Beauty industry among the top three for customer complaints: Case
The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) reported 344 pressure sales complaints in 2018, 546 in 2019 and 408 last year.
Case president Lim Biow Chuan said the beauty industry continues to be among the top three - alongside the motorcar industry and home renovation contractors - in terms of the number of complaints received.
A common complaint among consumers is sales staff using various tactics to pressure them into buying treatment packages or beauty products.
From Jan 1 to April 30 this year, there have been 108 complaints of such pressure selling.
Speaking to The New Paper recently, Mr Lim said: "It is an unfair practice under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act for a supplier to take advantage of a consumer by exerting undue pressure or influence to enter into a transaction."
The supplier should also not take advantage of consumers who are unable to protect their own interests, he added.
Under the Act, Case can ask an errant supplier to enter into a Voluntary Compliance Agreement and stop its unfair practices and compensate affected consumers.
Errant suppliers who persist in such unfair practices will be referred to the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore for investigation.
Mr Lucas Tok, section head and lecturer of digital marketing and branding at Singapore Polytechnic's School of Business, told TNP: "If buyer's remorse is common and customers are constantly regretting (their) purchases, it is not a good thing.
"We also need to remember that not all businesses are ethical. Some may target the older generation as they are more vulnerable and are easy to take advantage of.
"If more businesses are found to be taking advantage of the older generation's lack of knowledge, then perhaps there could be sanctions and laws to ensure businesses do not continue with such practices."
Mr Tok said the younger generation can educate their parents and grandparents and advise them to speak to family members before making pricey impulse purchases.
Dos and don'ts
Case on some dos and don'ts at hair and beauty outlets:
- Say "no" politely but firmly, and walk away if you encounter aggressive pressure sale tactics. Call the police if you are barred from leaving.
- Beware of "special discount" or "one-time only" offers. Staff may take the opportunity to push packages and leave you little time for consideration.
- If you start to feel overwhelmed or intimidated during a sales pitch, ask that it stop and leave the premises. Refrain from making any financial commitments.
- Be mindful of the risks of buying packages as you would most likely lose whatever balance there is left in the event of a sudden business closure.