I first started with Sam Cohen at IHRB in 2006 when, despite my cynicism due to bad experiences with other companies in the past, I fell for Sam’s hype. This was predominantly due to the money back guarantee, which Sam said was based strongly on my opinion (as the client) as to the effectiveness of the program, meaning that in the end, I would be the judge, and if I were not happy, I would receive a refund. Throughout my contact with Sam, he continuously referred to all other competitors as rip-offs and scams and that, according to Sam, they were all useless. He said that his treatment was the only program that would work.
Sam stated at the outset that due to the amount of existing hair loss, I needed more expensive products and that it would take a couple of years for me to see results and that I would need to stick with it during that time. I questioned him on how his program was different to Ashley and Martin’s because the products were similar (and he said that he effectively established the hair regrowth program for Ashley and Martin when he worked there for that company as an employee). Sam said that his current treatment was different because at IHRB, he uses Retin-A in combination with Minoxidil and his exclusive “Indian curry powder” in the topical solution. He would not say what these curries were but that they were an essential part of the solution. The shampoo, conditioner and Derma-clean appeared remarkably similar to the Ashley and Martin products I had previous experience with. Except that I did notice that Sam’s products came with a hefty additional price tag. I effectively signed up due to the money back guarantee and his convincing argument of the use of a multi-solution approach involving topical solution as well as prescribed medications.
I then went to my GP to get a prescription for Minoxidil and Proscar as part of the program. My GP was adamant that the use of Minoxidil was not advised. He said that I should not take Minoxidil because I did not have the condition for which it is designed (hypertension). My doctor also explained the possible side effects of Proscar. Due to my doctor’s advice, I spoke to Sam Cohen explaining my medical concerns of taking Minoxidil and Sam said that this would not affect the program and it would not affect the guarantee associated with the program.
I started Proscar and then after 6 months of taking it, I had some medical complications of leg oedema for which my doctors and specialists could not find any cause, except possibly due to the Proscar. Because the specialist had suggested that the Proscar may be related to my leg oedema, I stopped the Proscar upon my specialist’s advice.
Sam had during this time continually reinforced the “safety” of taking Minoxidil and contradicted my GP’s opinion. He encouraged me to take Minoxidil irrespective of the medical opinion. Due to Sam’s confidence, I actually caved into his harassment and I started taking Minoxidil instead of Proscar to maintain the multimodal approach. My leg oedema continued and eventually my GP and specialists strongly advised me to stop taking Minoxidil. They said that my medical health and safety should be of greater concern than cosmetic appearance. I was frustrated and annoyed during this time because of Sam’s “medical opinion” regarding these medications despite my concerns and reluctance, especially when it later became clear that these medications were causing complications.
I continued the program with IHRB and Sam was aware that I was unable to take any of the prescribed medications. Sam said that this would not affect the program. At each and every appointment at Sam’s office, I reinforced to him that I could not see any improvement and Sam continually reinforced to me that it would take years until changes would be evident. This convinced me to buy more of his expensive products each year at his exorbitant prices. Occasional photos were taken in the usual manner, leaving my combed hair intact, as opposed to the initial photos where the hair was ruffled up and made to look even more sparse. I noticed that Sam did take “notes” at each appointment and I never realised what these were in aid of, although I was asked to sign these at the end of each appointment. Only now do I think these may be considered his “proof” that I was happy with the program. Sadly, I do not believe that he wrote my subjective concerns. He did not take note of my concerns or feedback. Instead, Sam’s “notes” were always positively worded statements, saying that my hair was becoming being thicker or was growing well, even though I knew at the time that this was all not true.
Finally, in 2008 I had had enough and said to Sam that I could see no changes and no improvement to my hair. We had a discussion over the photos, comparing the ‘before and after’ shots. Where it was obvious to me that there was no improvement and where in fact I could see more hair loss, Sam was adamant that I had improved.
We were at an impasse and he suggested that I take the photos home and show my family and friends to determine what they thought. No one I showed the pictures to felt there had been improvements. I returned to Sam in January 2009 and stated that I wanted my money back. He said that I had needed to claim that in the first 12 months otherwise the contract was void. He said that because I had not asked for a refund within the initial twelve-month period, I had effectively accepted that I had benefited from the alleged improvements he said had taken place (and which I know was not the case). I felt that this was not clear and I said to Sam that at no stage did he or anyone from his office tell me that there was any significance to the 12-month mark, or that I had to make that decision back then. I told Sam that I had continually mentioned to him that I saw no improvements at any stage. I told him that I felt that the contract should be honoured because he knew that I had never benefited from his treatment. The fact that he had continually told me it would take years, further strengthened my argument because I had no reason to call a halt to the treatment after 12 months. He finally offered me a $2000 payment as a compromise. I was tempted by this, but given that my initial payment was $4800, I did not accept his offer, because I wanted to think about it and consider my options.
I later spoke to a solicitor regarding the contract and he felt that I had grounds for a case and that I should be entitled to the full $4800 refund and possibly more given the annual amounts paid for more of the IHRB products. Despite further communication requesting a full refund of the entire first payment, Sam has always refused.
[Everything in this story was sent by Andre. Only his name and photo have been changed to protect his privacy.]