I Told Them

This is what I sent to Almond Dream:

My Almond Dream Mint Chocolate Chip non-dairy ice cream had ONE chocolate chip in it. One! The picture of the scoop on the front has a dozen chocolate chips in it. I don’t think you should call it mint chocolate chip unless you’re going to put chips in it. Or maybe the name is literal? Chocolate chip is not plural because there will only be ONE chip in the pint? If that’s the case, the photo should match, and show only one chip rather than 12.

Thank you.

Pure Med Spa/Brite Smile

Something weird has happened. Maybe it isn’t weird. Maybe it’s normal. I don’t know. In any case, it used to be if you searched the internet for Pure Med Spa, Brite Smile, et al, my blog would come up and people could see the number of people harmed by this company. There are hundreds of comments on my posts from people who have been robbed or injured by them. Now you search these terms and my blog doesn’t show. In fact, it brings up all the current locations where these thieves are still operating. Want a burned face? How about some severe skin damage on your legs? Better yet, how about having a lot of your money stolen? If you do, head on down to your local Pure Med Spa/Brite Smile,GRF Medspa et al. Free pain and stealing awaits you!

To see those previous posts that have virtually disappeared, here are the links:

You Be Sorry You Mess with Me, Pure Med Spa!

Let’s Eliminate Pure Med Spa

Good Riddance, Pure Med Spa!

Pure Med Spa Again

Pure Med Spa, Brite Smile, Crooks All

Order By Bankruptcy Court for Pure Med Spa

Pure Med Spa/Brite Smile is Now Pinnacle

I Hope We Get You, Pure Med Spa, Brite Smile, et al

Groupon Does Business with Pure Med Spa

The only time I will use staples will be in a stapler.

I have been very busy lately. I have to use a PC for work because the software I use in my job is only windows-based. As is the case with PCs, the damn thing started running really sluggy and slow. I knew it needed a cleanup and defrag and all that crap, but I just didn’t have time to sit around and stare at it while it wound its way through all that stuff.

One day while in Staples purchasing my latest round of toner and paper, I saw a circular advertising PC tuneup services for $9.99. Ah, I thought. Good deal. I’ll let them stare at the stupid thing for two hours. It would be worth it not to have to. I called and was told that if I dropped it off on Wednesday I could pick it up on Thursday morning. Even better. Wednesday after work I headed on over to leave my non-trusty-computer at the store.

It should have been clue one to me that there would be problems when, contrary to the information I had been given over the phone, I was informed nearly immediately that it would be three days to get the computer back. Oh no, that won’t work, I told them. If it was going to take three days, I was going to have to do this another time.  The salesman hemmed for a moment then said it could be done the next day.

Clue one, Lara.  Clue one.  You weren’t paying attention…

I then said I had to get going because I had an appointment.

Clue two, Lara. Clue two.  Mr. Computer Fixit guy kind of sauntered over to look at something else another Computer Fixit guy was doing, then went behind the counter and got a little widget to insert into my computer. He inserted it and stood there talking to me, telling me how my computer was the nicest he had seen come through the tune-up station in a while. He looked like Napoleon Dynamite, only without glasses. He kind of sounded like him too. In the end I spent a half an hour in there, in spite of my constant assertions that I needed to get going.

I explained that my computer had been running slowly. I explained that on vacation, my colleague had used the computer and claimed it had been infected with malware, but our office computer guy and she had removed this malware with some program from the web.  I explained that in spite of this, the thing seemed to be running slowly.

Do you use Norton?  No, I don’t like Norton. I have BitDefender. Bit Defender? Never heard of it.  Well, it was top-rated on PC Magazine’s choice for virus protection, and I bought it based on that review, and I haven’t had any problems with it. (Incidentally, since all this went down, I perused the web and saw that PC Magazine had again rated it in their top three.)

Well, I have never heard of it.  Okay, so that makes you a superstar.  Can you just take my computer and let me go now?

They told me they would call me when my computer was done and sent me on my way.  I wasn’t kidding that I needed the thing the next day for work.  It is all I have for work and all my work is on it.  Without it, I can’t do 99% of my job.  Well, more like 85%, but you get the idea.

The next day, Staples had not called me by 7:30 p.m.  I was beginning to worry, because I had a big response due on a file in less than five days and could not afford to be without my computer.

I called Staples and was patched to the computer center. The guy on the phone informed me that he hadn’t been able to get it to update. He had tried two times and it failed at the end each time. Okay, yeah well, I need my computer. I don’t care about the updates. I’ll get to them later. I need my machine. He said I could come pick it up.  It was late and baby was going to bed, so I said it would likely be in the morning. Okay, fine.

