SINGAPORE: On Wednesday (Nov 23), the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said it had issued a warning to a hairdressing salon in Bukit Panjang that had engaged in unfair practices in 2021. Natural Salon, which now goes by K Salon, demanded payment from a customer for unsolicited hair service packages and unsolicited hairstyling and hair washing services.

Some initial prices quoted to a customer were just S$2 or S$3 for a haircut and S$99 for a haircut and wash. However, a customer who was told about the S$99 price for a haircut and wash was eventually charged S$772. The salon also charged S$35 for unsolicited hair washing and scalp scanning services after the customer had been told that a haircut would cost S$2 or S$3.

It also falsely represented to customers that the “member price” for a haircut was a “new opening special” after the salon had been open for at least eight months. The salon was also found to have charged prices for haircuts or hair treatment packages significantly higher than what a customer had initially been told without the customer’s consent.

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A banner outside the salon said that S$2 or S$3 was the price for a haircut for its “new opening special” after it had already been operating for at least eight months, CCCS added.

The salon staff told customers that haircuts cost S$2 or S$3, after which customers would agree. But after the haircuts were done, the customers would be told that this low price was for members only and that they needed to pay S$200 to avail of the members-only price. Otherwise, they would have to pay S$35 for the haircut.

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“Consumers are not obliged to pay for unsolicited services. Consumers should be wary of any offers that seem too good to be true and should confirm the prices of services before they are performed to avoid subsequent disputes. Consumers who encounter unfair practices can approach CASE (the Consumers Association of Singapore) for assistance,” the agency said.

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After CCCS investigated the salon, it “took active steps to make changes to its business practices to comply with the CPFTA, including amending the banner with the false or misleading prices. Eventually, it removed the banner entirely.”

The salon also refunded customers who had been charged unfairly. It has promised to stop the unfair practices that caused it to come under investigation and ensure that customers will be given all relevant information before they decide whether to obtain the salon’s services or products.

The salon will also include in its contracts, invoices, and receipts a term allowing customers a 5-day cooling-off period to cancel their transactions.

The case against the salon has been closed, but CCCS says it can reopen it if it breaches the undertaking or other unfair practices are carried out. The agency may also seek court declarations and injunctions against persistently errant suppliers.

“Businesses in the beauty industry should accurately represent the price and any accompanying terms and conditions to consumers and obtain their consent before performing the service. Demanding payment for the supply of unsolicited services is an unfair practice which CCCS can take action against,” said CCCS’s Chief Executive, Ms Sia Aik Kor. 

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