Consider a dispute with a cosmetic clinic whose recommended treatment has resulted in no change or improvement, despite costing £4,000. This is in the UK, Merseyside.
The client has been advised to send a letter of claim to them, and then to issue court proceedings via the Government’s Small Claims Track Online System if they don't respond.
However, the consent form signed by the client prior to the treatment included the following clauses: 'I understand that no warranty or guarantee of specific results have been made to me' and 'I understand my cheeks/jowls may not achieve the desired improvement anticipated.'
Would a claim be worth pursuing when the client has signed these clauses? The client has also been advised that it is 'arguable that those warranties are legally enforceable for the clinic, especially as this is a business to consumer contract.'
This completely conflicted what they were saying to the client in person during the consultation. They didn't mention to the client verbally once that there might be no change and assured the client that the procedure they were recommending would definitely help with addressing the areas the client was concerned with. They did however say that the client would need a 're-treat' 4 weeks after initial procedure to touch up. This would cost a minimum of £500 although likely more and would have involved more of the same treatment. The client however didn't attend this as the client had seen zero impact from the first round of treatment and did not want to spend more on a treatment that had already cost so much and resulted in no change. The client also saw a review somebody had left for the clinic, who had had the same treatment, seen no results, paid more at the clinic's recommendation of more of the same treatment, still seen no results, paid more, still not results etc. The client did not want to have same experience.
However, the clinic is now saying that, because the full treatment was not completed (the post 4 week 're-treat'), the results will have been affected and they cannot judge the treatment effectively. However, after just 2-3 weeks, once the swelling subsided, it was already clear there had been no improvement. They are also saying that 'there is a considered understanding, that there will be a 40% drop after the first treatment and this has been communicated with you.' The procedure was a 'thread lift' wherein temporary sutures are used to produce a subtle but visible "lift" in the skin. This is supposed to last up to 2 years. This '40% drop' was not communicated to the client during the consultation or procedure, or anywhere in the consent form. Furthermore, any 'lift' that was seen beyond the immediate swelling was gone within 3 weeks.
They offered the treatment within an hour of the client's initial consultation, really not giving time to think it through or research the producedure. The client rather based the decision on what they were saying about the procedure (which was that it would definitely address the client's concerns).
So my question is - with these clauses being present in the consent form, is there any point in pursuing a claim? As mentioned above, I've been told that it is 'arguable that those warranties are legally enforceable for the clinic, especially as this is a business to consumer contract.' The client is wary of adding more legal costs to the already large amount spent at the clinic if it is likely the claim has no weight in court due to the consent form.