Illegal brokerage agencies are cashing in big bucks on medical tourists who visit Korea for plastic surgery holidays.
Loads of tourists are fascinated by the attractive prizes and high quality of plastic surgery scene in Korea. And that is no wonder. Loads of before and after photos are shown online and of course all over the Seoul in a form of advertisements, especially the subway stations are really flocked all over with these ads.
With the outstanding results, it is no wonder that the plastic surgery scene keeps growing and growing in Korea. Some of the before and after photos are hard to believe they are of the same person, but well, Korean surgeons definitely know what they are doing.
Especially Chinese tourists are flooding to the Seoul, hunting after cheap and high quality plastic surgery procedures.
The latest problem what Korean government, and the international tourist have faced is the illegal agencies. Only 13% of international plastic surgery tourists traveling to Korea through legal agencies. That is really shocking low number. At the moment there is about 1100 legal agencies registered with the KHIDI (Korean Health Industry Department Institute) The number of illegal agencies is not known but the estimates say there might be even up to 8000 illegal ones.
The concerns have been brought up about the quality of the care, provided by illegal agencies. These agencies often charge clinics up to 60% of patient’s surgery costs as a finders fee. Korean government suggests maximum of 20% cut for the legal agencies.
Basically this means that the reputable hospitals and clinics opt out and international plastic surgery clients are driven to bad plastic surgeons and the troubles start right there.
The complaints about bad surgery results from Chinese patients are on the high rise, the complaints have gone up to 10-15% annually.
We can clearly see why. The illegal agencies driving their patients to bad surgeons are the main reason for sure. And we are doubtful if those not so great clinics even have Chinese translators like the better clinics do. If not, it will lead into many misunderstandings and the Chinese people are lacking of understanding and knowledge about their procedures since the clinics hardly give out any safety information etc. about the procedures.
These illegal agencies are slowly turning the Korean plastic surgeons reputation into a really bad point. The word of mouth goes faster than the speed of light. And there is already loads of negative reviews about Korean plastic surgery scene, especially from the Chinese peoples mouth.
Chinese medical tourists definitely need to ask their agencies about the clinics where they are going to be sent. And do a little research about the clinic online or ask their friends to avoid being scammed and getting low quality results.
This can be a hard task though. International, especially the Chinese patients receive very little to none information about their clinic aside from the promotional material provided by their chosen agency.
For Korean people, the bad plastic surgeons are not so much of a headache since Koreans tend to choose their surgeon based on recommendations from their family and friends.
Luckily the Korean government is planning to set new harsher rules to get rid of this problem. New limits on brokerage fees and tougher punishments for those engaged in the illegal management of clinics.
For sure the government wants to secure that the country holds it’s position as one of the world’s most popular medical tourism destination. And of course they want to ensure medical tourism in Korea does not get a bad image. Hopefully the new regulations will work great.