Many women who had breast implants over the last few years have been worried about the news regarding the PIP implants. These are the French manufacturers – Poly Implants Prothèses or PIPs who used untested silicon destined for mattresses for the implants, and not the safe silicon commonly used by reputable cosmetic surgeons. At the time of this news story going to press, it was estimated that some 50,000 British women may be at risk of having these type of implants but since then, the figure has unfortunately risen. This is because the implants were not only used in France, where many British women may have gone to get their breast enhancements, but were also sold to other countries as a cheaper alternative to the more expensive brands of implants. It does not necessarily follow then, that if you went to a country other than France for your implants that you are safe from the dangerous silicon. Therefore, any woman who has had breast enhancement surgery in the last 8 to 10 years could be at risk.
However, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel regarding money for those women who paid for their breast implants by credit card. There is a small legal loophole which might be able to help those women who are now facing the enormous, and sometimes impossible cost of replacing their faulty PIP breast implants. Anyone who has paid for goods on their credit card and the goods turn out to be faulty, are entitled to receive their money back. Under Consumer Law, in section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, the law states that a bank or financial institution are actually obligated to give you your money back if you bought defective goods with your credit card. Sounds simple enough but how do you go about asking for a refund? This rule of law is only valid if the company who sold you the defective goods refuse to refund you. So you have to show adequate evidence of this. Therefore what you should do if you are sure you have received PIP implants is write to the clinic and ask for a refund of your payment to them. If they then refuse, copy the letter they send to you and send it to your credit card company explaining that you have bought faulty PIP breast implants and that the clinic refuse to refund you.
Another reason the credit card company may refund you is if the original clinic has gone out of business, or if you cannot contact them i.e. you do not receive any return mail from your enquiries. So your three reasons for claiming back a refund are:
1. The product is faulty and the clinic will not pay up.
2. The clinic have gone out of business and you have no way of contacting them
3. No one replies to your enquiries.
Most credit card companies will try it on the first time you request a refund but persevere, this is your health we are talking about, it is important that they understand the severity of the matter.
If you are worried about whether you have the PIP implants your first port of call should be to visit your GP and discuss it with him/her. Here you can check your medical records to see exactly which kind of implants you have. Be aware that you are entitled to view your medical records for free. If you have noticed any swelling, red marks or lumps, changes in shape, any pain or tenderness then see your GP immediately. If you want to have your implants removed but the clinic refuses to do so then the NHS will remove them (not replace) if they deem there is a medical need. To have them replaced you will have to pay again which is why you should contact your credit card company if this is the way you paid for the original ones. Consult the clinic where you had them done first, they may replace them free of charge, depending on the situation. For updates on the PIP implants you can register with the Good Surgeon Guide Breast Register. By registering you are giving yourself a peace of mind knowing that you will be notified of any future recalls, as well as receive the latest news on breast surgery and PIP controversy.