Lured by $5 haircut, customer ends up paying hundreds; Case handling complaints against hair salons

SINGAPORE - Complaints against hair salons that pressure customers to buy expensive haircare packages are not new, but some unknowing customers are still being duped.

Madam Lim, in her 70s, stepped into a salon at Blk 705 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8 for a $5 haircut on July 2, but ended up $400 poorer.

She told Shin Min Daily News that the hairstylist analysed her scalp after the haircut and told her she needed treatment for her dandruff.

She was not keen at all, but he told her that she did not need to pay for the treatment if she did not want to, so she agreed reluctantly.

After the treatment, she was told that the treatment cost $185, but they will give her a discounted price of $99.

When she took out a $100, they then said that she needed to buy a package of four treatments.

She told them she had no cash, and had only $400 in her bank account. The staff at the salon then took her card and swiped it for $400, and asked her to key in her pin number.

Madam Lim said she was not sure what had happened until she went home and told her daughter.

Her daughter discovered that $400 had been deducted from Madam Lim's bank account, and went back to the shop to ask for the money back, Shin Min reported.

After she threatened to call the police, the shop returned them $200, Madam Lim said.

A quick search online shows that there were many negative reviews of hair salon chain, also known as New Station, last year.

In October last year, it was reported that a woman in her 60s was sold $5,000 worth of hair treatments despite only agreeing to one session of treatment.

The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) told The Straits Times it has handled 35 cases against New Station Beauty & Hair or from January 2013 to June 2015.

The bulk of the cases took place in 2014 when 27 cases were lodged against them.

Case handled four cases from January to June this year.

Most of the cases were complaints about their sales tactics, and misrepresentation.

The consumer rights organisation sent a warning letter to New Station in May.

There had been no complaints since, said Mr Seah Seng Choon, executive director of Case.

"We will continue to monitor the complaints received and will take action against this company if needed," he added.

According to the website, they now have nine hair salons and six beauty salons in Singapore.