beauty

Beauty salons admit to unfair practices after customer complaints

SINGAPORE: Three beauty salons have admitted to committing unfair practices after customer complaints were lodged against them.

The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) on Tuesday (Oct 6) said it has signed voluntary compliance agreements with three salons: Organic Salon, Spacio TCM Wellness and the Four Seasons Beauty Salon. 

Such agreements are voluntary documents signed by businesses that admit to committing unfair practices under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act.

Under the terms of the agreement, the three salons have “committed to cease their unfair practices”, and have agreed to offer a five-day cooling off period for consumers to cancel their contracts, said CASE. The salons will also compensate affected customers.

Another beauty company, Natural Beauty Resources, was referred to the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore for investigation after failing to sign a voluntary compliance agreement with CASE.

The association said consumers complained that the salons had made false or misleading claims, and exerted “undue pressure or influence” to enter into a transaction.

Complaints were filed against the four beauty salons between Jan 1, 2019 and Aug 31 this year.

CASE complaints against beauty companies

Number of consumer complaints (filed, assisted and counselled) against each entity from Jan 1, 2019 to Aug 31, 2020. (Table: Consumer Association of Singapore)

“In general, consumers complained that they were subjected to various aggressive pressure sales tactics to buy treatment packages,” said CASE.

“In some instances, consumers complained that they were led to believe that they were paying promotional prices for treatments, but were subsequently pressured to purchase higher end treatments at higher prices.” 

Some consumers also complained that the salons charged them for additional treatments or packages without their expressed consent.

Under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act, it is an unfair practice for a supplier to make false or misleading claims and to exert undue pressure or influence on a customer to enter into a transaction. It is also an unfair practice to assert the right to payment for providing unsolicited goods or services. 

The beauty industry has “consistently ranked” among the top three industries in terms of complaints received by CASE, the consumer watchdog said.

“CASE is monitoring the beauty industry very closely and will not hesitate to take the necessary actions provided for under the CPFTA against companies that engage in unfair practices,” it added.

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