Woman charged for cosmetic procedure she didn't receive

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AVONDALE -- After deciding not to go through with a cosmetic procedure, a West Valley woman says she was billed anyway. So, she contacted 3 On Your Side for help.

Seventeen hundred dollars is a lot more than Nicole Garcia wanted to pay. She says she just wanted to find out how much a minor procedure was going to cost, but her fact-finding mission turned into a $1,700 bill.

"All the time now you hear an advertisement for have smooth skin, never have to worry about waxing or shaving," she said.

So in pursuit of that smooth skin, Garcia decided to go to American Laser Centers in Avondale in June.

The reason she went? Well, the company solicited her.

"I got a phone call and e-mail saying I'd won third place, which was a $300 gift certificate for laser hair removal," Garcia said.

A $300 gift certificate sounded enticing.

So Garcia went to American Laser Centers for a consultation just to get an idea of how much it would cost for the work she was considering getting done.

Garcia found out the procedure she was thinking about was pretty pricey so she says American Laser Centers offered to see if she qualified for their financing plan.

"It was such a tricky play on words," Garcia said. "They told me, 'We're going to see if you qualify. We're going to run a credit check.' But then they end up opening an account in my name."

That's right. Garcia says instead of simply checking to see if she qualified, American Laser Centers went ahead and opened a $7,000 line of credit in her name.

And it gets worse. Not only was the account opened, she was billed for more than $1,700 for procedures she wasn't even sure she was going to get yet.

Garcia says at this point, she just wanted out and told American Laser Centers she didn't want any procedures done.

"The manager said, 'We will refund you the money, but there will be a 10 percent administrative charge," Garcia said. "That's not acceptable to me. I haven't had any services done. It hadn't even been 72 hours."

Garcia says American Laser Centers wouldn't budge. Then, she got her first bill in the mail asking her to start making payments on that $1,700 procedure she was thinking about.

"I feel taken advantage of," Garcia said. "I feel really stupid."

We contacted American Laser Centers, which said Garcia signed a financial agreement authorizing them to open the account and begin billing for the $1,700 cosmetic procedure.

Still, American Laser Centers did agree to close Garcia's account and remove the charge.

In a written statement, the company says, "Her account will be credited by our financing partner within 10 days."

They went on to say, "We greatly value our relationships with our customers...." ( to read the entire statement.)

Garcia says it's a lesson for her and you when it comes to filling out paperwork.

"I would definitely tell people to do their research beforehand," she said.

Great advice. Always do your research before signing up for anything