The jewel in the crown

The jewel in the crown

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IHRB has the most amazing contract. It ought to win ‘The Filthiest Contract Award’. On the surface, it seems mild and innocent. Alas, I must sound the alarm.

Clause 5 of Sam Cohen’s IHRB contract says ‘We are sincerely interested in your satisfaction. We say honestly “If you have diligently followed the hair regrowth treatment program, using the hair hygiene and supplementary products as recommended and faithfully applied the prescribed pharmaceutical solution, following each and every part of the program explained herein, but you have experienced no improvement in hair re-growth after 12 months (other than as a result of pre-existing medical or physical condition, which we did know of) we both agree that you will receive a refund of: $____’ Please read this a few times to see if you can spot the con.

Here is a clue: we must ask about the line that says, ‘other than as a result of pre-existing medical or physical condition, which we did know of’. This is the sting in the scorpion’s tail. This is the nerve-centre of Sam Cohen’s slimy contract. Here is how it was performed before my very eyes while Sam Cohen tried to bamboozle me.

Step one: Sam babbles-on, with thirty minutes of diatribe, and then gives me the impression that, of all the companies in the world, only he has a secret formula containing Indian Curries (herbs and rubbish), developed by him after 35 years, and it comes from India where he developed it. What a hero. He says that he has never had a complaint. He says that all his customers are happy. He insisted that he has a 130% success rate. He said that he has never had to issue a refund. He gloats about sending other companies broke. He says that the industry is filled with shams, scams, lies, and snake oil. He believes that he is exposing them because he is the only honest one.

Then he said to me, ‘You have nothing to lose. You get a 100% money-back guarantee. No other company does this. No doctor does this,’ (saying that he is more skilled than doctors and that he has something they do not have, and he knows all about hair, whereas no doctor and no dermatologist has a clue). He adds, ‘They come out of university and they know shit. They can’t give you a guarantee because they know that their products and medications don’t work, whereas I know mine does and that is why I can give this guarantee. No-one else can give you a guarantee — they aren’t stupid. They know they can’t fix hair loss. They just prescribe stuff like Propecia. If that works, why would I be in business with thousands of customers? Do you think my customers are stupid? I have high-court judges, doctors, even surgeons, look… doctors come to me, and policemen and gay people and women, and priests and nuns, and surgeons, they all come to me, look… even people who tried Ashley & Martin and Advance Hair Studio, they all eventually come to me, look… ‘ He shows me files, photos, names, contracts — without the lightest care about people’s privacy. Right there in front of me is their name, address, phone number, age, occupation, photos. I have a good memory, and I have contacted some of those people to ask for their input.

Step two: With a promise of a money-back guarantee, I let him take photos of my head. I wanted to obscure my face (fearing that my photos will one day be plastered all over his wall or in his ads) but he refused. He wanted to be able to know who’s who. Therefore, seeing how disrespectful he is about people’s privacy (he was telling me who was pregnant, who was gay, who had prostate cancer, who had problems with his penis and can’t get it up) I inserted a condition that he signed a note at the base of the contract that said, ‘Photos not for release to anyone’.

I insisted that Sam realise that my photos were not to be shown to anyone, simply because he was showing me everyone's private files. Upon our dispute, one year later, when he would not refund my money, and we both called the police, he called two of his clients/henchmen to his office to forcibly evict me and he showed them my photos to prove that my hair had grown (which it hadn't). I reminded him that he has no right to show my files to strangers, and he said, 'I don't care. I am going to show everyone'.

I did not want Sam to show my photos to anyone. I did not want to end up on his wall. Anyway, no such luck. His Indian Curries did not work.

Via his saintly goodness, he offered me a discount from $4900 to $3900 to $3700 plus extra products. With a 100% guarantee, it’s a no-brainer. I signed the contract and stupidly, I gave him my American Express card, which his receptionist took next door for processing. (The Amex I gave him did not have my real name on it. It was a valid card all the same, and he received his money, but at that point, he did not know my real name, and it did not matter. As a result of my public profile, I use a different name when dealing with the public, for security and privacy reasons, especially when I do not want people (such as taxi drivers) to know where I live. My name is more famous than my face, and many times people look at my name or passport and comment that they know me. While I love meeting fans, I dare say that some do take liberties, so the less they know, the better.)

