CINCINNATI, Ohio—The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued an order requiring Ohio-based LCA-Vision, doing business as LasikPlus and Joffe MediCenter, to pay $1.25 million for using deceptive bait-and-switch advertising to trick consumers into believing they could have their vision corrected for less than $300. In reality, only 6.5 percent of consumers lured in for consultations were eligible for the advertised promotional price for both eyes. According to the FTC, despite the advertising claims, for consumers with less than near-normal vision, the company typically quoted a price between $1,800 and $2,295 per eye.

In some ads LCA, the largest nationwide LASIK surgery chain, also neglected to tell consumers up-front that the promotional price was per-eye only.

“LasikPlus lured customers in with a low-price offer that almost no one actually got, and today’s order requires the company to fix its advertising and compensate consumers for their wasted time,” said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection. “Especially as costs rise, the commission will not tolerate companies that trick people into thinking they’ll save money on products or services.”

LCA-Vision operates vision centers in several states, performing procedures including LASIK surgery. While LASIK typically costs consumers about $2,000 per eye, between 2015 and 2020 LCA’s LasikPlus centers ran ads on television, radio, in print, in shopping flyers, and digitally offering the procedure for a promotional price of as low as $250. During much of the same time its Joffe MediCenters ran ads offering to provide LASIK surgery to consumers for $295. But both the LasikPlus and Joffe MediCenter ads failed to adequately disclose the stringent requirements consumers had to meet to get the discounted promotional price.

In addition to paying $1.25 million to redress consumers, LCA will be barred from the deceptive conduct alleged in the complaint and required to make certain clear and conspicuous disclosures when advertising LASIK at a price or discount for which most consumers would not qualify. These disclosures include whether the price is per eye, the price most consumers pay per eye, and any requirements or qualifications needed to get the offered price or discount.