2 beauty parlours told to stop unfair consumer practice by competition watchdog

The staff of the parlours would loiter in Bencoolen Street to sell consumers one-time offers of discounted facial treatment and beauty services. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE MAPS

SINGAPORE - Wishing Well Beauty Centre and Ruby Beauty have breached consumer protection laws by misleading customers into paying for beauty services they did not agree to.

In a statement on Tuesday (March 31), Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said both beauty parlours have signed an agreement to stop such unfair trading practices.

The staff of the parlours would loiter in Bencoolen Street, where the parlours are located, to sell consumers one-time offers of discounted facial treatment and beauty services.

After the customers agreed, the staff would instead perform other services such as removing moles or skin growths, or a more expensive facial treatment so as to charge a higher fee.

By the end of the treatment, customers would have chalked up a much higher bill than initially proposed to them.

The staff would then entice the customers to buy a 10-session beauty package, which ranged from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, which the consumer did not know or agree to when approached initially.

They were also falsely told they could transfer these packages to others, and that the packages were valid for an unlimited period, when the printed invoices and appointment cards said otherwise.

CCCS said it is unfair for a supplier to mislead, make a false claim or take advantage of consumers if the supplier knows that the consumers are not in a position to protect their own interests, or not able to understand the transaction or any matter related to it.

It found that Wishing Well and Ruby Beauty had engaged in unfair trading practices of charging a price for goods or services that is substantially higher than an estimate provided, and misleading consumers into thinking that the transactions gave them certain rights.

The parlours also omitted material facts to consumers by using small print sizes and insisted on payment for goods and services the consumers did not ask for.

Both parlours have signed an undertaking to stop such practices.

Wishing Well Beauty Centre hung up when The Straits Times called. ST has reached out to Ruby Beauty for comment.

CCCS will continue to monitor them and to take action against any unfair practices.

It said that the beauty industry consistently ranked among the top three industries with the most complaints received by Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), and even took the top spot in 2018.

CCCS is also closely monitoring other businesses in the beauty industry and reminded them not to engage in any unfair practices that mislead consumers.

Consumers who come across unfair practices can call Case on 6100-0315, or go to the Case website.

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