Beauty Salon Makes Misleading Claims And Uses Pressure Sales Tactics, CCCS Investigates
Beauty salon Salon One AMK, and seven of its related entities were recently found to have engaged in unfair practices.
An investigation by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) found that they made false claims, and used pressure sales tactics to mislead customers.
Salon One Entities has since promised CCCS that they will correct these practices.
CCCS has also issued the Salon One Entities a warning for their previous actions.
Beauty Salon breaches Consumer Protection Act on multiple occasions
CCCS revealed through a media release today (18 May) that Salon One Entities engaged in practices that did not comply with the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA) between Oct 2017 and Aug 2022.
Some unfair practices they were found engaging in include:
- Falsely representing that there were price discounts for basic haircuts for members and non-members.
- Making unsubstantiated claims to consumers about the benefits of their treatments; such as claiming their ‘Herbal Head Spa’ treatment could enhance memory, and prevent Alzheimer’s disease among other conditions.
CCCS also discovered that some of the Salon One Entities conducted persistent sales talks.
Such actions put pressure on consumers to purchase certain services or products from them.
This apparently continued even after customers expressed disinterest, or in some cases even declined the advances.
Additionally, Salon One Bukit Batok and Salon One MP560 falsely claimed they were holding price discounts of S$359 for both their “TCM Meridian Eye Treatment and Spleen”, as well as “Stomach Naval Candling” services.
The price discounts, in reality, were S$159 and S$59 respectively.
Both outlets also made false representations through “Opening Promotion” banners placed outside their premises.
This led consumers to believe discounts were only available for limited periods, creating a false sense of urgency in potential clients.
Nevertheless, CCCS acknowledged that the Salon One Entities actively made amendments to their business practices, and removed all false or misleading claims in their marketing materials to meet with CPFTA regulations.
CCCS investigates unfair practices
CCCS launched a probe into the beauty salon and its entities in Jul 2021, after the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) referred the issue to them in Oct 2020.
This came after CASE continued to receive complaints about the beauty salon despite their Voluntary Compliance Agreement from Oct 2019.
According to a Facebook post by Melvin Yong, CASE has received more than 130 complaints against Salon One since Jan 2017.
Speaking about the beauty industry in Singapore as a whole, CCCS Chief Executive Ms Sia Aik Kor said:
Businesses should provide consumers with clear and accurate information on their prices, discounts and promotions. Claims about the benefits, performance and qualities of their products and services should be accurate and substantiated.
In the statement posted on Facebook, Ms Sia also added that the commission is working towards empowering consumers to say “no” to such pressure sale tactics.
Salon One Entities promise to halt unfair practices
Since the probe, Salon One Entities have promised CCCS that they will take the relevant measures to address the concerns.
They include, among others, to:
- Not make any claims about the benefits of their treatments or products, unless they can be substantiated.
- Ensure staff do not exert undue pressure on consumers to purchases services or products.
- Introduce a term in their contracts that allows consumers a 5-day period to cancel their transactions.
- Train their staff to familiarise them with types of conduct that constituted as unfair practices under CPFTA.
The director of Salon One Entities, Ms Tan Yawen, also promised CCCS that she will not engage in, abet, aid, permit or procure any of the entities to carry out any unfair practices under CPFTA.
CCCS has accepted the undertakings made by Salon One Entities. They have also issued them a warning in light of their previous actions.
CCCS will initiate further investigations if any of the entities breach the undertaking.
That said, if you suspect that you have encountered any unfair practices, please approach CASE for assistance.
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