A police report has been filed against a hair salon near Bedok MRT after an 82-year-old woman's son failed to get a refund from the shop for a hair care package that cost about S$4,800.
The woman's son, surnamed Weng (according to Hanyu Pinyin), said that the hair salon refused to refund his mother on the grounds that the money she paid had already been paid out as wages, Chinese media Shin Min Daily News reported.
The payment for the package was supposedly made on Aug. 30.
However, the payment remained undiscovered until some time last week, when Weng's wife updated his mother's bank book.
Mother only wanted to get her hair washed, ended up buying a package for 20 sessions
According to the Chinese media, the elderly woman had headed to the salon to get her hair washed on Aug. 30, 2022.
When asked about the incident by Weng, following the payment's discovery, she reportedly told him that she went to the salon with the maid but did not remember how much she paid.
Weng said he then went down to the store to inquire about the incident and was told that his mother had bought a package for 20 sessions.
Weng added that this meant each session cost more than S$200.
He was quoted as saying, "Is it that expensive to cut hair? When I asked the manager for a refund, she said that it had been too long and she could not refund the money."
Weng also claimed that his mother is hard of hearing as she was completely deaf in her left ear.
She therefore might not have understood the packages that were being sold, he added.
Salon: Hard to provide refund as money has already been paid out
Shin Min Daily News further reported that when one of its reporters went down to the salon a few days ago, the store manager confirmed that Weng's mother had bought a package.
The manager said that each session costs S$238 as scalp care is included.
There is also no expiry for the package and Weng's mother can use it either for herself or for her friends, the manager added.
With regard to the request for a refund, the manager said that she had reported the matter to her boss.
"However, that was two months ago and the money has already been paid out as wages so its really hard for us to refund," she said.
Elderly woman alleges that salon clerk followed her to withdraw money
Meanwhile, Weng's mother told Shin Min that a clerk from the salon had followed her to withdraw money.
Her bank book record showed that the salon had first charged her about S$3,000 through her ATM card, followed by a withdrawal of S$1,800.
Weng's mother said that following her payment in the salon, the clerk told her that a little bit more was needed and accompanied her to withdraw the money.
The elderly woman told Shin Min that while she remembered entering her PIN at the ATM, she did not remember the amount that was withdrawn.
Shin Min further quoted the clerk as saying that the exact value of the package she bought was S$4,760.
"She still owed S$1,760 after paying in the store. Subsequently, she forked out S$1,800, and we returned S$40 to her."
In response to Mothership's queries, the police replied:
"The Police confirm that a report was lodged and are looking into the matter."
In response to Mothership's queries, CASE President Melvin Yong replied:
"CASE confirms that we have received a complaint from a consumer regarding his mother who purchased a hair treatment package for S$4,760 at a hair salon near Bedok MRT station. As the complaint is pending resolution, we are unable to comment further.
Under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA), it is an unfair practice for a supplier to exert undue pressure or influence on a consumer to enter into a transaction. It is also an unfair practice for a supplier to take advantage of a consumer who is not in a position to protect his/her own interest. Consumers who have encountered such unfair practices can seek recourse under the CPFTA.
CASE received 717 complaints against the beauty industry in the first half of 2022 (1H2022), an increase of 14 per cent over the same period in 2021. Approximately 22 per cent of the beauty and spa complaints in 1H2022 related to pressure sales tactics.
To protect consumers against pressure sales tactics, CASE has called on the Government to extend the coverage of the mandatory cooling-off period under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) (Cancellations of Contracts) Regulations to spa and beauty purchases, so that consumers can seek refunds for treatments or packages bought under pressure.
Consumers who patronise beauty or hair salons are advised to say “no” and walk away if they encounter aggressive pressure sale tactics which makes them uncomfortable. Consumers can call the police if they are prevented from leaving.
Consumers are advised to patronise CaseTrust accredited beauty salons as these businesses are committed to offer a five-day cooling-off period for consumers to seek a refund for unutilised services if they do not wish to proceed with the packages signed. These businesses also commit to providing stress-free treatments as they are not allowed to engage in sales pitches during the treatment.
Consumers who encounter unfair practices such as pressure sales tactics may approach CASE for assistance (hotline: 9795 8397, website)."
Top photos via Shin Min Daily News