Sunday 24 February 2019

'Morally dubious'? - now women can pay for €5,700 breast implants in monthly instalments

Move by clinic criticised by financial adviser

Stock image
Stock image
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

A row has erupted after a cosmetic surgery clinic made an offer to women to pay for breast implant surgery in 24 or 36 monthly instalments.

Paul Merriman, head of Dublin-based Pax Financial Planning, called the offer by River Medical "morally dubious".

The offer allows a client to spread out payments for the cosmetic surgery using financing company Flexi-Fi.

But the chief executive of Flexi-Fi, PJ Byrne, last night hit back strongly at the criticism, saying it was about choice for individual women and pointing out the company must adhere to strict lending rules.

In a sure sign that the Celtic Tiger is back, women who want to enhance their bust are being given the option to go under the knife now and pay later.

River Medical tweeted an advertisement on Friday offering the scheme.

Paul Merriman, head of Dublin-based Pax Financial Planning, called the offer by River Medical 'morally dubious'. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Paul Merriman, head of Dublin-based Pax Financial Planning, called the offer by River Medical 'morally dubious'. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The surgery costs €5,700, according to the company's website.

"Looking to build that bust this year? Thanks to our friends at @FlexiFi_IRL, you can now spread the cost of your breast augmentation treatment over 24 or 36 months. Book your consultation today," said the advertisement.

Among the topics discussed at the consultation are "tear drop versus round" implants, according to River Medical.

Mr Merriman questioned the ethics of the offer, saying it was targeted at those on lower-incomes, such as young women.

"You're on very morally dubious ground if you're going to be targeting this kind of thing at people with lower disposable income, like younger people," he said. "Putting this stuff on tick is just a bad idea. If you can't afford it, just don't get it."

Mr Merriman said services such as Flexi-Fi, which offers interest-free, on-the-spot finance for companies such as furniture shops, were fine for that purpose.

"It's generally aimed at people who feel they need the goods, whether it's white goods or, in this instance, breast augmentation.

"But young people in particular need to be aware that if they default on a Flexi-Fi loan, it will affect their ICB (credit rating) and could have an impact later in life if they want to take out a mortgage or car loan."

Last night Mr Byrne of Flexi-Fi strongly rejected the criticism and told the Irish Independent he was baffled by Mr Merriman's viewpoint.

Stress-test

"We are a responsible lender. We stress-test every borrower in exactly the same way as a bank would and if they can't afford to pay, we don't lend them the money.

"If [Mr Merriman] had done his research, he would know that.

"This is the 21st century, it's up to a woman to decide what she wants to do with her money. It's up to the individual person," he added.

He also pointed out that if a woman wanted to get the procedure, she could secure a loan from a bank or use her credit card, which may end up more expensive than the service his company provides.

"Anyone could just walk into a bank and take out a loan for €5,000 and pay in that way," he said.

River Medical did not respond to a request for comment last night.

Irish Independent

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