The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has finalized a final consent order against Ohio-based LCA-Vision, operating as LasikPlus and Joffe MediCenter, related to allegedly deceptive advertisements for LASIK laser eye surgery. Following a public comment period, the order settles the complaint made by the FTC in January 2023.
According to the FTC’s complaint, LCA’s ads tricked customers into believing they could have their vision corrected for less than $300, but in reality, only 6.5% of consumers lured in for consultations were eligible for the advertised promotional price for both eyes. LCA also neglected to tell customers up-front that the promotional price was per-eye only. Despite the ad’s claims, LCA typically quoted patients a price between $1,800 and $2,295 per eye for anyone with worse than near-normal vision (20/40 eyesight, good enough to drive without glasses).
The final order approved by the Commission requires LCA to pay $1.25 million for using the deceptive bait-and-switch advertising. It also bars LCA from the deceptive conduct alleged in the complaint and requires them to make certain clear and conspicuous disclosures when advertising LASIK at a price or discount for which most consumers would not qualify.
The Commission vote approving the final consent order was 3-1, with Commissioner Christine S. Wilson dissenting. The staff attorneys on this matter are Paul Spelman and Rafael Reyneri of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
It is important for companies to be transparent with their advertising to prevent consumers from being deceived. The FTC’s actions will serve as a warning to other companies to be truthful in their advertising.