Millions of consumers now use coupon and discount websites to access deals on everything from groceries to jewelry to car repairs. The Groupon, Living Social, and other websites are hugely successful cutting-edge innovations in the marketing of goods and services. By all indications, they are a boon to retailers and consumers alike.
A recent article in a Florida newspaper1 reported that some doctors and dentists are using coupon and discount websites to offer deals on their professional services in order to attract new patients. The article cited a cosmetic surgery center offering a $3,500 laser liposuction surgery for $999; a dental practice charging $129 for a $595 package of services including dental exam, X-rays, cleaning and whitening; and a dermatology practice charging $699 for face-tightening ultrasound therapy that normally costs $1,650. The article also mentioned that the websites advertising these services keep up to half of the payments made by the purchasers. A check on any of a number of coupon and discount websites on any given day will turn up a variety of such offers. Licensed, certified or registered providers of medical, podiatric, chiropractic, dental, and other professional health care services in New York (and for that matter most other states) who offer these kinds of discounted services could find themselves in serious trouble, as could the websites advertising these deals.
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