Thursday 15 March 2012

Card firm in breast implant refund


A Midlands woman who was given PIP breast implants that ruptured has recouped the full cost of the surgery from her credit card company. She said Lloyds TSB refunded her £3,700 on the grounds that she was sold faulty goods. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) said the move should offer a "ray of hope" to other patients with PIP implants. The woman, a hairdresser in her 40s from the Midlands who does not want to be identified, underwent a breast enlargement operation in 2008. She discovered she had been given PIP implants last September when she found a lump and went to a breast cancer clinic. "I was quite worried, but I was told it was just a rupture of my implants. It was only later I realised there was a health risk. I was really quite poorly with it," she said. The woman had the implants removed on the NHS in October, and contacted a firm of solicitors to see if she could get her money back. Because the company that performed the surgery had gone into administration, she was advised to check if she paid by credit card. Having discovered that she did use plastic to pay for the procedure, she applied to Lloyds TSB for a refund and received the money in full three months later. The woman said the credit card company were "wonderful" and stressed that she only had to fill in one form to get the reimbursement. "If I had gone through the solicitors they would have taken a sizeable part of it. Women need to be aware they can easily do it themselves," she said. Fazel Fatah, a consultant plastic surgeon and president of BAAPS, said: "We're delighted that at least a proportion of women who chose this method of payment should now have recourse to securing reimbursement for what are clearly defective, substandard goods." Around 40,000 women in the UK received implants manufactured by the now-closed French company Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP), mostly in private UK clinics. The implants were filled with non-medical grade silicone intended for use in mattresses. Lloyds TSB said it could not comment on the woman's individual case. But a spokeswoman for the bank said: "One of the advantages of using a credit card to pay for goods and services is that consumers can make a Section 75 claim if there has been a misrepresentation or breach of contract, providing the cost is above £100 and less than £30,000. Every Section 75 claim is different and each one will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis."