The beauty industry has many services and products that help us look and feel good but it’s important you understanding the service or product you are buying to reduce the risk of confusion and disputes.
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.
- Find out whether the salon or day spa belongs to an industry association with an enforceable code of conduct.
False and misleading advertising
Advertisements and pictures must display a truthful impression of the standard of products and services offered.
It’s 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.
The ‘great deals’
Be aware 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 for an expiry date or if there are any special conditions. Don’t let special offers persuade you to pay for something that you wouldn’t have otherwise bought.
Sales pitches and the hard sell
Be aware that offers for ‘free’ consultations and makeovers can 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. 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.
Paying for services
Conditions and fees
Before you make a purchase, find out:
- whether the salon has a refund policy
- how much the total is for the service
- how much notice you 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’ll 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.
If you are having problems
If you’re not satisfied with the service that you’ve received or how you’ve been treated, the first step is to talk 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 to help resolve or assist. We provide free information about your rights and options to solve the dispute.
Need more information?
NSW Health publishes fact sheets about hygiene and cleanliness standards that should be met by certain types of beauty salons and spas.