Can I complain about cosmetic surgery?
1/03/17 Don’t try this at home
We love to get out of Resolver Towers so we can meet people and find out about the things that matter to you. Many of the complaints we hear about are what you would expect – and usually, we’ll give you our tips on how to avoid them in this newsletter or on our social media pages. But other things that people mention to us might seem a little obscure at first – but are surprisingly common.
The cosmetic surgery industry is regulated by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS)
We were taking part in a consumer event in Birmingham the other day and while talking to some of the delegates we got a bit of a shock. We found ourselves with a group of intelligent, articulate women and men - who proceeded to discuss their botox parties.
We’re all for people doing whatever makes them feel good (as long as it’s legal), but injecting a deadly compound into your face with no medical supervision while drinking cocktails isn’t a great idea as far as we’re concerned. And no, as we were forced to explain, you’re not covered under consumer rules and regulations if something goes wrong.
What are my rights and can I complain?
The cosmetic surgery industry makes billions of pounds every year – but its sales practices in some sectors have been questioned. And this is where you do have rights. You’re able to complain about regulated plastic surgeons through Resolver. And you can complain about finance agreements too if they’re unfair.
The cosmetic surgery industry is regulated by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). If you’re considering surgery, check with them first to see if your surgeon is on their register. If he or she isn’t, don’t do it. If they are, it doesn’t guarantee happiness, but BAAPS members adhere to industry practices and regulations and have their own complaints procedure.
We recently took part in a radio show with a Save Face representative and facial aesthetician who explained that if you’re having a non-surgical in a properly accredited surgery you should expect appropriately high levels of hygiene and medical expertise. Procedures like Botox can go wrong if the needle injects the wrong place on the face, but a registered and regulated surgeon will keep drugs to hand that are able to quickly neutralise Botox should a problem occur. You don’t get that in someone’s living room.
You can complain about a range of problems when it comes to surgical and non-surgical procedures. But before you sign up, do a bit of research first. And use Resolver if you don’t know how to get started.
Our cosmetic checklist
At Resolver, we think you’re lovely just the way you are. But if you do decide to have a cosmetic surgery procedure, here are a few tips:
- Make sure your surgeon is registered with BAAPS (the British Association of Aesthetic Practical Surgeons). And ask to meet them to discuss your surgery first (so many people don’t do this – which is scary).
- Check testimonials, photos of patients and ask if you can speak to one (this is usually possible).
- Don’t be fooled by the sales patter. A good surgeon’s staff should tell you about recovery times, risks and other key facts and they should take the time to find out why you want surgery.
- Never go with ‘limited time offers’. This is just bonkers. If you’re being time pressured into having surgery, the answer should always be no.
- Check that agreement. You don’t need to take credit out through your surgeons. Shop around for a better offer – but ideally, save up the cash yourself so you’ve got time to think about the procedure before you have it done.
Paying by credit
We’re often going on about section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, a really useful piece of legislation that gives you rights for things you’ve paid for on a credit card or some kinds of credit loans over £100 and under £30,000. This means that if the goods or services you’ve paid for don’t turn up or happen – or they’re misrepresented – you can ask the credit provider for a refund.
There’s a real debate about whether this applies to cosmetic surgery – but in theory, you can do. Remember your consumer rights don’t cover not being happy with the end results – misrepresentation is an ambiguous term but the implication is you’ve been deliberately tricked by the provider of the services. A few years ago, it was discovered that there was a problem with PIP breast implants. Around 47,000 British women were reported to have been affected. Those who had surgery privately were looking at further costs to get the implants removed. In practice, a mixture of legal action, compensation schemes and other support offered to the women meant that section 75 didn’t really apply in these cases. But it is another potential avenue of support if things go wrong.