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« The Psychology of the Physician Waiting Room and Queueing Theory | Main | HGH: Any docs out there prescribing Human Growth Hormone? »
Wednesday
Jan302008

American Laser Clinics: Exactly how to F$%k up your reputation. A cautionary tale.

uncoolCustomer service is the same in your medical spa as it is anywhere else.

It's amazing what passes for service in a doctors office and I see that moving into medical spas now as well. Here's a story from Name Withheld about her experience in an American Laser Clinic.

Name Withheld posted this comment about her experience with American Laser Clinics (read the entire comment here):

...Out of the litany of complaints I have about this worst-of-the-worst companies, the most colorful is the one about some poor woman of about 22, who waited until I was stark naked except for a pair of panties, then came in to offer an absurd Easter promotion to me. She carried an Easter basket into the treatment area and tried to MAKE me pull an egg out to find out what discount I was eligible for. She went on and on about how I ought to consider cellulite treatment WHILE I WAS NUDE (and in honor of a holiday about...Jesus Christ. I think this is an extra-bad sin:). Maybe her poor little brain thought that I'd...cave as she insulted my body and cough up more cash?? Who knows - it DID make me terribly uncomfortable though...

While the retelling of this is actually pretty funny, it obviously wasn't funny in the first person. Name Withheld is obviously upset and now posting about her experiences as she has every right to do. With the current situation on the Dermacare threads it should be obvious that patients now have a much louder voice than ever before. This is especially true of national chains but don't think because you're a local operation that you're immune. If you have patients who are unhappy enough to on online and post, you'll have patients who will find that negative feedback. A cautionary tale.

Reader Comments (50)

I worked at an american laser clinic for a month. it has the be the most unethical ran "medical" business. the office i worked in MI had a sales person giving out medical advise to patients about treatments...she was a used car sales person prior!! she would barge into the treatment rooms and talk to the patients! such an evasion of privacy!! I couldn't bare to treat these patients whom had been conned out of typically thousands of dollars for permanent hair removal that will never work. WHY are they still in business??

02.13 | Unregistered Commenterwitheld

I was offered a job at ALC but didn't take it b/c I had just started at a salon/ spa as an esthetician. I am very happy here and have been working for 8-9 months. The salon/ spa has allowed me to grow and learn not only about skin care but also other services offered here. I don't make quite as much as the gals at ALC so does that mean I made the wrong decision. I have three classmates that work for ALC and they are learning all these other techniques such as IPL and other "med-spa" treatments that I don't learn here. Is ALC really that unethical --- b/c I heard tons of negative stories. I hope I made the right decision by staying with the salon.

02.13 | Unregistered Commenterazesthe

To azesthe:
No you did npt make the wrong decision. They are learning only one laser-Syneron's. The laser has a seperate piece of software that was written by American Laser Centers so they could claim hat they have proprietary laers and a pateneted protocol.
Basically your friends are learning only one way: the ALC way.
The settings that they have patented on the lasers are so low that no one ever sees results.
The company did all of this to take the human element out of the treatments so that they would be free from human error and liablity lawsuits.
So they're really not learning anything but how to follow a chart hangong off of a laser. If they don't follow it they lose their jobs- not much autonomy at all.
The certificate that they receive after the ALC "training" is good for American Laser centers ONLY.
The industry as whole has a high burnout ratio- it's much much worse for ALC techs. I don't think I;ve ever met one that was there longer than 9 mos. before leaving.
Good luck to your friends but you didn't make the wrong choice stick where you are
A true

God I hate ALC

02.14 | Unregistered Commentermwrn

I could tell you numerous situations where my Clinic Manager had me try to go in the treatment room while a patient was getting lasered to try and "upsell" them or tell them about our new "promo" for the month. It was SO unprofessional. I can't tell you the numerous complaints I recieved from MY patients about the manager. I am so relieved to be out of there.

Last year I purchased the Velasmooth package at American Laser Center. After 2 treatments they convinced me to purchase another 15 session for 1/2 the price I paid for the first 15 sessions because they were offering a 50% discount. It was very high pressure and I fell for it. I did feel like the Velasmooth was helping. After a few months I was again pressured, it was every time I came in for a velasmooth treatment, that they convinced me to buy a package for skintightening, micros, and photo facials. I have had 2 micros. But I am very nervous about having them do the other services. I just don't feel they are experienced and trained. I had tried to get a refund but was told everything was non-refundable. I have had some medical problems and have not kept up the velasmooth etc since last September. After looking on ALC web site I noticed they do not have velasmooth now but amerismooth for cellulite? I cannot seem to find any information about this machine except I was told it is the same they just put their name on it. I am not convinced about this, and I was wondering if anyone thinks I could get a refund for all unfinished velasmooth treatments because of this? Now today I called to set up the appointment for tomorrow and they were so excited to tell me they have a new and improved machine it only requires you come in 4 times and you see immediate results! They want to sit down with me to go over the packages. I explained that I have atleast 20 sessions left on my package from last year. She told me I can put those towards this one. Does anyone have any advise for me. I am NOT GOING TO GIVE THEM ANY MORE MONEY but I do not know what my rights are, if what I paid for is not offered anymore. I told her I do not want to do the skin tightening and she said I could put the balance toward all micros if I want. I did feel like they did a good job on the ones I have had. You know I told them I wanted to do research about what laser product I wanted to use for skin tightening etc, and they are showing me all these pictures and high pressure to get me then to buy the package, and I was stupid enough to do it. Also my husband knows nothing about all the money I have given them. Any help before I go tomorrow would be welcome.....Thanks so much.....

