a business.
And I am also appalled with Surface. Go find your own medical spa. Go build your own business. Why, in order to be successful, do you have to move in on someone elses premises and client base? As such, if I were American Laser I would sue Surface for third party breach.

Quick question:

Under who's medical license were those treatments being performed by ALC? Ergo, who's patients were those, technically speaking?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

06.2 | Unregistered CommenterJarvik7

Another Laser Guy and minor update,
This case did in fact go to court prior or outside of any involvement with Surface. ALC was ordered to give access to these very files to the supervising physician.

Another Laser Guy misses the point. This is certainly about money. It's also about safety, responsibility, medical oversight and ethics.

During the time that ALC had the guard there, they were still performing treatments and telling patients that Dr. Moody was the physician in charge. Dr. Moody was the 'supervising physician' whose medical license was supposedly being used to provide medical oversight.

As to the charts, there's certainly room for some dispute there. It's my understanding that Dr. Moody was denied access to the charts in general long previous to this which, along with the burns, unhappy patients, ALC's failure to pay rent, and strife between the two staffs, started this chain of events.The fact that the courts ordered ALC to turn over the charts 'information' would tend to support that the physician was within his rights to access his patients charts in the first place. (I'll note that ALC dropped all complaints about this as far as I know once the state got involved.) It was legal.Whether this was ethical I'll leave to the reader to decide.

In my opinion, ALC has a business model that leads exactly to this type of problem.

ALC puts the physician at direct risk while using them to operate the business. Physicians tend not to like this kind of arrangement.

The patient who sued Dr. Moody was treated by an ALC technician without Dr. Moody having ever seen the patient. It tends to make docs unhappy when they're sued by patients they were never involved in treating but are responsible for. I'm no defender of doctors who put themselves in this position and Dr. Moody's hunger for a quick buck did just that. At the time this occurred, Dr. Moody was already running a competing cosmetic practice. A recipe for problems.

I've also had my differences with Dr. Moody so I'm not trying to defend or hold up anyone in this situation. It's just what happened.

ALC really had no standing to sue anyone and the court proceedings bore that out. The 'third party breach' mentioned is probably a reference to tortious interference where a third party intentionally damages existing business relationships:
This did not happen.

Also, Surface never contacted any of these patients in any manner as far as I know. Dr. Moodly runs his own place so I have no way of knowing if he did but I'm unaware of it.

i was about to take a job with this clinic when they were going to at the last minute - make me work a 14 hour shift which included a "fair"( after work hours mandatory to"market" their crap) and then turn around after that night and send me to training the next morning and make me work 10+ hour shifts when i got back I do not know for how many weeks( OYE!)... this for 35 K a year ... at 60 hours a week PLUS! :O that computes to like less than 12 dollars an hour... AMERICAN LASER CENTER IS THE WALMART OF THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY/////// SHAME SHAME SHAME SILLY CORPORATIONS :P

06.7 | Unregistered Commenter CR

I worked for ALC for a very brief period of time in California, I don't know if the managers know this but they are entitled to overtime even though they are salary. This is because they are spending most of their time selling and not doing administrative work. Every negative thing that was written above is true, they pushed us to sell, we got emails every hour pushing us to sell. I do believe the company is ran by mobsters, very shady. I happened to talk to a lawyer and just in conversation told him about the working conditions, he is wanting me to start a class action lawsuit from their labor practices in CA. I am seriously considering it due to all the stress I was put through and all the hours I worked. At least 60 a week, and then sometimes outbound marketing events. I was making appointments for people to receive treatments with no nurse to perform them. Also in the month of May the company made $114 million dollars...
Also if you have not received any treatments you CAN get a refund, especially if you paid through care credit. Don't let them talk you into a free microdermabrasion, it is considered a treatment then you will never get a refund. I could go on and on about the Bullshit this company feeds its employee's. They take them out to dinner and pay for $200 bottles of wine and champagne to schmooze them. What a joke..
Show videos of employees in front of brand new big homes and luxury cars that they have been able to buy because of ALC. the owner used to manage grocery stores, enough said..

In defense of the safety of the lasers, it seems you really have to be an idiot to burn someone. I did not receive in depth training because I wouldn't be performing the procedures, but they are really easy to used and made to the company's specifications. The safety issue I wouldn't worry about or the performance, it's just the selling tatics and the way they treat their employee's. Just be informed on the prices in your area before going, try to negotiate with them. They are desperate to make sale or their head will be on the chopping block..