The next day I got busy with a bunch of other things and since I didn’t have the computer, I waited to pick it up until after picking Milla up for school. When I went in, I was told it had three viruses, and that if I wanted them removed, I would have to pay $200.  I asked what the viruses were and was told that they didn’t know, but it would cost $200 to have them fixed. The guy told me that the Staples tuneup hadn’t even detected BitDefender (See?  It’s such a horrible program!) He said I should have gotten the Norton antivirus software, and was told that Norton had picked up the three viruses on my computer.

At this point I began to believe this was all a scam to get me to pay Staples 200 more dollars. Whatever, I said to the guy.  I needed my computer yesterday so can I have it now? It was frozen in update land because, in spite of the fact I told them the night before that I was going to come and get it and to forget about the updates, apparently they had tried again multiple times anyway.
That evening I sat down to work. The computer had seemingly passed through its updates, although this proved false. Later when I had to shut down because of the other issues that arose, it turned out the thing still wanted to keep updating. I finally had to go in and manually choose updates, leaving off the last one. It’s still screwed up and every time the thing shuts down, it tries to install the last update and fails, freezing and requiring a hard reboot.
The machine ran slower than it ever had before I took it to Staples. Frustrated and worried I wasn’t going to be able to finish my work, I did something I should have done this in the first place, and called Costco support. Remember though, I was up against a deadline and out of time, so it did not occur to me to call them sooner. In this, please cut me slack for my lack of foresight.
After 45 minutes on the phone, the computer was running speedily again. However, there was one problem that the tech could not figure out.  I now have to log into my wireless by going through the control panel, going into network preferences, and re-entering my security key every single time I log on. I used to be able to right click on the now disabled icon on my taskbar, click my network, and voila!  Logged on. Not any more.

The worst thing though, did not appear until I sat down to finish drafting the response due in five days. My Adobe Acrobat did not work. Every time I opened it I received an error message letting me know the registration had been corrupted and I needed to uninstall and reinstall. I ran an uninstall repair, but this did not fix the problem.

Frantic, I called my office to see if they had a serial number.  The only serial number they had for me was one for Adobe Standard. I had Pro and needed Pro. The Standard would not work. I kept trying to do my job around the error, but it wouldn’t work. I optimize scanned text. I insert and delete pages. I enter in text boxes and rectangles. I used Acrobat. A lot. No more. Finally today, up against the deadline and sobbing in frustration, I uninstalled and reinstalled a trial version. Unfortunately it doesn’t allow the user to do any of the functions I use. In tears, I called my friend Debbie. She took my documents, made them into PDFs, stuck in the Exhibit words, and bundled them all together, then emailed it back to me to file.  I wasted so much time on this problem, the response wasn’t nearly as tight and good as it could have been, and I filed it near 4 in the afternoon.

During this, I called Staples. I have a salesperson online who helps me with purchases. I had written him an email on Sunday after wasting two hours slogging through computer problems. He called me Monday. We played phone tag until today. He said the store had told him I said the computer had viruses. No, I never said that. He wanted to three-way call with the store to get this straightened out, so we made an appointment for tomorrow, after the big monster response was turned in.

Today, during my frustration, I called the store and asked to speak to the manager. He knew my case. He said the techs told him I said the computer had a virus. I never said that. He said my computer was “riddled with viruses.” That’s funny, because that’s not what they said and if their “tune-up” was supposed to clean viruses, why didn’t they do it? Why did they say it would be $200 to do that or give me any information at all? He said the “tune-up” had failed. That’s interesting, because my receipt says it worked just fine, that only one update failed. Well, your computer is riddled with viruses. So you’re telling me that my computer, which worked just fine and dandy until the day I got my computer back from Staples, magically developed viruses that only affected Adobe after I got it back from you? No answer? And are the viruses the reason the internet hookup icon on my taskbar is disabled and that no amount of tech support with Costco will bring it back? Yes, it must be. No apology, only an offer to bring the computer back and let the trolls get their hands on it again. Not on your life. Kick me once, shame on you. Kick me twice, shame on me. I’m not G.W.

What a load of horse pucky. Seriously. These yahoos want me to believe that my computer was riddled with viruses and that these viruses worked their magic only after my computer was left in their store. That, my friends, is a pile of steaming poo, a lie, a foulness, a thing most unclean.

I decided then and there to tell my story. My hope is that even one other person will read my words and decide that staples are for staplers, not a place to shop in. Take your business elsewhere. I’m going to. Office Depot is right across the parking lot.