03.18 | Unregistered Commentersunnybunch

The AmeriSmooth is the same machine as the VelaSmooth, they were being honest with you when they told you that. ALC-for branding purposes-puts "Ameri" in front of everything. But it's the same...

However, there is a new technology out there. It's called the VelaShape. (ALC could not call it the AmeriShape because another company had already trademarked that name). VelaShape is AMAZING. It's true, it takes only 4-6 treatments, verses the old AmeriSmooth with 15-20 tx. It's the newer, better version of the Smooth. Check out the www.velashape.com website. It is unaffiliated with ALC, it's a site created by the manufacturer of the machine.

I was with ALC when the new Shape machines were being rolled out in the clinics. When I left the company, I think only about 40% of all the ALC clinics have the new Shape machine. If your clinic has it-then great, you are one of the lucky ones. Your exhisting Smooth package will automatically be rolled into a Shape package and you get the new better technology. If they do not have it, you are out of luck. Most likely they will try to convince you to purchase a new pacakge. Don't be fooled-you do not have to do this! You can stick with you exhisting package and continue your AmeriShape treatments. Most likely, the clinic you go to will get the Smooth machine replacecd with the new Shape machine in the near future. It's only a matter of time. ALC is telling all of thier clinic managers that those clinics who sell the most Shape packages will get the new machines first.So, they are incentified to sell it. The more packages they sell, the quicker the machine gets replaced. All ALC clinics want the newest technology for thier clinics.

Keep in mind, if your clinic has a Smooth machine, it will eventually be replaced with a Shape machine. Don't let them pressure you into buying a new package. It might just take another month or two for the new machine to arrive. If and when the machine gets replaced, your package will automatically be converted into Shape treatments, NO CHARGE TO YOU.

To answer your other question regarding a refund-no, it's not going to happen. If you already used a treatment in the package, they will not allow it. If you purchased a package that had skin tightening, micros and photo facials in it, it was most likely a package deal. If you had any of those three treatments, they will consider it as you utilizing the package, thus no refund. Sorry!

I have 9 Amerismooth visits left and ALC wants me to "convert" to the new Velashape (only machine in office), Should I "convert" and how many visits should I then have or should I get 9 Velashapes? They said the "shape" reduces circumference but I pointed out that's what they said about "smooth" too when I did 10 visits last year and saw no difference.

They used the Velashape machine on me today and said it is the different heads that define the Amerismooth versus Valashape treatment. Should different heads on the same machine affect cost or number of visits? I don't think so.

05.7 | Unregistered Commenterjello

I would convert your package. Personally, I thought people were getting better results with VelaShape than AmeriSmooth. I would expect them to give you 4-5 treatments on the new machine.

It's not just different heads. It's different heads and a new base machine. The bases look very similiar, but they are totally different.

Good luck.

False advertisement on hair removal.

It has been a year and 6 treatments for laser hair removal of my bikini area at the American Laser Centers in Brentwood Tennessee. This location is a few miles from Nashville Tennessee. I only have about a 10% decrease in the amount of hair that has been removed. I was not a hairy girl to start with (6 sessions ago) so I was expecting faster changes then the average person.

On my sixth treatment they took a photo before they started the treatment. The purpose of the photo was to show progress.... That is no way to measure progress. Hello.. I shaved before I came to the appointment as I was instructed to do. So of course there was no hair. There was no hair in the photo because I shaved NOT because of the laser treatments.

Making appointments have been a huge challenge. Staff often did not return phone calls. Arrived once to find out the laser was doubled booked and was in use by someone else.

Was promised I would see results after the third treatment which was not true. I did not see any change until the 6th treatment and that is just a rough 10% change. I was asked if I had taken medication that might make the hair grow, which I had not. After reading these post I will be shocked if they continue my treatments as they promised until all the hair is removed. I was told (but never seen in writing) that the two year guarantee did not start until all the hair was removed even if that time period happen past the 6th treatment. However today I have read complaints where that was not the case. I am not surprised, just disappointed yet again.

Unhappy hair removal client who still has 90% of the hair I started with from Nashville Tennessee.

Nashville Catan:

Not knowing your specific skin type, the equipment that was used, the person operating the equipment, it is difficult to make any comment about the success or failure of your treatments. However; service issues are another story. There is no excuse for failing to respond to requests and while sometimes double bookings do happen, you should have been offered some sort of freebie.

