They were searching for the fountain of youth, but instead, two Massachusetts women found themselves in search of a refund from a medical spa.
After they reached out to NBC10 Boston Responds for help, consumer investigator Leslie Gaydos uncovered a slew of complaints against the business.
Barbara Wilkinson, of Connecticut, wanted to look younger, so she made an appointment for a procedure called Face-Tite at LaDermique Medical Spa in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts.
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"It was $2,245.50," said Wilkinson. "They wanted to be paid in full, and upfront, and the procedure was supposed to be done on the 16th of February, but it never happened. Got a call at 7 at night from the manager, and she said the surgical nurse was in the ER and we could not do the procedure the next day. The next time we were supposed to do the procedure, the doctor was down in Florida for some kind of a seminar and he missed his connecting flight, so now we couldn't do the procedure then. And then the third time, it snowed."
Lynne O'Connor, of Feeding Hills, booked a different procedure at LaDermique, but said she had the same problem. O'Connor said she paid $463 last May for Botox injections that she never received.
"I had booked my initial appointment, they canceled on me," explained O'Connor. "I had a second appointment. I showed up. The business shut down early that day. I had a repeat of that on a Saturday where I showed up, the lights were out, the building was closed. I had called repeatedly asking to talk to the manager and I always got, 'She'll call you back.' She never phoned me back."
Both women ended up filing disputes with their credit card companies to get their money back. O'Connor said her credit card company told her she had lost her dispute because LaDermique claimed she had received the services she paid for. She then filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau of Central New England, but that didn't go anywhere. The BBB told NBC10 Boston that LaDermique stopped responding to their emails.
"I thought, 'It's over... it's never going to happen,'" said O'Connor. "It was a harsh lesson for me, but I felt there was no hope."
The BBB gives LaDermique a D-rating and has posted an alert on its website stating that the business has a pattern of complaints.
"I think $2,000 is a lot of money no matter how much money you have, especially paying for something you don't get," said Wilkinson.
NBC10 Boston Responds obtained 16 complaints against LaDermique filed with the Massachusetts Attorney General's office in recent years -- eight from consumers who said they never got services they paid for, four from consumers who claimed they were double-charged by the business and four from people who said they had an unsatisfactory experience and didn’t get refunds.
NBC10 Boston Responds reached out to LaDermiquee about Wilkinson and O'Connor's complaints. The medical spa said it would not challenge Wilkinson's credit card dispute and she was finally refunded her money. They sent O'Connor a check for the full amount she paid.
LaDermique's medical director is Dr. Stanley Swierzewski, a urologist at Holyoke Medical Center. He did not respond to our requests for an interview made through the spa manager or the director of marketing at Holyoke Medical Center. Holyoke Medical Center issued a no comment to our inquiries.
LaDermique sent NBC10 Boston Responds a statement stating:
"At LaDermique, our mission is to make our patients feel their best and walk out of our doors feeling rejuvenated and confident. We are aware that due to previous management, this was not always the case. Appropriate action has been taken and we are working with local authorities as well as our patients to make sure they are repaid for their time and services. We are truly sorry for all that our patients have faced. What is happening is not the culture at LaDermique and we are committed to and working tirelessly to fix the situation so that we can once regain our patients."
Agawam police confirm that they are taking part in an ongoing investigation involving LaDermique Medical Spa, but would not provide us with any details.
O'Connor is happy to have gotten her money back.
"I was elated and I was very grateful, because I honestly didn't think it was going to happen," said O'Connor.