If you’re interested in getting plastic surgery, there are hundreds of medical centers in Florida eager to have your business. But it’s important to do your homework before you hand over your money.
That’s what one woman learned the hard way when her procedure didn’t happen and she asked for her money back. So she contacted NBC 6 Responds for help.
Grisel Marchante isn’t your "usual" plastic surgery patient. She’s 65 and her diabetes has left her legally blind. She thought a tummy tuck might improve her health.
"Maybe this would be good for me because I can lose some weight," said Grisel Marchante.
She says her doctor agreed.
"He said 'yes, you can do it. It will be good for you. You have too many tummy, maybe it will help you with your sugar,'" said Marchante.
She chose Seduction by Jardon’s Cosmetic Surgery center for the procedure. To start the process, she paid the required $1,950 deposit. And three days later, paid another $250.
"I paid. I was happy to have the surgery done," said Marchante.
She completed the required tests and the process seemed to be going smoothly.
"They saw my labs and everything. They saw my sugar was high and they saw me, that I was fat,” said Marchante.
She then paid the required balance of $2,800 to secure an operation date.
The office confirmed a date. All seemed to be on track. But a day before the surgery she says the center told her the doctor would not perform the procedure because of her health.
"They told me that I was too fat. I was fat and that I have my sugar too high," said Marchante.
Marchante says medical center staff also refused to give her a refund saying if she lost the weight and lowered her sugar, they would do the surgery.
She didn’t think that was fair since they knew her medical situation before taking her money.
"They saw me, you know what I’m saying. They didn’t see a Barbie," said Marchante.
She says her follow-up requests for a refund were unsuccessful.
"I think that they saw in my face, across the front, Stupid!" said Marchante.
So Marchante called NBC 6 responds.
We called the medical center. The owner declined an on-camera interview but told us by phone that his "intention is to do the surgery, not return the money."
Her contract does address partial refunds if the patient cancels the surgery. But it isn’t specific about what happens if the center cancels it.
So Marchante contested the charges with her credit card company. And it’s that move that got her money refunded.
"Yes, yes, yes, I got my money back. I was surprised because I was really not thinking it would happen," said Marchante.
And she’s planning to invest the cash in herself again. This time she wants to take a dream trip across Europe.
"I'm planning to have a great time, to see everything. I don’t care if I finish in a wheelchair," joked Marchante.
Besides checking out the doctor’s history and making sure he or she is certified to do your procedure, you need to take a really close look at the documents you sign. Remember to read the terms, check when the contract expires and what happens to your money if the service or product isn’t provided. Plus, it’s good to pay with a credit card because you can challenge the charges and, like Grisel, get your money back.