We are in Memphis and you are welcome to contact us for any help that we can give. www.monaspa.com

07.3 | Unregistered CommenterWPS

Nashville Catan, Sunnybunch, Witheld & the past ALC Techs,
LET ME EDUCATE EACH OF YOU ABOUT AMERICAN LASER CENTERS & THE MISINFORMATION I HAVE READ IN SOME OF THESE COMMENTS. Let me start by saying I am a Clinic Manager for ALC & have been with the company for 1 1/2 years & have a very busy clinic that has been open for 5 years. I love what I do and love the company I work for and had never met someone as enthusiatic & motivational as the founder when I went to training to come to work for this company. When I took this clinic over- there were 4 Aesthcians that worked here & that included the Asst. Manager. I wanted to give everyone a fair chance to show me their aesthitics skills, knowledge, customer service skills, & that their ethical skills were the same as ALC had trained me & what I brought with me from running the same private practice/laser center for 11 years. The founder of ALC built his business up by building great people to work in the clinics & believing in them, instead of just hiring anyone looking for a job. After the 1st month I changed my entire staff except for 1 tech that I kept, I replaced those techs and have not had any turnover whatsoever in my clinic. My Assistant Manager was promoted to run the new clinic we opened on the North side of town so I promoted one of my techs to Asst Manager & got referals from my staff of who they felt would be a good fit to interview for a new tech to fill the open position. I honestly told every person I have ever interviewed what I expect of them & that it is not the easiest job an aesthcian can have but the most rewarding in many ways..They get a great hourly pay, full paid benefits including medical,dental,vision, life insurance, bonuses, free training on various lasers, and free continuing education classes. To anwser your questions..each clinic may vary depending on how great the manager is and her team she has built. ALC treats over 5500 clients a day nationwide & we are the largest provider for hair removal, skin rejuvenation, and velashape so when you are #1 in the industry and have 248 clinics then you may see a posting by an unhappy client or two but over all we do provide great customer service, and I know my staff and I are all very driven & passionate about helping our clients to feel & look their best.
As far as the VelaShape question- yes convert your Amerismooths over to VelaShape treatments & you will love the VelaShape machine- again it is like anything else- you must follow the proper protocol... be within 30-40lbs of your goal weight, drink eight 8oz glasses or more of water per day, exercise, & eat healthy. If you do cellulite therapy & continue to eat sugar, salt, tons of fat, & caffeine you will not see good results if any at all. It is a great machine but cannot perform miracles. If we recommend cellulite therapy for a client it is because we are educating them on ways to improve their appearance-which is why people come to us to begin with- we are the experts & it is our job to educate our clients on new services offered. Why else would a consumer go to med spas, plastic surgeons, cosmetic denists, lasik sugeons, etc... Do you get the pointe of what I am saying here? Now I will address the hair removal packages we offer...we have a 6 treatment package or a 12 treatment package and each include a 2 year guarantee that starts after your 6th treatment is completed. We are the only company that puts this in writing & we give the client a pink copy of their guarantee upon purchase & once the date of their 6th or 12th treatment arrives we then sign the guarantee with the client & that starts the 2 year guarantee process which we always stand behind and in some cases even do a few more visits to satsify the client, however this is very rare. You have to take in consideration each person is going to have diffrent hair reduction based on skin type, hair color, laser, client folllowing proper protocol, etc...We have 2 diffrent lasers in my clinic an IPL and a Diode laser & yes they are made by Syneron & patented for ALC. We get great results with our Amerilase (diode) & it is comfortable for clients because we have a chiller on it so we can treat at stronger settings at each visit & after the 3rd treatment we double pass or 50% overlap on every client. Also, we do treat every client on an individual basis & look at what is best, safe, and most effective for them. If a client has light blonde hair then yes they are going to need more than 6 treatments to get great hair reduction or if a client tans then we have to treat on a lower setting or skip the visit all together so they do not burn. I will also add that the facial area takes a little longer due to it being one of the most horomonal areas we treat. Also, hormones play a big part in hair reduction, I suggest to most women if they are having a lot of hair growth to check with their doctor & make sure they do not have polycystic ovarian syndrome (which causes induced hair growth). I just wanted to clear the air about some of the things I have read in some of these comments on this site and if you have any further questions about American Laser Centers you are more than welcome to contact us through our website or for those of you in or near Brentwood or Nashville, TN please contact me at 615-376-2866
OUR COMMITMENT IS TO PROVIDE GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE & TO MAKE EACH CLIENT LOOK & FEEL THEIR BEST IN EVERY WAY!!!!
I HOPE THIS COMMENT HELPS & PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT ALC IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS.

Thats funny...

11.26 | Unregistered CommenterFunny

I have purchased 3 packages from American Laser. I have an athletic build, and I'm within 10# of my ideal weight. I eat an organic diet, no grains of any kind, lots of water and I workout everyday. Supposedly, I was the 'ideal' candidate.
I had 23 treatments of Amerismooth, from hip to knee. $1200. There was only about 10% improvment in cellulite, and that was on the front of my legs only. . I requested my pictures that were taken but they had a 'computer issue' and the b4 pictures were lost. During that time, I purchased the hair removal package. I was not given an option of 6 or 12 treatments. I was just told i was getting the full leg package and that it would take 6 treatments.
Hair removal - I've had 4 treatments (and btw, they have to be 12wks apart which means 1.5-2yrs for 6 treatments). 0 change in hair thus far.

