A bigger bust without busting the bank balance. Cosmetic surgery clinics are now offering boob jobs on payment plans but women who use them could end up paying twice the original surgery price.
Hire purchase used to be for household electrical goods or furniture, now it’s being applied to body parts, a News Corp investigation has found.
The payment plans make surgery accessible for younger women who may not have accessible wealth stored up in savings or in their equity in home loan.
Women worried about their appearance are being enticed to go under the knife for little more than the monthly cost of a latte a day.
But the interest rates charged by many of the credit providers mean that a boob job could cost almost twice as much on credit as it would if you paid upfront.
“Get pre-approved and enjoy the body you want now!” the finance company coaches on the clinic’s website.
No interest is charged if the loan is fully repaid within six months.
However, a 19.9 per cent rate applies after that and a minimum $150 or 3 per cent of the outstanding balance must be repaid every month.
A loan of $5990 to cover the cost of a breast implant would attract a $349 signup fee and a $5.95 per month administration fee.
A client paying the minimum repayment would pay around $2900 in interest and the fees and interest would total $3700, or almost two thirds as much as the cost of the original procedure.
The Cosmetic Institute’s managing director David Segal says his company has no financial interest in Zip money and not all clients use it.
“People have been doing it on their home loan, extending their mortgage, getting a personal loan,” he says.
“It’s not therapeutic medicine, its enhancement medicine, it’s the medical industry modernising and responding to demand,” he says.
He says it’s evidence that healthcare is growing and evolving and becoming more of a business as companies offer sleep studies, eye surgery and other healthcare not covered by Medicare or insurers.
Gold Coast-based Cosmeditour provides an interest free payment option where the person pays in instalments for travelling to Thailand for surgery or using the business’ Gold Coast service. It charges a non refundable deposit of $500.
Sydney’s Enhance Clinic offers breast enlargements for $5790 with finance available if you pay $2970 upfront and $80 per week for a year.
A spokeswoman for the clinic said under this credit deal through Paysmart a client would end up paying $1,000 in excess of their surgery.
Melbourne’s Elysium Cosmetic and Medical offers payment plans through MAC credit which provides risk rated loans interest from 11.9 per cent.
It is offering breast enlargement for $6990.
Paying back this loan at around $155 per month over five years would see the person outlay $2318 in interest.
The high interest rates being charged for boob jobs on credit has come to light after News Corp revealed earlier this month that there was no formal training requirement for cosmetic surgeons. Any doctors straight out of medical school can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon.
The issue is a growing concern as cut-price breast enlargements in Australia have now become competitive with cosmetic surgery in Thailand boosting the number of surgeries taking place in Australia.
University of Sydney’s Dr Merilyn Walton says cosmetic surgery has “become a commodity, there is advertising, it is outside the bounds of normal surgery”.
Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey says the interest rates being offered for cosmetic surgery loans “are inflated”.
“It really pays to shop around,” he said.
“Don’t assume the company providing the procedure is providing the best credit,” he said.
It was possible to get a personal loan from 6.9 per cent but consumers should always read the terms and conditions because some of these loans could revert to 19 per cent after a period, he said.
The cosmetic surgery industry in Australia is booming with new centres offering cut price boob jobs that make it almost as cheap to get the procedure at home as to travel to Thailand.
The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgeons says about 8000 breast augmentation surgeries, 30,000 liposuction procedures and at least 250,000 ‘wrinkle reduction’ procedures are completed each year in Australia.
It’s estimated the local industry is now worth $1 billion a year.