November 17, 2009
Miracle cures for hair loss have been around almost as long as men have been going bald. In Illinois, Attorney General Lisa Madigan has sued the maker of one such cure, claiming the company is making claims it can't prove.
The action is against Natural Hair Growth Institute and claims the Chicago-based company makes false statements based on unsubstantiated scientific claims that its services can help regrow consumers' hair and fails to provide consumers with full refunds for services that on average cost between $8,000 to $12,000.
"The defendants in this case use highly sensational marketing slogans to convince consumers to pay thousands of dollars for a service that simply isnt proven to be effective by modern science," Madigan said.
According to Madigan's lawsuit, which also names the company's owner, Steve Bennis, as a defendant, the Natural Hair Growth Institute provides laser therapy, scalp massage and topical hair products that it claims will help consumers regrow hair within six months. The defendants promise to provide a 100 percent refund if consumers are not satisfied with their results. The company's marketing materials claim that the Natural Hair Growth Institute can "closely determine the expected six-month outcome for each individual" and that its service is "the first effective hair growth program that guarantees to regrow your hair naturally."
Madigan's lawsuit alleges that the defendants' treatment fails to produce the results as advertised and the company then refuses to provide full refunds to consumers even after repeated requests. The Attorney Generals Health Care Bureau reports that nine consumers have filed complaints against the Natural Hair Growth Institute, which has additional locations in Deerfield, Ill., and Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.
Further, the Attorney Generals lawsuit alleges that the defendants falsely claim that the companys "Orbit Laser Light" treatment is similar to a laser light therapy that has been used in Europe for more than 25 years, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved. According to the lawsuit, however, the FDA-approved laser device is not the same device used by the defendants.
Madigan's lawsuit asks the court to permanently ban the defendants from operating in Illinois and requests full restitution for affected consumers. The Attorney Generals lawsuit also asks the court to order the defendants to pay civil penalties of $50,000 for each violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act.