I was extremely disappointed in the amerismooth because despite my extreme healthy life style, i have pretty severe cellulite and carry that full 10# in my legs. When the amerishape came out, promising to be new improved, I foolishly believed all the ads and the TV programs with rachael ray etc. They said they would knock $1200 off the package price because i was unhappy with the amerismooth. I said 'i'm not interested in the smooth, that was worthless, but I'd consider the shape since it's supposed to be better/stronger'. I also said i would want the b4/after pictures and they said 'absolutely. No problem! those are yours afterall'. So, I bought a package for hip to knee and a small section of my stomach for $1800. I did lose about .5" off my stomach (althought i also playing 8hr volleyball tournaments at the time) but seen little to no results in size or cellulite on my legs/hips. It was an absolute huge huge waste of money and I feel retarded for going through with it after the amerismooth disaster. In addition, there was a great deal of confusion as to which head to use and what the effects where which is another long story I won't get into. I was told later on that the 'shape', which is only the small head, is not for cellulite, only size reduction. The large head, still considered the 'smooth' is for cellulite, not for size. Since both were used during my treatments and both failed, I'd say both are worthless regardless. And btw, that all conflicts with the literature on their site and in their office. After the treatments were over i requested my pictures be sent to my email. They said sure. After I didn't get them I called and they said 'well, you have to either send us an electronically signed email or a signed letter to get them released'. Okay, so why didn't they tell me that the first time I asked for them? I send the email. No pictures. I contacted them again and was told 'hippa won't release the pictures to us. No one ever requests them. You'll have to call customer service directly'. Well customer service is only open during work hrs with a 20 min. wait. They give you an option to leave a vm and they will get back to you. Well 3 days later, I haven't heard from them.

I really really hope that at least the hair removal turns out to be effective so at least i get something for my money. I cannot advise people strongly enough not to waste your money on the amerismooth or the shape. It is as much a hoax as the creams that are sold. Try to find a real person, not affliated with the company or know someone that works there, that got 1/4 of the results they have you believe is possible with either system. Trust me when i say they will say anything to you to get you to purchase a package and they are very convincing. Don't be fooled.

I purchased a package at American Laser for hair removal in the amount of $2,200.00. I was told that I would have guaranteed results. The way the contract is worded makes you think that way too. After 2 years, I see NO results and now I am being told that if I want to continue, I need to give an additional $1,000.00. I would be an idiot to hand over more money. This is alot of money to just give someone and get NOTHING in return.

12.29 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Is American Laser Clinics affiliated with United Laser Clinics?

01.26 | Unregistered CommenterDg

I don't think so, United Laser Clinics only has locations in Indiana and MO, both states have several ALC clinics so they would be cannibilizing each other.

I just know that patients that come to me from American Laser are not happy with the service. You could say, American Lasers happens to attract some of my patients to me. Thank you, American Laser.

I had to share a big LOL to BE POSITIVE. What a joke. You r either quite GREEN. Or your a N.E. SUCKER... I can only assume that u r Ann Balducci Or her B!@@ Katie. You know her asst. mgr. before the PROMO to Regional. They were bolth sneaky & starved before Ann pushed her way up Nicole V's a@# , before her demise. I still cannot see the lack of HELLO on Corporate's part. I worked at ALC 2 yrs. If ur a vet, hear this. KATE MCGEE is an angel compared to these 2. "If it smells lile a pig & looks like a pig...it's a pig!!!

02.12 | Unregistered CommenterOwatabonus

Class action law suit i fell victim to alc,Busineess must not be able to operated any longer.There are no regulation on who the lazers could be used by in s, fla. but if enough of us victims get together and get a class action lawsuit,dawn561 654 4669

04.2 | Unregistered Commenter321sami

I'm an unhappy American Laser Clinic hair removal patient but not because I was really harmed or burned by my laser treatments, I just feel that I was pressured into buying treatments with fake guarantees that weren't delivered on. American Laser Clinics is not a business that I would recommend for laser hair removal to anyone.

Sooooo....For as long as i can remember,,,,THESE SADDLE BAGS,,,have been the only problem area that im really self concious about ...i have recently learned about velashape...I feel like the SAME sales pitch is given to EVERYONE no matter the size of the indvidual....as far as the ALC the customer serv rep whom set up my consultation ...was kinda rude..but im scared im gonna be SCAMMED into something that wont give results....

What is the cost,how many treatment and how realistic are the results>

SCARED

04.20 | Unregistered CommenterScared

Hi everyone. I'm thinking of doing Laser Hair Removal and I'm a bit scared after the horror stories I've heard.... I have heard that people have gone in for hair removal and.....3 months down the road (after all required treatments), they have hair growth where it was "GUARANTEED" to NOT RETURN! I just don't want that to happen to me! I know for some people it works great thus, why I have considered it but, what about the people who have to have it redone???? What if I end up being one of those unfortunate people???? It's my understanding it's guaranteed.... So, you would think I wouldn't be afraid and get on with it?!? But, did I mention I know a person who had it done and it didn't work AND the Laser Clinic DID NOT REFUND ANY MONEY! Furthermore, any future treatments are at their (my friend) expense, NOT the LASER CLINIC! You can image how unsettling this news is....especially because I was soooooo excited to have it done. Please give me any input that any of you, or all of you might have. ****Please serious responses only.

