Bar all package deals

The report "California Fitness shuts remaining outlets" (July 20) tells an all-too-familiar story about how consumers who signed up for packages with service providers like gyms, spas and beauty salons are left high and dry when the business shuts down, with little likelihood of recovering any money they paid in advance.

The temptation to save money by committing to upfront payment for a number of sessions plus a few "free" ones thrown in have left many consumers in dire straits.

When these businesses go bust, the consumers are the last to get their money back, if they get anything back at all.

Consumer watchdogs and the relevant authorities should act to disallow package deals.

This way, consumers will be saved from monetary loss.

In the case of alternative healthcare treatments, such as those provided by homeopaths or chiropractors, it is unprofessional to get patients to sign up for packages because it is almost impossible to predict with any accuracy how many sessions of treatment are required.

Michael Loh Toon Seng (Dr)