Lawsuit brought against Illinois hair regrowth institute

Nick Rees Nov. 17, 2009, 3:47pm


CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - A lawsuit has been filed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan against a Chicago-based hair growth company that allegedly made false statements based on unsubstantiated claims that its services could aid in regrowing consumers' hair.

Natural Hair Growth Institute is also alleged to have failed to provide consumers with full refunds for its service, which carries an average cost of $8,000-$12,000. Madigan's lawsuit also names Steve Bennis, the company's owner, as a defendant.

"The defendants in this case use highly sensational marketing slogans to convince consumers to pay thousands of dollars for a service that simply isn't proven to be effective by modern science," Madigan said.

In marketing materials, Natural Hair Growth Institute claims that it can "closely determine the expected six-month outcome for each individual" and that its service is "the first effective hair growth program that guarantees to regrow your hair naturally."

Natural Hair Growth Institute uses laser therapy, scalp massage and topical hair products that it says will help consumers in regrowing hair within six months. A 100 percent refund is promised by the defendants if consumers are not satisfied with their results.

Madigan's lawsuit alleges that the treatment method used by the defendants fails to produce the results advertised and that the company then refuses to provide full refunds to consumers after repeated requests. Nine consumer complaints have been filed against the Natural Hair Growth Institute, which also has locations in Deerfield, Ill., and Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., the attorney general's Health Care Bureau has reported.

The lawsuit also alleges that the company falsely claims that its "Orbit Laser Light" treatment is similar to laser light therapy that has been in use in Europe for 25 years and that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently approved for use in the United States. The lawsuit claims that the defendants' laser light is not the same as the FDA-approved one.

Madigan is seeking a permanent ban for the defendant from operating in Illinois in her lawsuit. She also requests full restitution for affected consumers and civil penalties of $50,000 for each violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act.

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