04.23 | Unregistered CommenterB

I worked approximately 3 days at the Staten Island NY location, and after seeing the unprofessionalism and disregard of any respect to the staff and clients by the clinic manager, I left immediately. The laser treatments that I actually saw were done too quickly and with such carelessness, leaving me in a complete state of shock. I could not see myself associated with a company like this and resigned immediately. I have told everyone I know to stay far away from this company.

04.23 | Unregistered Commenterfortune

PPPLLLLLEEEEAAASSSSSEEEEE don't go to American Laser Clinic!! They ARE a scam. I went to ALC in New York and paid over $2000 to get laser done on my side burns and neck and after 6 sessions, it looked like I had more coarse hair than when I started the treatment. It was shaving 2 - 3 times a week which was really upsetting to me. Anyway, I moved to London and found another laser clinic which don't use the same lasers as ALC use and after only 3 sessions, I am over the moon!!! I have my sessions evey 4 weeks and don't need to shave at all. My new laser clinic told me that the laser ALC use is not a good one and even promotes more hair growth!!! Please don't waste your money or your time going to ALC. Do some research beforehand, you see hat most of the ALC reviews are negative!!!

04.25 | Unregistered Commentermaggie

Well well well ladies....looks like you can't hide from all of your wrong doings! This company is not only based on high pressure sales with low quality treatments, but their maliciousness to their own staff and clients is illegal. They violate HIPPA on a daily basis and treat there employees like garbage. It is very sad that these particular staff members ( Ann Balducci and Katie Mcloud) have given up there morality and ethics for money. As a consumer I suggest you stay away. Any tx should be consulted by a doctor and researched and thought of over time. If there is ever extreme pressure to but a service "Right Now" do not do it!!! Good luck and if you managers are reading this please look deep inside yourselves and know you can do better without jeopardizing your values!

Hi. I’m Kristy, a 23 year old female from the NYC area. I’ve spent my teen’s and the beginning of my twenties, suffering embarrassment and low self esteem due to having “over active” hair cells; patches of hair growing on my face and chin. I decided to do something about it and went to an American Laser Hair Removal Clinic. Unfortunately, after 6 treatments, I received no results. I was encouraged do use their new super powered laser for 6 treatments, which I did and still no results. I even had 4 more treatments and still no results. I asked about a refund and was given phone numbers to call at their corporate headquarters in Michigan. Most of my calls went into voice mail, and the calls were not returned. Once, I managed to speak with someone who said "Read your contract, there are no refunds!" I then explained that the contract also "Guarantees the results!" They reiterated, "No refunds." I then called a law firm in Michigan to explore my legal rights! I was told that the law interprets the contract in favor of the person who did not draft it. If it says guaranteed results, they can’t weasel out of their responsibility by saying no refunds. The law firm said that they would be willing to do a class action lawsuit if they found others who were ripped off in the same manner. I encourage anyone who was ripped off by these guys to call Brandy at the Law Firm 248-581-9135. They do not charge a fee unless they win. Also, it’s good the firm is based in Michigan because the corporate office of all American Laser Clinic’s is in Farmington Hills, Michigan. They will do a "Class Action" law suit if they find more people who are in the same situation. I am only asking people who have had the same/similar experience as me and who are SERIOUS about getting some kind of justice, to come forward and get involved. Please make the call (248-581-9135) to help yourself and others like me!

As a former ALC employee, I warn everyone to stay away from this company. The company's a joke and definitely a scam.

Clinic Managers will do/say anything during your first initial consultation to get you to buy. They do not care what the customer needs or what their financial situation is. They also pressure the laser techs to upsell - we are told to straight up lie to the customer to get them buy anything (additional treatments.. product...) They also will charge everyone different - even for the same procedure. They charge you more if you make more $$.

The Vela Shape does not work. All the customers were very unhappy with their results -even after the recommended 6 treatments. I didn't see any customers who were completely hair free either. Yes, some did see hair reduction, but no complete hair loss. I also saw my co-worker burn a lot of customers (and the clinic manager wouldn't report it!)

Stay away from American Laser Centers. BUT if you still insist on going there, go to the clinics at the end of the month. The clinic & assistant managers are trying to make their monthly goal (so they get their bonus) and they will give you treatments for dirt cheap.

i wonder why laser cosmetica isnt getting the same attention.its run exactly the same way.

09.15 | Unregistered Commenterml

I went in to check out their Vela Shape packages. They use high pressure tactics to upsell and gave me a decent package pricewise (about 1/2 the cost per visit versus a clinic in CA). The acting manager (says the original manager is out for maternity leave) has poor office skills and does not follow through in returning calls. They claim they couldn't get me in for a vela shape appt for almost three weeks between sessions. When I did come in. The technician tried telling me she was done. I questioned her since I had scheduled myself for a 2 hr session for three different areas.

