From buttocks to Botox - can you complain about cosmetic surgery?

What are your rights if your cosmetic surgery experience goes wrong? Photo: Steve Adams
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What are your rights if your cosmetic surgery experience goes wrong? Photo: Steve Adams . - Credit: Copyright Archant Norfolk.

I've seen and heard quite a lot over the years, so it takes quite a bit to shock me.

But last week I found myself with a group of intelligent, articulate people - who proceeded to tell me all about their Botox parties.

If you've not had the pleasure, it's where a group of friends invite an 'expert' round to a party to inject them with Botox - or do it themselves (yikes!).

I'm all for people doing whatever makes them feel good (as long as it's legal), but injecting a deadly compound in to your face with no medical supervision while drinking cocktails isn't a great idea as far as I'm concerned.

And no, as we were forced to explain, you're not covered under consumer rules and regulations if something goes wrong.


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What are my rights and can I complain?

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The cosmetic surgery industry makes billions of pounds every year – but its sales practices in some sectors have been questioned.

And this is where you do have rights. You're able to complain about regulated plastic surgeons through Resolver.

And you can complain about finance agreements too if they're unfair.

The cosmetic surgery industry is regulated by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS).

If you're considering surgery, check with them first to see if your surgeon is on their register.

If he or she isn't, don't do it. If they are, it doesn't guarantee happiness, but BAAPS members adhere to industry practices and regulations and have their own complaints procedure.

At Resolver, we think you're lovely just the way you are. But if you do decide to have a cosmetic surgery procedure, here are a few tips:

1. Make sure your surgeon is registered with BAAPS (the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons). And ask to meet them to discuss your surgery first. So many people don't do this, which is scary.

2. Check testimonials, photos of patients and ask if you can speak to one – this is usually possible.

3. Don't be fooled by the sales patter. A good surgeon's staff should tell you about recovery times, risks and other key facts and they should take the time to find out why you want surgery.

4. Never go with 'limited time offers'. This is just bonkers. If you're being time pressured into having surgery, the answer should always be no.

5. Check that agreement. You don't need to take credit out through your surgeons. Shop around for a better offer – but ideally, save up the cash yourself so you've got time to think about the procedure before you have it done.

Paying by credit

I often write about section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, a really useful piece of legislation that gives you rights for things you've paid for on a credit card or some kinds of credit loans over £100 and under £30,000.

This means that if the goods or services you've paid for don't turn up or happen – or they're misrepresented – you can ask the credit provider for a refund.

There's a real debate about whether this applies for cosmetic surgery – but in theory you can do.

And remember your consumer rights don't cover not being happy with the end results.

• James Walker is the founder of resolver.co.uk

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