Fri, Sep 08, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Taipei officials caution spa-goers


Taipei City consumer protection officials yesterday urged consumers to be careful when visiting beauty spas in the wake of complaints by people who claim to have been swindled, bullied and even injured at spas.

According to a report in the Chinese-language United Evening News yesterday, one woman had to seek medical attention after a rough facial massage at a Taipei spa caused her eyes to swell with blood.

Another woman sought a refund after her masseuse accidentally rubbed beauty products into her eyes during a spa treatment, leaving her eyes inflamed and unable to open.

The newspaper report quoted Hwang Yu-sheng (黃鈺生), of the city's Consumer Protection Center, as saying that many customers are taken in by the fancy amenities at beauty spas and assume that the elegant decorations mean high-quality service.

The newspaper also reported cases where customers who were using spa gift cards said they had been subjected to verbal abuse by staff members trying to get them to buy expensive products and services.

According to the report, the customers complained that after they had taken their clothes off, spa employees had shouted at them, telling them they were ugly and would never find a boyfriend, and not stopping until they agreed to buy more products.

The center also had received complaints that spas refused to give refunds, or manipulated prices based on whether or not the customer appeared wealthy, Hwang was quoted as saying.

"There is nothing wrong with using gift cards at spas" Hwang was quoted as saying.

"Consumers, however, should protect themselves by refusing to sign any documents or buy any additional products," Hwang was quoted as saying.

Tips for protecting yourself at spas

* Don't sign any documents or buy anything.

* If you leave any products at the spa for use at a later time, insist on using just one bottle at a time.

* If you purchase a beauty or spa product from a TV advertisement, you shouldmake sure it can be returned after being opened. If your skin is too sensitive to use the product or the product doesn't do what is claimed, you have the right to return it.

* If you are injured by a beautician during a spa session that you have paid for, you have the right to demand a refund for all costs except for trial treatments

Source: Consumer Protection Center, Taipei City Government

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