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LasikPlus Agrees to $1.2M Fine After FTC Levels Deceptive Advertising Allegations

FTC complaint says the nation’s largest LASIK surgery chain ‘lured customers in’ with ‘bait-and-switch’ ads.




The Federal Trade Commission and LCA-Vision recently agreed to settle a case involving allegations of deceptive advertising practices.

The Ohio-based company behind LasikPlus and Joffe MediCenter will pay $1.2 million in response to the FTC complaint.

The settlement did not require the company to either admit or deny the charges. However, an LCA-Vision attorney released a statement defending the company, saying its ads were “within normal industry standards.”

The FTC alleges the nation’s largest LASIK surgery chain misled consumers into believing they could get corrective eye surgery for less than $300. After an initial free eye consultation, only 6.5 percent of consumers were deemed eligible for the promotional price in both eyes. The FTC says the company typically would quote consumers prices between $1,800 and $2,295 per eye.

The national average cost for LASIK eye surgery is $4,400, according to the American Refractive Surgery Council. Health insurance company VSP Vision Care estimates the cost to range between $1,000 and $3,000 per eye.

According to the FTC:


“…between 2015 and 2020 LCA’s LasikPlus centers ran ads on television, radio, in print, in shopping flyers, and digitally offering the procedure for a promotional price of as low as $250. During much of the same time its Joffe MediCenters ran ads offering to provide LASIK surgery to consumers for $295. But both the LasikPlus and Joffe MediCenter ads failed to adequately disclose the stringent requirements consumers had to meet to get the discounted promotional price.”

To settle the complaint, LCA-Vision agreed to update its advertising to clearly show what a typical consumer pays for its services and what requirements need to be met to get the discounted price.

The FTC voted 3-1 to issue the administrative complaint and to accept the consent agreement.

Commissioner Christine S. Wilson cast the lone dissenting vote. Wilson said in a statement that she was “not convinced that the claims here constitute deceptive” advertising. She agreed the company could have been more clear in its promotional ads. However, she suggested that the free eye exams included helped offset any harm.

The FTC complaint comes just more than a year after The Wall Street Journal published an explosive story (subscription required) in which LasikPlus doctors, both current and former, alleged the company “put profits over patient care.”

The company strongly denied those allegations.




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