While the Amex transaction was being processed, he prepared a manila folder. Then, while chatting, he asked me about my line of work. I said that Information Technology is one of my areas (not telling him about my public profile) so he asked me to assist him with his computer. (See what I mean. Liberties. He wants my expertise at no charge, but his costs $3700.) There and then, I fixed his computer and taught him how to copy files, how to transfer a video from his camera, how to organise his system, how to use his special applications for the camera and the printer, and I corrected links, activated a program, backed-up some files, and several other things, all the while, giving me insights into his operation and his private life (at another time I was giving him tips about a court case which he was to attend). So I know more about him than he realises. He wanted me to return to overhaul his entire computer system. I suggested that he find someone locally. Little did he know that I was a programmer from the age of fourteen. I did not want the temptation of curiosity. I can swallow a computer in one gulp. Letting me loose on a computer is not a good idea. It is difficult to avert one’s eyes when one is clicking away with a mouse. I gave him some advice on several occasions.

Step three: By the time his receptionist had returned, it was all signed, sealed, and delivered. All ready to go. But wait… what about the jewel in the crown? What was the sting in the scorpion’s tail? Here it comes. Brace yourself and don’t forget this clause: ‘other than as a result of pre-existing medical or physical condition, which we did know of’. This is how he proves a pre-existing medical condition. He identifies it. And what is that pre-existing condition? Wait for it… hair loss, thinning hair, and baldness. So, pre-existing hair loss voids the contract. Too daft for words!

This is not a photo of my head. It is from a photo library just to illustrate the point. Sam circles all areas that show thinning hair or hair loss or baldness, and he voids his own guarantee, in front of your eyes, and he asks you to sign that you agree! Beyond belief!

Sam pulled out a rubber stamp, and he started stomping all over my photos. He said nothing. He just stomped away, under casual conversation as if he was finalising his paperwork for filing. I had no idea what the stamp said. Then the scorpion handed me a pen and asked me to sign here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. ‘What’s all that for?’ (He had already asked me to sign one the pages earlier, to acknowledge that the photos were of me. By the way, other clients have told me that the endured a slight different sequence, which you can read about here.)

He replied, ‘Oh that’s just normal procedure. I do this with all my clients.’ The bloody cheek. The stamp said something like ‘No hair regrowth can be expected in this area’. I do not remember the exact phrase, and the photocopy I have cannot be deciphered, but I know most certainly that the stamp said words to the effect of ‘Do not expect anything in this area to grow. It is outside of any promise I made to you.’ I protested. I held out my Amex receipt and said, ‘No, this is not what we agreed. If this is what you are going to do, then I want you to reverse the charge.’ Sam insisted that this is normal. All his clients sign this. This is just to protect him from the loony clients who are delusional and who think that he can return their hair to how it was when they were eighteen years old. He said, ‘I’m not saying that nothing will grow there. I am just protecting myself because people are unreasonable. They will expect miracles.’

First, note that he was now intimidating me, as if I was being unreasonable. ‘But Sam, I came here because this area is the area in which I need hair to grow, and the only reason I am here, is to grow hair where it is thinning, yet your stamp says that “I do not want” and “I do not expect” and “I cannot expect” hair to grow there. Why then am I here?’ So I said that I will not proceed, and he said, ‘Well, what do you expect it to say? I need to protect myself because if your hair does not look the way it looked when you were eighteen, you will think that I did not do a good job for you.’ Far out, I never mentioned anything about returning to my teens? What a joke. So I said that I will either need a reversal or he can agree to my amended terms which were written on the bottom of the page and which Sam signed, saying, ‘The client understands that he does not expect a full 100% recovery of hair. He does expect a noticeable improvement.’

Sam agreed to my terms. Otherwise he would have lost the sale. He might not have reversed the charge, but I could have asked Amex to file a dispute. Mind you, Amex has no back bone. After twelve months, when Sam's treatment did not work, Amex would not assist me. The bastards. So I cancelled my Amex after twenty years with them! When I cancelled the card, some Amex idiot called me and asked, 'What can we do to keep your business?' I told him that I wanted someone with a brain to call me. No-one has called from Amex, despite me cutting my cards and sending them to the home of their CEO Mr Pierric Beckert. No response from him. Good riddance after twenty years. Amex did not give a hoot that the likes of IHRB is a merchant. They said that he was a valued client, and I was a valued client. I said that I do not wish to be a member of any organisation that harbours and supports the likes of Sam Cohen.

Click here to read about the American Express saga.