She left the room and claimed she messed up and misunderstood me from the last time I was in. I didn't say anything, but I had spoken directly to the acting manager when I set up my next three appointments in person. The technician had nothing to do with "messing it up".

I feel they are greedy and thought they could get by thinking they were going to count the hour as "time served" for three areas and I "busted" them. Very shady!!!! They told me they would count this appointment as a "freebie" since they didn't provide enough time.

Right when I entered, the assisting manager approaches me and tells me that their location has been picked by "corporate" to provide three $250 gift certificates to customers and it was only good that day. What bull****!!!! After the first visit and poor communication I've seen/received, I was not going to be doing any more business with them. It was kind of funny when I asked her if the $250 was good on product. She was speechless. She told me to let her know what I was interested in and she could see if she could work something out. Give me a break!

I suggest NOT to go to this place. I "googled" AML prior to visiting them, but apparently did not read enough before I wasted money and time. I've only gone twice, but am VERY disappointed in the quality or lack thereof of their work. :( I do have one word for this place!!! Can you say "SCAM"?

Please save your money do not trust ALC.
I first became interested and aware of Velashape when the surgeon who removed my gallbladder got a machine. I saw dramatic before and after pics. Since I suffer from marked cellulite from a 60 lb weight loss in my late 40's, I thought giving it a try from an actual MD, would be great. By the time I recovered he got rid of his machine, "wasn't paying for itself" I was told. I did some research on it and found some validity and an FDa approval. The only place in my area other than my surgeon to have a velashpe machine ...drum roll...ALC. When I got there for free treatment was treated badly made to feel inferior and that the cellulite was my fault for a bad diet. I went from 5'2" at 180 to 120. And had been eating low fat diet and kept off weight for 5 years before going to ACl. Was told treatments are piece meal on thight 6 treatment for front of thighs $2000. Sides $2000. Etc. I left, for whole thigh, both 6 treatment $8000. Was quoted lower price on phone and manager called me back to give me quoted price said operator fired. Give me a break, but I went for it because of my surgeon and some of the message boards actually had some people claiming results. ALC kept mentioning Kim Kardasian. Now I know she is a lying whore and paid millions to lie. I had 15 treatment and spent a couple thousand and NO results. All I have are laser burns to show for it. When I complained they turned the laser up too high and burned me badly twice. They keep working with you because they like you and always running a special.
Please ladies, don't fall for it if it is too good to be true it is not true. For hair removal go to a aesthetcian who uses the old fashion way electolysis but not w/ the electrode method. ALC ramps down the setting to keep you on the hook. They are used car sales men. The lady manager claimed she got the photofacials and skin tightening treaments, and to me looked as bad as me, I am 52 now. Here I see her one day and she looks great I ask if she had lift. Oh no she claims all laser. BULL they are whores. We all should get a class action suit against these creeps.

Even a plastic surgeon will tell you no cure for cellulite. Maybe the velashape does if done properly. ALC does not use it correctly if that is the case a big scam all the while claiming FDA approved.

Please save your hard earned money. I work VERY hard for mine and I feel raped by ALC. today is dec 30 2009.

Sorry I meant with the electrode method of electroylsis

i could go on an on about alc, but what i want to to know is how do we get this info out t people before they go there, it cost me $3000 to learn to find out more about there unethecical practices and i want to save people this expensive lesson. any ideas?

02.16 | Unregistered Commenterdaphne

This company is a complete scam!

They used manipulative, pushy sales tactics to make me sign a contract with them.
They refuse to give me a refund even for all the services I have NOT rendered. I only went for ONE laser hair removal treatment. I was disappointing, because the treatment was extremely painful, and ineffective! I asked for a refund for the remaining treatments, while fully willing to pay for the first treatment that I received (even though it was completely ineffective and a total rip-off), and they have refused.

I have contacted their corporate office and their legal department. They are incredibly rude, and refuse to compromise in any way.

Below are the names and contact info of the people that I have spoken with. You can call these lines directly, instead of going through the hassle with customer service and waiting for days for someone to call you.

(Name Removed)
West Coast South Regional Manager
248-497-2355

(Name Removed)
Corporate
248-924-4240

(Name Removed)
Legal Department
248-426-8250

I advise calling them, voice your complaints, be vocal on the phone, on line ANYWHERE/EVERYWHERE. Their advertisements are everywhere and people are being scammed into their 'packages' every day.

