The Institute of Hair Regrowth & Beauty (IHRB) was Sanctioned a second time by the Complaints Resolution Panel, due to 12 breaches, including misleading advertising.
The Complaints Resolution Panel released a 16-page Determination after finding IHRB in breach of 12 Sections of the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code & Act. This is the second such finding. You can download the Determination here.
The Determination calls on IHRB to: withdraw its advertising; withdraw the representations; publish retractions in all its print vehicles; and display a retraction for 180 days on IHRB’s website.
Earlier this year, after a Police raid that gathered evidence for a six-month investigation by the Health Care Complaints Commission, IHRB was served a Permanent Prohibition Order for endangering the health and safety of its clients. In separate action, NSW Fair Trading successfully prosecuted IHRB’s Managing Director, Mr Sam Cohen, for lying to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT).
One of the complainants was Mr Jonar Nader who said, ‘IHRB lures customers to pay thousands of dollars for a hair regrowth treatment that I am convinced is nothing more than a scam. I launched a dedicated website (www.IHRB-Story.com) to expose IHRB and to support other victims who are often too embarrassed to admit to being scammed out of $10,000 and $15,000.
‘IHRB makes wild claims that it cannot verify, while using misleading and deceptive advertising that plays on people’s ignorance about hair-loss treatments. Its Managing Director, Mr Sam Cohen, was given every opportunity by the Complaints Resolution Panel to verify his many statements, yet he was unable to prove a single one. The alleged scam revolves around Mr Cohen’s claims that he uses his own secret formula comprising 13 natural extracts that allegedly have never failed to help every client to regrow their hair. Mr Cohen offers a money-back-guaranty that he cunningly voids before his clients leave his office. His contract is so deceptive that clients find it impossible to receive a refund without taking legal action. In my case, while using the IHRB treatment, I lost more hair than ever before, suffered rashes and bruises, and was refused a refund. The matter went to CTTT, where it took 383 days of legal battles that ended unjustly, due to Mr Cohen fabricating evidence and lying to the Tribunal; as I have witnessed him doing to other victims as well.’
Mr Nader was one of the victims who pursued Mr Cohen for medical malpractice and for misleading and deceptive conduct. Mr Nader added, ‘Sam Cohen’s practices are so diabolical, that I felt it my duty to report him. I spent two years trying to unravel his scheme — for which I received death threats.
‘Mr Cohen is quick to point to some of his clients whose hair did grow back. However, those clients were either illegally sold non-approved and dangerous medications, or were lucky that they responded well to readily-available medications such as Minoxidil and Finasteride. If someone is predisposed to a positive response to these medications, then why go to IHRB and pay thousands of dollars, when Minoxidil retails for $20 per bottle that lasts a month.’
Mr Nader said, ‘The problem is that Mr Cohen’s starting price is $4,900, plus on-going product purchases. For example, one topical solution that Sam Cohen sells at $900, retails elsewhere at $70. When asked how he justifies these exorbitant prices, Mr Cohen says that his solution contains his own secret extracts. These secret extracts do not exist. His own pharmacists have confirmed that the extracts were never used. After my two-year investigation, I am convinced that his unlawful ads simply reflect his unlawful business.
‘In 2008, IHRB was Sanctioned for similar breaches, but Mr Cohen ignored those Sanctions for 18 months. I now wonder how long it will be before he pulls his ads and publishes the retractions.’