If it were not for this hand-written clause that I added, necessitating me to ask for a copy of this sheet, Sam would not have given me a photocopy. I doubt that any client walks out with a photocopy of the stamped photos. He just givens them the photos without that stamp. He said that all his clients have signed this, even judges and doctors. Well, on his office walls as well as in advertisements, and on his website, we see photos, but never does he show the real photos that have this stamp that voids the contract, and on which his clients would have foolishly forfeited their rights. A client’s acceptance of ‘the stamp’ means that they have agreed to be abused, and conned out of their money. What in the name of buggery bullocks does it mean to be given a money-back guarantee to grow hair, when the areas that we want hair to grow, are the areas that Sam says are not covered under the guarantee. Is there any sanity left in the world? We go to him because we have a thinning patch, so he says something like, ‘I can work miracles. It works all the time. I am the only honest one. I have helped 130% of all people who have come to me.’ With the next breath, he says, something like, ‘Give me $3700 but note that this area cannot expect any re-growth.’ Dear Hair Specialist: in which area are we to expect regrowth? On our toenails? Wake up Mr Cohen. The carnival is over.

Sam takes between eight to twelve photos. And on each one, whether it be showing the top, back, or sides, he will circle it with a W-I-D-E sweep to cover most of the head, and then he stamps it. What a dastardly underhanded conniving trick. I really cannot understand this. Anyway, fat lot of good my additional clause did, because he still refused to refund my money. So he has forced me to prepare a legal case against him, and I would like to see how he defends all his actions in court, and to the Health Department, and to the TGA and a range of other bodies with whom I am communicating. Sure, I have nothing else to do. I have nothing better to do. When idiots press my button, they command all my attention and all the resources at my disposal.

The photo above is not of me. It is just to illustrate how Sam circles the photos. My copy is only in black and white. Here it is below. I placed the red dots just so that you can see the circumference of his wide sweep that covers most of the head. He had other photos of me, from the side, top, back etc. All circled, and all stamped.

These are two of the eight or so photos that Sam stamped and expected me to sign to agree that I cannot expect any hair to grow in that area: the very area that was thinning. So where, Mr Cohen (of the so-called Institute) did you expect me to expect hair to grow?

By the way, if you would like to know where Sam really believes your hair will grow, just read Clause 1 which says, ‘Please note that in some cases the commencement of regular hygiene usage and the application of the prescribed treatment can cause scalp irritation, scalp flaking or peeling, burning sensation and very rarely some excess hair growth on face, arms and body.’ I just love the facts that he features this in bold text. The genius behind the madness.

So there you have it. He offers a guarantee that your hair will grow. And it might, but not where you expect it to grow. After twelve months on his program, using is mystical topical solution (not any of the other medications because my doctor and my dermatologist advised against it) Sam kept insisting that my hair was always improving. When I disagreed, he said, ‘I only ever promised that you will have hair growth, and you have. Your hair has grown.’ He was referring to the other areas on my head that were never affected by hair loss, where naturally, hair would grow normally. Sam himself told me that an average head of hair, even for people who are not thinning, will lose lots of hair every day, and grow lots of hair every day. Hair does grow, and hair does fall out, all as part of the natural cycle. On thinning scalps, if for example we lose 50 strands, we only grow back 45. A thinning scalp still loses and still grows, but out of proportion. At that rate, thinning inevitably leads to baldness or very obvious deterioration. Yet, because 45 grow back, he is claiming that they were his babies. He is ignoring that 45 would have grown back regardless of any treatment, and that his job was to fix the problem. But you can’t reason with a brick wall. He had a rehearsed retort for anything I said. He was one step ahead of me all the time — not with anything that made sense. He had a response, just like an echo chamber comes back with a response. No thought goes into it whatsoever. And if you fluster him with any logic, he will resort to abuse and violence.

I protested, saying, ‘What do you mean my hair has grown. It did not. My bald patch became worse. It has worsened in the last year.’

‘All I promised was growth, and some hair grew.’

Well, spank me with limp celery. In his delusional state, Sam believes that he has met his obligations because a few strands of hair did grow on my head. The fact that none grew in the affected area, matters not. Hair growth is hair growth, and some hair grew on my head, so as far as he is concerned, the case is closed. I called his competitors and his former employers and they laughed, saying, ‘That’s the Sam we know.’

And my dear reader, can you see why I am livid by this shonk who occupies an office in Pitt Street Sydney? Can you see why I am taking this matter further? I would be a bad citizen to allow this kind of alleged scam to continue. No-one warned me about this so-called hair specialist. I feel that I must warn others.

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