05.1 | Unregistered CommenterArmin

I worked as a laser tech for ALC and my conscience couldn't take it. I was told to lie about how much experience I had (less than 1 hour of shadowing a laser tech who had been there a month longer than me, then I was performing treatments solo). I was told to say I'd personally had every treatment and they were so succesful. I was told that if a client buys a package we HAVE to treat them the same day, no matter how slammed we are (cut other already-rushed treatments to make way for the new client). Know why it's so important that the newby client get treated the same day? Because once they receive their first treatment, the NO REFUNDS policy goes into place. If they buy the package, then have buyer's remorse, they can call and get their money back. Apparently the NO REFUNDS policy was more stringent, but so many people complained and so many lawsuits were filed that ALC backed off. The "Oh you're so lucky, we just got a cancellation and can fit you in right now!" story is to protect THEM. I have never worked for such a dishonest, unethical company -- I could not look clients in the eye and say the things to them I was instructed to say. I was never once evaluated on technique -- whenever I asked for instruction I was told it would come...."later" and "later" and "later." There was plenty of time to train me on upselling, though. I was told to point out flaws on clients while performing treatments -- "You know, we could really improve the appearance of that cellulite; those stretch marks could be evened out with our microderm treatments, those wrinkles around your eyes could really be helped with a fotofacial package." Horrible, horrible, horrible. I wish I could apologize to every client I was required to treat without proper training. Most of them thought we were nurses, with a supervising doctor on staff. Here's the truth: none of us had any medical experience; only 2 of the 6 laser techs were certified (which means nothing in the laser industry, it's ALC-certification only), and our job is to make you feel horrible about your appearance so you'll buy more packages. What happens if we don't sell? We're fired. I wasn't fired b/c I quit before things got really heated at the end of the month, when EVERYONE is pressured to meet the quotas, but I would have if I didn't start being more aggressive to get clients to buy more. I am so glad I'm not there, but I still feel sick about the clients who are stuck in their contract, unwittingly jeopardizing their health (yes, I burned people -- and was yelled at for bringing it to the mgrs' attention), their privacy (other techs and clinic mgr. walking in your treatment room while you're indisposed), their hygiene (no time to disinfect the beds, just wipe the machines with a clorox wipe -- there are other clients waiting in the lobby so you must do incomplete treatments and hurry, hurry). Please, please, PLEASE: stay away from ALC.

06.28 | Unregistered CommenterALCNomore

To ALCNoMore:

Interesting feedback-particularly because ALC claims to have changed their training so much.

Are you sure they are using Clorox wipes? That doesn't sound even remotely like ALC. We always used Cavacide wipes and still do in my present MedSpa.

Why weren't they using drapes or sheets on the bed that you could replace between patients?

Why did you burn patients if the ALC settings are set lower than the Syneron's protocols? Did you override the settings to produce better results?

Why were you yelled out for bringing a burn to the manager's attention? Was the burn properly documented and were pictures taken before and after the treatment? Was the health history reviewed properly and did the patient sign off on the 9 questions that are to be asked before treatment (are you pregnant, have you been on the sun, are you tan etc.)

It sounds like you were in a very busy center with a bad manager that wasn't ordering supplies, getting her people trained or blocking out enuf time for treatments.

The manager could train you to upsell in the center because that's all she herself could train you on. She didn't put in a timely request for training so she could get on the roster to have a trainer fly out.

Sounds like there is massive turnover, she slammed you in quick to do the treatments and is going to have to do it all over again because you quit.

By the way- I had awards from ALC for having the highest upsells in the country-and NOT ONCE- have I ever trained my staff to insult a patient to sell.

Because as you discovered, it doesn't work and makes the laser tech feel like crap about her job.

Same old shit show

American Laser Centers - UNETHICAL BUSINESS PRACTICES (CROOKS)


BE AWARE!!! LIARS!!! NO RESULT FOR HAIR REMOVAL!!! UNETHICAL BUSINESS PRACTICES.They render no refund for unperformed services. I lost $5,000 and have no result. No result. No refund. Can’t believe this company is still in business. My advice is to stay away from this company you’ll just lose your money with their no refund policy which they do not tell you anything about. They do not have a sign, bold print, nothing. You can’t get out of it. No customer service rendered either. I tried to call for weeks and have yet to be transferred to the “right” person.

- 07/09/2010

* Pros: Nothing (CROOKS in bold letters)
* Cons: Everything

07.15 | Unregistered CommenterI. S. Utah

I went for an ALC consultation, knew the ins and outs of hair removal ahead of time from other sources and the tech gave me the same information. I felt confident and signed up for the hair removal and did get my first treatment on the spot. I know it will take several treatments, and I also know from other sources my pale skin and coarse dark hair gives me a better chance of success. So for now I'll go along with the plan.

Now, after doing a bit more research, I'm TERRIFIED, to go through with the next treatment plan I signed up for: The Affirm Laser resurfacing. I have not had ANY treatments and CANNOT go through with that treatment plan. Am I stuck still paying for this? I did the financing plan for both packages. Total $2850 for both. I'm not sure what to do. Any advice is welcome.

08.11 | Unregistered CommenterJessica G

American Laser Centers won't be around for long anyways. Rumor has it that American Laser has closed down a ton of clinics lately. It was only a matter of time before their horrid reputation caught up with them. I worked there as a tech for a few years and I was embarassed to tell people I worked there! Just google "American Laser Centers" and you'll see what I mean. Complaints Board is flooded with horror stories about ALC.
The sales tactics they force on us are unreal and borderline illegal. I am so glad I left...

I also heard a rumor that Rich got the boot from American Laser Centers.

