Case receives 5 complaints over Calla Spa's sudden closure, amid rise in complaints about spas shutting down

Customers say they had signed up for beauty packages with the spa, ranging from about $1,000 to $6,000 per package.
Customers say they had signed up for beauty packages with the spa, ranging from about $1,000 to $6,000 per package.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

SINGAPORE - The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) has received five complaints from customers about the sudden closure of Calla Spa, even as the number of complaints it received about the closure of spa outlets rose.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times on the closure of the spa at Suntec City, Case executive director Loy York Jiun on Friday (Aug 18) said customers made complaints from last Saturday (Aug 12).

He said the customers had signed up for beauty packages with the spa, ranging from about $1,000 to $6,000 per package.

The customers are seeking a refund of the unused sessions.

"As Calla Spa is undergoing provisional liquidation, consumers are advised to wait for the liquidator to be appointed before filing a proof of debt," said Mr Loy.

Case has received 217 complaints about the closure of spa outlets in the past three years.

In 2015, Case received 56 complaints, and 86 in 2016. From January to July this year alone, it received 75 complaints on such cases.

The figures refer to counselled cases, including e-mail and phone enquiries.

Many customers affected told Case that they had unused packages with the spas and wanted their money refunded.

 

Case said it strongly encourages customers to take the following steps to protect themselves when making spa-related purchases, "in view of the increasing numbers of spas closing down after collecting prepayment".

1. Find out if the business offers any insurance or escrow arrangements to protect your prepayment. For example, all CaseTrust accredited spa and wellness businesses protects consumers' prepayment by way of an insurance bond or an escrow arrangement with EZ-Link via the Trust card programme (www.casetrust.org.sg)

2. Opt for an installment payment plan instead of paying in full upfront to the spa for the package.

3. Avoid purchasing prepaid packages that involve large sums or lengthy contract periods.

4. Use payment methods that offer prepayment protection. For example, credit card users may apply to their card issuers to recover their prepayment through the chargeback mechanism for undelivered goods or services within 120 days.