CHARLOTTE, N.C. - As a race boat driver, Mike Movinski lives life fast. When he felt his energy slowing down, he thought he needed a testosterone boost.
“I knew something was wrong,” he said. “So I made a call to the Men’s Clinic.”
The Carolina Men’s Clinic, which also goes by the North Carolina Men’s Clinic and Elevate Men’s Clinic, has locations throughout the state. Their ads tell men to “stop the madness” with other pills because their results are “guaranteed” or your “money back.” The clinic promises men will “be yourself again” with results in “12 minutes or you pay nothing. Their guarantees, the fine print says, only applies to the initial office visit and results are “not typical.”
Movinski went in to the Charlotte office for a $99 consultation but says it was more of a “sales pitch.”
“I’ve not seen my blood work,” said Movinski, who says he has been asking to see his lab results for months. “It’s like they’re trying to force me some medicine.”
Movinski says he was pressured into buying a year’s supply of testosterone cream without even knowing what was wrong with him. He says he verbally agreed to pay if his lab results showed he needed low testosterone medication.
He put down a $1099 deposit. He was charged $3098, records show.
“I think it’s dead wrong,” he said.
Another patient, who asked not be identified, says he was also signed up for a year’s worth of medication that he didn’t want or need. He says the clinic refused to give him a refund until FOX 46 started asking questions and got results. The patient said he had to sign an agreement that he would get a refund on the condition he “not say anything about what went on in my case.”
“This was more like bad car salesman-ish,” said Thomas Babb, as he lay on his couch in pain.
Babb is now suffering from nerve damage and could use the money the Men’s Clinic is now trying to get from him. He says he was pressured into signing up for a year’s supply of testosterone and erectile dysfunction medication as part of a bundle, before his blood tests came back.
“I’m not really having ED issues but if it’s part of the package and you said they work well together, sure, OK, why not?,” Babb recalled saying. “You go in for one thing and they try to sell you on everything.”
Babb says staff used aggressive and high-pressure sales tactics. When he told them he couldn’t afford the $4907 price, he was told that wouldn’t be a problem.
“‘You’d be a great candidate, we could give you a deal,’” he recalled being told. “‘We’ll finance it for you.’”
Records show the clinic signed Babb up for a loan through GreenSky on the spot with a 29.99 percent interest rate. Babb says he had no idea about that until he received a statement in the mail showing the loan will now cost him $11,413.62.
In North Carolina, the maximum rate lenders can charge on small loans is 30 percent.
“They charged me $11,000 for medicine I didn’t want, need, or even received,” he said. “It’s a total scam, this company. Man, I got no more words.”
Babb says he signed the contract to “get out” of the office. He thought there would be a “cooling off period” and he could cancel. When he tried to cancel his contract and loan three days later, he says he was told he was “stuck” - even though his lab results later showed he doesn’t have low-T, he said.
“If it was about healthcare it would have been, ‘OK these are your options when your bloodwork comes back, we’ll get you another appointment to see what the best situation is for you,’” he said.
Nearly a year later, Babb says the medicine never came but the debt collectors are calling and his credit has taken a huge hit.
“I’m never paying this thing,” Babb said.
FOX 46 reviewed nearly two dozen complaints filed with North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein’s office. The complaints are mostly from men who complain they are locked into contracts they can’t get out of, paying thousands of dollars on unwanted and unnecessary medicine.
One medical provider says prescribing a patient a year’s supply of new medication is not only uncommon, but also potentially dangerous, because you don’t know how they will react or if it will even be effective. Most prescriptions are written for 30-90 days.
“Is this a company you would want to look into further and investigate?,” FOX 46 investigator Matt Grant asked Stein.
“We’ve reached out to the company and we’re waiting to hear what they have to say,” said Stein. “We want to understand what the sales process is like for the folks who have complained to our office and we’re going to go from there.”
Stein says you should get a second opinion and read over contracts very carefully.
“I think any time somebody signs a long-term contract, they should be absolutely certain they want what they’re getting,” said Stein. “Because getting out of contracts is very difficult.”
As a general rule, a contract is binding as soon as you sign it. In North Carolina, there are some exceptions to that, but none that apply here.
You can learn more about canceling a contract in North Carolina by clicking here.
After weeks of asking for comment, the Men’s Clinic responded with a statement, saying they could not comment on specific cases due to patient privacy laws.
“Patients are provided care only after consenting to the treatment plan, the charges for treatment, and only after signed orders by our licensed medical providers,” said administrator Robert Silver. “We are proud of our outstanding patient care.”
Movinski cut open the box from Stanley Specialty Pharmacy and took out two bottles of gel he doesn’t even want. He says he was told he could get a partial refund of his $3098 bill if he deletes all of his negative online reviews and tells Stein’s office there is no issue.
“They basically blew me off,” he said, “and were firm about me erasing everything.”
He says he never felt like a valued patient, just an easy mark.
“When the door shut, you could hear [a staff member] say to someone else, ‘This was the easiest sales job I’ve ever made,” Movinski recalled. “I thought I was going to a doctor not a car lot.”
Carolina Men’s Clinic Statement
“We have successfully treated thousands of patients over the past six years. We are proud of our outstanding patient care, especially restoring our patient’s sexual health and well-being Patient feedback and surveys demonstrate a high degree of satisfaction by our patients. Patients are provided care only after consenting to the treatment plan, the charges for treatment, and only after signed orders by our licensed medical providers with oversight by our Medical Director."
"Although infrequent, situations can arise wherein a patient desires to terminate their treatment and request a refund. We strive to treat every patient fairly and normally resolve these situations expeditiously and to the satisfaction of our patients. Due to the confidential nature of our medical practice, and to protect our patient’s privacy, we cannot disclose specific details of a treatment plan or our discussions with any patient concerning his treatment, the terms of payment for the treatment or any refund. We believe this is the best course of action to preserve excellent patient care and treat every patient fairly and will continue to do so in the future.”