This material concerns false advertising and misconduct by the Bosley Medical Group, whose website is located at Bosley.com

New: The Consumer's Guide to Bosley (2014)

What to Expect / Things They Don't Tell You...  click here

Most of what people see about Bosley are ads and infomercials that don't reveal the whole story, leaving them to fend for themselves to find out the facts.
This brief but informative guide is for those who want more information before making important decisions about surgery and other treatments.

 

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Enormous Scar  The incision they made in the back of my head for the donor hair left an enormous scar running from one side of the back of my head to the other. The transplant i received is only about a 1/4" in front of my original hair line and is very thin and splotchy. Instead of getting a nice new hairline, what i have now is a thin line of new hair and a mass of scars running the entire length of the front of my scalp.

No Redo  About three years ago, I went to Bosley to have treatment for thinning hair in the front of my head. I paid $12,000 for the procedure. I returned in one year. I had pictures to show what I looked like when I started with them, and what I look like now. The Doctor who saw me said they would do it over, at no charge. After careful consideration with my personal physicians, I decided that it would just be too much for me to go through one more time. I asked for my money back.  Needless to say, I still have not received a penny from them.

The procedure itself was very uncomfortable  I was supposed to be able to return to work the next day, but my face and eyes were swelled shut and enlarged and I had two black eyes. My children begged me to stay home. After everything the've done I dont look any different. I am still paying for the work they did and do not have the desired results promised me after all this time.

Bosley Staff Bullying: third party observation  Iíve watched for the past two years as a medical assistant at Bosley consistently comes home in tears because of the way the office staff, managers, and doctors treat each other and her. The office has gone through 13 Medical Assistants in two years! 

...more stories can be found here.

Tip: There are many online communities with patient reviews for Bosley and other medical groups. Enter the term "hair transplant forum" into a search engine.

FUT Woes: Bosley reveals downsides of its FUT procedure (Follicular Unit Transplant) (July 2014)  This information doesn't appear in most ads, so consumers should be aware that in the course of promoting other services Bosley suggests that its standard FUT transplant is not for:

A) Those who want to wear their hair short; B) Those who do not want a linear scar; and C) Those with a limited donor supply or scalp elasticity. (Note: Every person has a limited donor supply)

It further indicates that the FUT procedure offers drawbacks such as scalpel incisions, linear scarring, stitches, and changes in donor area appearance, as well as slower recovery time and more downtime.

Bosley Sees Big Decline in Customers  Bosley suffered another big drop in sales (down 10% y.o.y.) according to their April 2014 financial report which stated: "The Bosley business failed to effectively capture market attention through advertising efforts, and the number of surgical procedures declined".

 

FTC Settles Charges Against Bosley  (June 2013) The Federal Trade Commission has imposed restrictions on Bosley after alleging it shared pricing information with competitors, an illegal practice that can result in higher prices -see this link.

On a related note, Bosley's parent company Aderans of Japan has acquired Hair Club, known for its infomercial-marketed hair "systems".

... more updates below

Consumer Alert / First-Time Patients  Bosley continues to produce simplistic and misleading ads to try to get consumers into the operating chair while not disclosing the known risks and pitfalls of surgery or advising that the best choice may be to wait for upcoming medical advancements. Bosley's Medical Director on impending new treatments (hair multiplication): "It is the thing people have been waiting for. There have been so many remedies for hair loss that didn't pan out. This is one that really looks like it is going to happen, and happen in the next few years".  Compromised blood supply...decreased scalp laxity...accelerated hair loss...the need for additional surgeries...these are all side effects of current Bosley procedures plus they can damage your ability to benefit from alternative treatments and future medical advancements. (see the Procedures page)

No-Refund Policy  Before handing your credit card over to a Bosley salesperson (a.k.a. Counselor, Advisor) for a deposit on a procedure make sure you know about their policies. After canceling surgery ten days in advance a customer was surprised when Bosley refused to return their deposit. After disputing the charge with the credit card company they got the response: "We regret to inform you that we are not able to assist you as the merchant has a no-cancellation and no-refund policy". This policy can discourage patients from backing out of surgery and penalize those who want to change their minds or need additional time to make a well-informed decision.

  

 

 10 things you should know about  Bosley Medical

You may have seen their ads and thought, "It seems too good to be true". As it turns out, your skepticism is warranted. According to their own figures the Bosley Medical Group (BMG) spent almost a third of its revenue on advertising and promotion to lure patients into its hair restoration clinics. With all of the paid propaganda it can be difficult for a prospective patient to unravel the truth about this organization. In reality Bosley has been the subject of numerous patient complaints, lawsuits, and violations relating to their advertising, medical procedures, and business practices.

1. Medical Board Violations.  Larry Lee Bosley has been the subject of administrative and judicial discipline for almost 30 years. His medical license has been put on probation or surrendered in at least 20 states. In 1980 his medical license was suspended for dishonest and harmful advertising. In 1981 the medical board filed to revoke probation against Bosley for acts of dishonesty and corruption in advertising. In 1983 the LA Superior Court entered a judgment against Bosley suspending his license for one year. A Los Angeles D.A.'s letter in connection with the 1996 consumer protection lawsuit declared: "Although Bosley has been given every opportunity to rectify his deceptive business practices so as to comply with the law (and his probationary terms), and despite the risk to his medical certificate, Bosley has persisted in misleading the public." In 2002 the California Medical Board filed an accusation and petition against Larry Lee Bosley to revoke his probation. In 2005 an Administrative Law Judge ordered his license revoked, and then stayed in exchange for probation extension for prescription drug violations and failure to keep adequate patient records. Bosley was ordered to enroll in a course on ethics.    

