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Standard fact sheet.

Beauty services 

The beauty industry has many services and products that help us to look and feel good. Understanding the service or product you are buying will reduce the risk of confusion and disputes later on.

Before choosing a beauty salon or spa, make sure you:

  • Shop around. Don’t be pressured into buying something on the spot. Visit a number of salons and day spas to work out which has the best value for money, service and location for you.
  • Do your research beforehand, especially if you are having a long-lasting treatment like semi-permanent make-up or laser hair removal. Ask about the level of staff training and experience.
  • Have a good look around and feel comfortable with the level of cleanliness and hygiene that you can see. There are hygiene standards for some types of beauty salons and some need to be registered with the local council. For more information, visit the NSW Department of Health website or call them on 9391 9000.  
  • Find out whether the salon or day spa belongs to an industry association with an enforceable code of conduct.

Advertising 

False and misleading advertising

Advertising can be a useful source of information but it can also be misleading. Advertisements and pictures must convey a truthful impression of the standard of products and services offered.

You should receive accurate information about the service that you are buying. It is illegal for a beauty salon to:

  • make misleading or deceptive claims about their services
  • advertise products or services with false endorsements
  • claim benefits that they simply do not have
  • make false representations about the standard, quality or value of the service offered.

Be cautious of ‘great deals’

Be wary of special offers, promotions and verbal promises. Some deals may not be as good as they seem once you read the fine print. Carefully read all the terms and conditions of any offers as they may have hidden costs.

If you have a voucher for a product or service, check if there are any special conditions or if there is an expiry date.

Ask yourself if you really want the treatment. Don’t let special offers persuade you to pay for something that you wouldn’t have otherwise bought.

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Sales pitches and the hard sell 

Be aware that offers for ‘free’ consultations and makeovers may lead to pressure to purchase products that you might not want. Don’t be bullied by high-pressure selling tactics. It’s illegal if it involves using physical force, undue harassment or coercion.

Many different sales tactics are used, so it pays to be cautious. While ‘shonky’ salespeople are in the minority, some use high-pressure sales tactics such as:

  • attempting to create a false need by implying that if you don’t buy their product, your appearance or health will suffer
  • asking you a series of questions where the answers are obviously ‘yes’ thereby making you feel you need the product
  • praising the amazing yet unrealistic benefits of a product
  • trying to get your sympathy by claiming that they are one sale short of winning a prize, or will lose their job if they do not meet their quota
  • claiming you have wasted their time and money if you listened to their spiel but then said you didn’t want the product
  • calculating the price then offering a discount if you sign the contract or buy the product on the day.

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Paying for services 

Conditions and fees

Before you make a purchase be sure to you find out:

  • whether the salon has a refund policy
  • how much you will need to pay in total for the service
  • how much notice you will need to give in case you need to cancel a treatment
  • the preferred method of payment and if there is a hidden cost if you pay another way
  • whether you will be provided with a receipt
  • whether there is a cooling-off period if you sign up for the deal, or what happens if you change your mind

Always read carefully the terms and conditions of any contract and check for hidden costs. Be wary of pre-payment or providing credit card details upfront in case you need to cancel or change your mind.

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If you are having problems 

If you’re not satisfied with the service that you have received or how you have been treated, the first step is to make every effort to sort out the problem directly with the service provider.

Be clear, firm and polite and state what the problem is and how you would like it fixed. Make sure you put all your concerns in writing and keep all relevant documents such as signed contracts, receipts and quotes.

If you don’t reach a satisfactory outcome, contact NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20 or vist our website. We provide free information about your rights and options to solve the dispute.

Well-informed consumers have a far better chance of successfully asserting their rights.

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More information 

NSW Health publishes fact sheets about hygiene and cleanliness standards that should be met by certain types of beauty salons and spas. For more information visit www.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/general

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