Looking for former ALC employees to tell me details about the supervision of treating nurses by company doctors. Also, looking for experts in the use of Syneron lasers for laser hair removal treatments at ALC. Shoot me an e-mail.

10.5 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Hi Rob-
What is your email address?

ALC is a joke. I had gone for hair removal treatment for a couple years. They gave me a written guarantee that all the hair would be gone and not grow back for 2 years. It NEVER made it to being gone no less for 2 years. But they decided they wanted to charge me for additional treatments. Which of course I denied. After complaining I was promised a partial refund by someone laughingly called the Director of sales. Of course - no refund or credit was made and she never ever called me back. I've emailed everyone to the Founder just to see if they will respond.

The Better Business Bureau has many many many complaints about this company - it's amazing they're still in business screwing customer after customer after customer.

If I could do it again I'd have walked away FAST and have thousands in the bank.

I bought a lswer hair removal package at their NYC centre. Got burnt on the second treatment. Nobody returned my calls or emails etc. They will not give me a refund. How can I join or start a lawsuit against them?

11.17 | Unregistered CommenterDimps

Wow! Wish I would have read this before I went! I did get some good temporary results from hair removal and the skin tightening, but at the end of my treatments they lied about how many I had left and I was shorted treatments. ANNOYING! Then I stupidly signed up for some velashape (right after I had a baby so I was pretty vulnerable) and when I changed medications back to what I was on before the baby but DURING all the other laser treatments I had been given they refused to finish my contract AND enforced the non-refundable policy. so.......you are refusing me service, but you will not refund the service I signed up for? SERIOUSLY!!!!??? I was so angry...still am. I feel a touch better that I am not alone, but a little worse that these people are negatively affecting so many customers and this company is still around? AWFUL.

11.19 | Unregistered Commenterannoyed

@annoyed:
If I am understanding you correctly, you are now taking medication that no longer makes you a candidate for VelaShape.

It may be possible for you to get a refund from ALC if you provide them with a letter from your doctor where he/she prohibits you from having the service due to your medication.

Send a written refund request with the doctor's letter, and in the meantime get your credit card company involved as well. If you prepaid for services and now cannot use them because of legitimate medical concern that those services will cause you harm, to deny your refund request could be construed as fraud.

Thank you to everyone who posted on this site. I had NO idea that this company is this way. I am a new grad of the advanced esthetic program as well as an LPN and saw many advertisements from National Laser in my area , Massachusetts. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to gain some laser experience. After reading all of these postings, I've changed my mind. I worked really hard in the program and take pride in my work, so I certainly dont want to associate myself or my work with a company who practices in the way that these hundreds of posts reveal. Their ethics and practices are discusting.....especially the fact that they dont take the time to assess the estheticians laser skills before applying it to a client!! It will only be a matter of time before someone really causes injury to a client and American Laser Co. is sued big time..........Thank you all for saving me from wasting my time applying for,and possibly working a bit before realizing what I got myself into. Thanks again............................................

I also wanted to mention to anyone who posts here, Email the BBB, ( Better Business Bureau ) and put in a formal complaint......they're really good about getting results. At minimum, if they get enough complaints, maybe they will straighten out the practices or better yet, put them out of business.

I have been a client for 7 years and 6 treatments is a joke, I still have hair in areas that have been treated since 2005. The newest employee that I saw said she had a marketing degree and like others have said rattled off the, "I've had been treated in every area", but when then she said she couldn't wait to get her underarms treated. And yes, the pictures to show the reduction, they are taken when you have shaved and you get yelled at if you don't shave before hand. I was told you won't get any results with that stubble. This company was bought out by another one and they have extended the time between treatments and the guarantee is no longer a guarantee. The promote and sell permanent hair removal, but when you ask, they say there is no real guarantee to the hair reduction! Excuse me! They pressure sell you, and yes when you are nude on the table spread eagle, and try to get you to upgrade or buy additional packages. I have been burned several times and they blow it off and say a nurse will call you. How about having a doctor see you! They give you Aquaphor to put on it, not burn ointment. The clinic was different when the opened now after 3 and soon to be 4 managers and a revolving door of so called estheticians, this company is fraudulent and completely committing malpractice, especially with the claim that they are a medical spa. They don't even have on site Doctors, unless they think being in a medical building gives them the Doctor supervision. I am trying for a refund, call and write on the website and to the clinicd, day in and day out. They have swindled all of us and we shouldn't be called fools, we are consumers that were done wrong and I will join a class action lawsuit!

Its not the BBB that will help you its the office of professional discipline, They govern the licensure of specialties. If someone is practicing out of their licensed scope of practice they handle it.
Good luck speaking to that doctor.

09.30 | Unregistered CommenterDrGM

well hold on.

There is a doctor of record, a medical director somewhere- there has to be, or ALC cannot legally operate.

Contact your state's Board to get the Dr's name and license.

The term "malpractice" because they are claiming to be a medical spa may not be accurate based on the state requirements they are operating in.

If you have any treatments left in the package you originally purchased, try and file in Small Claims Court for the pro rated amount of $ left.

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