2. False and Misleading Advertising. In 1996 the California Attorney General, the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office and Consumer Protection Division brought forth a consumer protection lawsuit against Bosley Medical. This was prompted by the medical board's extensive investigation of of Larry Lee Bosley and BMG based upon numerous consumer complaints alleging false and misleading advertising and medical malpractice. In The People of the State of California v. Bosley Medical Group, Bosley was fined almost $650,000. The D.A.'s office alleged that BMG engaged in a widescale advertising campaign heavily based on false and misleading representations and found evidence that BMG used retouched and false "after" photographs in its advertisements- hairlines were altered or "airbrushed". The photos that appeared in a brochure as "after procedure" photos were actually taken of a Bosley Medical employee who had never had any procedures done. Additional allegations included misrepresentations of pain, scarring, and results, and non-doctors performing procedures. In 2002 a former Bosley Medical doctor testified that they continued to engaged in illegal conduct and violate laws despite the medical board's probationary terms and stipulations put in place after the People v. Bosley consumer protection lawsuit.

3. Poor Results.  Dateline NBC aired an report titled: Splitting Hairs; undercover investigation of Bosley Medical Clinics.  The report, which included interviews with former employees and patients, told about botched surgeries and broken promises. Interviews with former Bosley employees revealed that there was a big gap between what Bosley Medical sold and what it delivered.

4. Low-balling Costs and "First Starts".  (from court documents)  A Consumer Protection Division letter stated that BMG's primary goal was convincing potential customers to get into the surgical chair where they became a First Start. "First starts are very lucrative to BMG because initial work is often unsatisfactory to patients, and they are hooked into long-term financial commitments that often exceed the initially represented costs". Patients have sometimes been told that it will cost tens of thousands of dollars more to treat them. "They tell you that occasionally their diagnosis has to be revised somewhat, and there's 'touch up work' they call it."- explained a former patient. How much touch-up work did they end up doing on him? Seven touch-up surgeries, seven different procedures and $50,000 later. "That was the idea" concurs Dr. Stan Szaslo, a former BMG surgeon. "Get them in. Get them started. Get them hooked."

10 things you should know, continued

 

 
   

Surgical Drawbacks  (2013) Bosley affiliate Aderans Research Institute outlined what a bad option surgery can be stating on its website that with Bosley's type of surgery "there often isn't enough hair on the back of the head to make up for the loss on top, leaving the client with a make-do patchwork of thinly implanted follicles". Since then Bosley's parent company, Aderans of Japan, has stopped funding ARI and their website has been taken down. See this article: Aderans to no Longer Fund its Hair Multiplication Research Division.

Failure to Warn Patients About Propecia  An article from Examiner.com goes in depth about Bosley patients who say their lives were ruined from bad advice and drugs prescribed by Bosley doctors. "Looking back, it's clear that by placing my trust in Bosley Medical, I made the biggest mistake of my life"- a former Bosley patient. It also describes Bosley's "Laundry List of Infractions": Propecia Victims Furious Bosley Knew of Drug's Dangers...

Targeting Women  Bosley has adjusted their marketing efforts to take advantage of women as another way to sell more surgeries. Unfortunately, we have received numerous reports from women saying they are extremely unhappy with their results and are far worse off than before from a cosmetic standpoint and from the physical damage the procedures cause. They say Bosley staff failed to warn them about side effects, including damage to their preexisting hair. Keep in mind that even if you're assured by a Bosley "Counselor" that you're a good candidate for surgery this may merely be a sales tactic to sell you a procedure. Most "Counselors" have no formal medical credentials whatsoever and are not qualified to give medical advice.  

From a recent WebMD article: "According to experts a very small percentage of women are candidates for hair transplant surgery. About 2% to 5% of women with hair loss will benefit from this type of procedure."  - Source: American Hair Loss Association

 

Aggressive Marketing Tactics  Bosley financial reports reveal that they're more concerned with converting sales and maximizing revenue than objectively serving patients. Measures to boost sales and increase customer spending included: introducing alternate hair care solutions to attract clients into their offices (where they can pitch them on surgery), reviewing the incentive program -employee compensation based on the number of surgical procedures sold, and improving the contract (sales closing) ratio.  

Spamming Your Inbox  Consumers should be wary before ordering the Bosley information kit (essentially an extended version of their infomercial) because they will be treated as a sales lead. The information that consumers provide sets them up for an endless amount of spam email, solicitations, and telephone calls from Bosley salespeople.

Internet Censorship   Bosley's modus operandi of hiding information from consumers continues in the cyberage. Their campaign to squelch Internet free speech included threatening former patients with legal action and trying to bring down websites that reveal them in a negative light (a UDRP Panel concluded they were engaged in "cyber-bullying"). Other practices include spamming search results, creating mirror sites (duplicate sites), and registering negative domain names like bosleysucks.com to keep others from using them.

 

Sources: California State Attorney General, California State Medical Board, Maryland BPQA, Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), Los Angeles District Attorney's Office: Bureau of Special Operations - Consumer Protection Division, NBC News, Current and former Bosley Medical patients and employees