Groupon Does Business with Pure Med Spa

After several commenters noted that Groupon in Dallas is giving out a Groupon on Pure Med Spa (aka Beauty Med Spa–same name, no difference), I sent them an email saying that they really ought to reconsider promoting a company that has done so much harm.  Here was Groupon’s response:

Hi Lara,

Thanks for your feedback and sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.
We do our best to feature businesses that see Groupon as an opportunity to gain loyal customers as well as advertise their services.

We stand by all of the businesses we feature and the deals we offer, but if you ever feel let down in any way when using your Groupon, we’ll be more than happy to work with you towards satisfaction! Also, thanks for the information! I will be passing this on to the right people.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Regards,

Sarah M.

support@groupon.com

I told them that I am not going to be let down, but others will be.  Who wants to be a loyal customer to a business that has stolen thousands of dollars from customers, burned people with lasers, caused one woman to require surgery because they damaged her legs, and on and on. They are being investigated by several state attorneys general and have been profiled on many television news programs for the harm they have caused.

It’s a shame that this is Groupon’s response considering the negative publicity associated with this company.  Groupon is promoting thieves and hucksters.  Send Groupon a letter letting them know if you have been harmed and what happened.  Maybe if enough people contact them, they will change their policy.

Order by Bankruptcy Court for Pure Med Spa

Below is the text of the order by the bankruptcy court in the Northern District of Georgia for Pure Med Spa:

On the 17th day of December, 2009, came on to be heard the Motion to Dismiss Chapter 7 Cases of Non-Operating Debtors (the “Motion”) filed on behalf of Edwin K. Palmer, duly appointed Chapter 7 Trustee (the “Trustee”) for Pure Laser Hair Removal & Treatment Clinics Inc. (“Pure”), John Street Holdings LLC (“JSH”), GRF Medspa Broadway Plaza, LLC, GRF Medspa Redmond Town Center Mall, LLC, GRF Medspa Santa Ana, LLC, GRF Medspa Santa Clara, LLC, GRF Medspa Southcenter, LLC, GRF Medspa Washington Square Mall, LLC, GRF Medspa Village at Corte Madera, LLC, GRF Medspa Clackamas Town Center, LLC, GRF Medspa North Town Mall, LLC, GRF Medspa Alderwood Mall, LLC, GRF Medspa Bellis Fair Mall, LLC, GRF Medspa Fashion Show, LLC and GRF Medspa Sherman Oaks, LLC (collectively, the “Jointly-Administered Debtors”).

Pursuant to the Motion, the Debtor has represented that the Chapter 7 cases for each of the Jointly-Administered Debtors are to be dismissed, other than the Chapter 7 cases of In re Pure Laser Hair Removal & Treatment Clinics, Inc., Case No. 09-62038, and In re John Street Holdings LLC, Case No. 09-62039 (collectively, the “Remaining Cases”).

After reviewing the Motion and the pleadings on file, the Court is of the opinion, and so finds, that no written objections were filed with regard to said Motion and that good cause exists to grant the Motion. At the time the Motion was called for hearing, no parties appeared to object to the Motion. Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED AND ADJUDGED as follows:

1.  The Motion is GRANTED as set forth herein;

2.  The above-captioned Chapter 7 case of GRF Medspa North Town Mall, LLC; Case No. 08-85315 is hereby dismissed.

3.  Upon entry of this Order, the Remaining Cases will no longer be jointly-administered and any future pleadings, motions or other filings that relate to either of the Remaining Cases must be filed in the applicable Remaining Case unless and until such Remaining Cases are jointly-administered or substantively consolidated by a future Order of the Court.

4.  Notwithstanding this dismissal, all orders previously entered in this Chapter 7 case or any of the Chapter 7 cases of the Jointly-Administered Debtors shall remain in full force and effect.

Pure Med Spa, Brite Smile, Crooks All

I finally started the article I have been planning to write for over a year.  Every two or three days another comment comes in on the company detailing further bad acts.  Over and over people tell stories of failed treatments, closed doors, lost money, and injuries.  I have been called by Jeff Nourse.  I have spoken to employees and customers.  An attorney general called me to ask what I knew about the company’s practices.  A local Portland television station profiled a victim of Pure Med Spa and called to get my input.  A financier in New York called because the CEO and CFO had contacted him to borrow money.  Basic research led him to this site and to me.  Along the way Pure Med changed to Brite Smile, and the stories continued.  More money lost.  More people harmed.

It is time to get the word out that this company is a public health hazard.  When another story popped into my inbox tonight, I stopped reading my book, pulled out the computer, and started working on the story.  The words are flowing.  I am going to write about this disaster of a company who steals its customers’ money, disfigures and scars their bodies, and runs rampant over its employees.  Then I am going to submit the story to every major woman’s magazine in this country.  Hopefully one of them will realize that this story is a big one, and that in order to protect consumers, the story needs to be told so that no one gives them another penny and nobody else gets hurt.