I am a former employee of American Laser Centers. Yes it is a shady shady company. Is it run by mobsters? well maybe... A previous post from another former employee states that in the month of May they saw $114M in revenue, however that was
also the first month that they claimed they had a PROFIT. I always assumed that they run everyone into the ground because they have to pay back their "creditors"

Tony Zanlungo, ALC's Chief Operating Officer,previous employment was as a bouncer in a strip club, so yeah having worked there,I think that they are "connected"

My posting really is to all of the unfortunate clients that feel so ripped off. Go to Small Claims Court and file, it will get the attention of their Legal team and you will get a refund.You may have to go to court to do it and they will send out the manager that sold you the program to battle against you but basically if you have not recieved services no court will allow them to keep your money.

In the time I worked there, my family and friends were so concerned they actually did an intervention begging me to quit. they took me out to dinner and told me I looked like hell, that I was constantly sick, that I was working 14-16 hrs per day 6 days a week. ALC is just basically a disreputable compnay to work for, that slashes and burns through their employees.

Their business model works from a business standpoint because they make a ton of money, it almost felt like Monopoly money at the end of the month. From a medical standpoint they keep their settings super low to avoid any liability. This allows them to truthfully claim that they have the lowest incident rate in the country. Where I worked, I think we had maybe 3 incidents in the last year. Considering that we were doing 40-50 treatments per day I think that is an accomplishment.But guess what? The clients would have to come in for YEARS to see results.Who's going to buy additional services-upselling- if no one sees results?

I finally couldn't handle the constant client complaints and resigned my position. No one on the medical staff helps you and certainly no one in management does, they're too busy getting in the money so they don't get Soprano'd.

I had some happy clients, the cellulite treatments were very successful, but all and all if you are a consumer looking for a customized, ethical,LEGAL,treatments that work, I would advise you to go elsewhere

Before you chalk my posting up to another disgruntled employee posting, consider that I am afriad that my current employer will find out how sleazy they are and will associate me with thier b.s. and I will somehow lose my current job.

I brought in a lot of money into ALC, and I was very well rewarded for it but now I really wish I had never heard of them.

Yes I heard that Tony was a bouncer also, and what about Rich's two personal assistants who drive everybody around in the Cadillac Escalades, we asked them what their job was and they said they were his personal assistants, they traveled with him in his private jet...Pick you up at the airport and show you the inspirational video's while they are driving you to the hotel. I had a bad feeling from the beginning about the company, when the regional that hired me was no longer around when I got to training.

The manager meetings are like some huge revival evangelistic come-to-Jesus cult like meetings. I also had baaadd feelings but you get sucked in by the huge bonus checks. Like I said I was very well rewarded, but what about looking at yourself in the mirror every morning?
I have been in many sales jobs before where I was PROUD of what I did. When I was at ALC and had clients complaints and there were at least 5 per day, it was never about ME,the client's expected me to be their advocate because I sold them their package.
So I would direct them up the chain of command only to get more complaints about my bosses, my bosses bosses boss.
Having to deal with a drunk regional manager? Are you kidding me? Being hung up on by senior managers is just not acceptable!
I resorted to doing my own back door arrangements to get these poor victims their money back.
They are operating their business as though they are trying to grab as much money as possible before they get out fast and shut down or sell all operations. Everything is done for short term $$$ not long term success.

What state were you in, if you are not afraid to tell. Yes the manager meetings do seem like that a revival. I have a feeling they will try to sell them, or are just trying to make as much money as they can asap. I sold packages that were comparable to the prices in the area, but they had to be paid for all at once. And the doctors who supposedly own the clinic, where do they fit in.

MichMD- DermNurse,

I am really glad that I read your post. I have a second interview for a Clinic Manager position at ALC and was doing research on the company to find out what kind of employer they would be. I am shocked by the lack of professionalism and ethics that this company has shown to both employees and more importantly patients. Needless to say I am inclined to cancel the interview based on this and additional information that I have found. So,
If anyone out in the Western Ky, Southern IN or TN area is looking for an Medical Aesthetician/Certified Laser Tech let me know I'll send you my resume. Sadly, I am finding that alot of franchises are all about the $$$. Business is important and this field is very lucrative but all the high pressure sales tatics and herding of patients is not needed to be successful. My experience has shown me that if you are upfront and honest about the expectations and results of the product/treatment the client will still praise you for trying your best and sharing in his or her difficulties even if the service did not work well in their particular case. And alot of times I have even had patients continue on treatments after me advising them that in my opinion they would not get much more benefit- commenting Thank you for your honesty but I just have to try. Alot of people think that LHR or LSR is only cosmetic, when a woman who comes to you with tears in her eyes desperate because she has had a beard for the past ten years and is embarrassed to allow her little girl touch her face... how can anyone take advantage of that? All you can do is explain the FDA clearance and your success stories, but also share your 20% stories because these people have struggled enough and she like any man or woman works hard for their money and they deserve to be an informed buyer. I have never had a patient upset with me because I misled them and never will. It is called integrity. I'm really glad that I didn;t get further into this situation.

06.11 | Unregistered CommenterCPE/CLT

Better off now... could you contact me @ my e-mail? Thanks!

06.11 | Unregistered CommenterCPE/CLT

Don't take the job, the money is enticing, but it isn't worth the the stress and headache. My interview was only 10 minutes and I was hired.

Could you contact me at my e-mail above to share more in debth? I would like to know what area you guys were in (and if you think that makes a difference?)

06.12 | Unregistered CommenterCPE/CLT

hi- I know that ALC is lurking on this board-hello "Happy Customer"! so i don't feel really comfortable talking with too many specifics about my situation.
I have contacted an employment attorney with whom I meeting next week, so for right now at least I think I'll lay low.
If you are contemplating a job with ALC, the money may be worth it. It was for me, and like i shared with you I did have a baaadd feeling about them.
When I interviewed with them I owed the IRS 36K from a failed business now paid, I owed on my student ;
loans, now paid off in full and I owed 12K on my credit cards, all paid in full. I am completely out of debt for the first time since I turned 18 and for that I will always be eternally grateful that ALC provided me with a place to make buckets and buckets of money.
As long as you know going in that it is a slash and burn, slit your wrist and suck you dry kind of a place- it is possible to earn a small fortune. Just don't take the accolades too seriously and you can't take any of the high pressure tactics personally and it is possible to thrive in their enviroment.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and Rich Morgan, Tony Kevin, even randy pepper aren't immune fRom that.
There is no one telling Rich Morgan that it is unethical to date and sleep his staff-yes I know he's married. No one tells Tony it's not ok to try and intimidate the pretty little 20 somethings that dare to talk out of turn in a manager's meeting, no Kevin it's wrong to tell managers that they can't take sick days because their committment to the company is lacking.
Somehow ALC got twisted into thinking that they are doing their employees a favor by deigning to allow them to work in their company.They treat you like they are benevolent charity giving you a handout to compenaste for the rampant employee abuse.
The reason that Rich and the rest had to increase the bonus plan back to where it was, was because no one was producing!
The private jet, the 3 houses (badly decorated might I add), the 24 cars, the personal assistants, all should have the words "THANK YOU EMPLOYEES" tattoo'd somewhere on them.
They pay lip service but c'mon- the umpteen awards that they would trot me up to the podium to accept at the manager's meetings never had my NAME on them: just the name of my clinic. And when I left I couldn't take those awards with me, the nincompoop that replaced me represents them as hers.
ALC is a great place to work if you have no life, no family, no friends and want to be trapped in a golden ghetto for a little while.
What I can't understand is: What doctor would get involved with them? All they pay the doctors is 4K per month, what a joke!
Successful clinics are bringing in 125-150K per month, managers and their staff can't even hit a bonus until they hit 65K, seems like the MD's are left twisting slowly in the wind-their license is compromised by dirty tricks with customers and they are seeing chump change for their efforts.
From taking a look at some of these postings it appears as though I was making more money per year than the doctors that are allowing them to make money off of their medical license!
Any one can be trained to operate the lasers, the safety protocols are so strict you would have to really TRY and hurt someone. The laser techs are considered expendable. There will always be hungry salespeople. The clinic managers can and are constantly replaced.
If I paid all of the money these MD's pay to go to school and then I was kicked around for 4K per month-hell I woould sneak into the office and copy medical records too!

The doctor that was supervising my clinic had four clinics, so he was never in the office his license was just posted on the wall. He was an older man, so collecting $16,000 a month is pretty good. Maybe each state has different requirements, but the doctor didn't even live near the clinic, he lived like 5 hours away. He told me he owned the clinics, I don't know how that worked. I think it depends on what state you live in to determine the legality of all the hours worked, the attorney I was talking to said for sure I was entitled to overtime pay, even though I was salary. He just won a big class action lawsuit against another company, who sells services and has offices all over the country. He is researching whether he could file a state for federal class action lawsuit. He is trying to find former ALC employee's.

Thanks for all the information. I really don't think that this is a company I would feel comfortable working for. If they don't respect the clients they aren't and apparently don't respect th employees.I have found myself in a financially difficult period in my life I too have student loans mortgages auto loans etc... and recently found myself divorced with two the financial aspect of ALC was indeed inticing but I need to be involved with other career minded people who are human and not transformed into some corporate robot. I really want to open my own center. I'll keep my fingers crossed and work on a business plan who knows maybe I'll win the lotto and have enough for start-up!lol. Thanks again and I'm really glad that I came across this site. The last thing that I needed @ this point is position that makes people miserable. I love my profession I think that place would have ruined my state of mind.

06.14 | Unregistered CommenterCPE/CLT

The one thing I miss is the challenge, I think that was what enticed me in the first place, the challenge to bonus. But that ended quickly with all the B.S. They hired a new regional in my old area about a month ago and I heard they are looking for a new one, I am curious what happened to her, if she quit or got fired.

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