Some people have asked me Why aren’t these people in jail?  They are crooks!  They hurt me!  They stole my money! Why indeed.  Something needs to happen to stop them before someone else gets hurt.  If we can’t jail them, at least I can try and stop them with my words.

Good Riddance, Pure Med Spa

See my previous posts on Pure Med Spa here and here.

I am writing an article on Pure Med Spa.  For info, please click here.

Last summer, I stopped into a local spa to inquire about Botox treatments.  After being told the price, I asked to schedule an appointment.  I was informed that I would need to provide a $50 deposit to hold the appointment, and that if I did not cancel within twenty-four hours of the appointment, I would forfeit the deposit.  Seeing no problem with this policy, I scheduled an appointment for the following week.  The company was Pure Med Spa, also known as GRF Medspa.

That afternoon, I decided I no longer wanted the appointment.  I called to cancel the appointment and to request a refund of my deposit.  I was informed that Pure Med Spa does not provide refunds.  I asked to speak with the manager who was not available.  I left a message and waited angrily for her to contact me.

In the meantime, I did a little statutory research and discovered that my state has an act to protect consumers from shady spa practices.  Among other things, the act allows for full refunds of any procedures if they are cancelled within 72 hours of making an appointment.  To comply with the statute, it is necessary to send a letter stating the intent to cancel and requesting a full refund.  I immediately wrote such a letter and sent it to Pure Med Spa.

That afternoon I spoke with the manager.  After haggling for twenty minutes, I informed her that I had written her company in compliance with the statute and that if I did not receive a refund, I would be filing suit in small claims court.  I also told her I was a writer and would write about my experience on my blog.  I did not think Pure Med Spa would like the negative publicity.

The manager said she would try to get me a refund.  After another wait, she called me back to tell me the fifty dollars would be refunded to my debit card.  I thanked her and hung up.  I did not stop payment on my debit card because I thought the matter would be handled and the cost to stop payment would have been twenty-five dollars.  It seemed a steep price to pay.

Twenty-five dollars would have been better than the nothing I have ever received from Pure Med Spa.  I honestly believe the manager in the store thought her company would refund the money.  Every time I spoke to her she was even more apologetic and her apologies were genuine.

The timing of this situation was not great for me.  I left to move to Hawaii a month afterwards.  I was tracking to see if the refund arrived, and would call to speak to the manager, but because I was not in Portland where the spa was located, I could not go in and work something out in person.

In September, frustrated by the entire situation, I wrote a blog post about my experience.  I stated my intent to sue in small claims court.  I received a lot of responses from other people who had much worse situations than mine.

Through my blog I am able to track the searches people use to find my blog and to see which posts are read the most.  By far the posts on Pure Med Spa get the most attention.  Dozens of people read these posts every day.  I have gotten several comments from readers whose experiences were terrible.  One woman has a droopy face from improperly administered Botox.  Another was an employee who spoke of their terrible treatment of her and other employees.  A graduate student writing on Pure Med Spa contacted me to see if I would forward her information to people who contacted me.  The posts continue to get tons of attention.

I was planning on suing Pure Med Spa in small claims court when I returned to Portland next week.  Unfortunately, I heard the company filed for bankruptcy under the name GRF Medspa.  I looked up their case.  They filed chapter 11 in the district of Georgia.  Their case number is 08-85038-crm.  Their filing date was December 4, 2008.  Also unfortunately, they have not yet filed all the required paperwork.  It is not due until December 19, so I could not view the details of their case.  If they do not file the necessary paperwork within the alloted time, their case will be dismissed.

If you have a potential claim against Pure Med Spa, I urge you to contact the Bankruptcy Court and ask to be listed as a creditor.  When you are notified to file a claim, do so.  It is not difficult to file the claim paperwork.  In some districts it can even be done online.

Also contact the bankruptcy trustee assigned to the case and tell your story.  His name and address are:  Thomas Wayne Dworschak, Office of the U. S. Trustee, Room 362, 75 Spring Street, SW, Atlanta, GA 30303, (404) 331-4437 – ext. 145
Email: thomas.w.dworschak@usdoj.gov.

Write clearly and concisely.  Be sure to him all the information related to your case including dates and the amounts you paid.  Maybe if enough people provide this information, the trustee will pursue a class action claim against these crooks.  In this way perhaps the trustee can collect more to distribute to all their creditors.

Pure Med Spa should be put out of business.  Its CEO and any other associated with ripping people off should go to jail.  I am going to be here writing anything I can to work towards that end.  If you have a story you would like me to post for you, I would be happy to.  A company like Pure Med Spa does not need to be in business.  Let’s do what we can to get rid of them.