Home > Health > Spa Treatments: Your Consumer Rights

Spa Treatments: Your Consumer Rights

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 4 Dec 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Spa Salon Beauty Consumer Law Legal

So, you've decided to treat yourself to a spa treatment, and you're looking forward to a day - or a few hours at least - of unadulterated pampering. What do you need to know about your rights before you go, so that your anticipated treat doesn't turn into a disappointment?

The Law

A spa or beauty salon is governed by the same laws as a plumber who fixes your shower or a car mechanic. The law covering the way a spa service is provided is the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.

So, if you have booked in for an Indian Head Massage at your local spa, you are entitled to expect the therapist to carry out your massage with reasonable care and skill; in a reasonable time, and for a reasonable charge. The law is all about what's reasonable.

The Cost of Beauty

Most spas and beauty salons have a menu of treatments that you can choose from, and so you'll usually know in advance whether your massage is going to be expensive or not. It's worth knowing, though, that if you've somehow got hold of an out of date price list, or there's a misprint on the website, or printed menu, the spa isn't obliged to give you the treatment at the price quoted. So if you think you're going to get an hour and a half of sensory bliss for £7.50 rather than £75, you could be in for a shock. A contract like this is formed at the point of sale, so in effect, when you offer the therapist £7.50 for her handiwork, she's entitled not just to be rightfully insulted - but to withdraw the 'offer' you've seen on the price list, and ask for £75 instead. If you refuse to pay the rest, that puts you firmly in the wrong.

A Shoddy Treatment

If you aren't happy with the way your treatment is carried out, you have a right to complain about it, and in some cases you can expect to be compensated. It's best to complain at the time of the treatment, because that gives both you and the spa an opportunity to try and resolve the problem quickly.

If you feel that your therapist was unprofessional, or you have issues about hygiene, you should bring this to the attention of the spa straight away. Bear in mind that some types of therapeutic massage can be uncomfortable when carried out properly (manual lymph drainage or anti-cellulite treatments are two good examples of this.) Remember the phrase 'reasonable care and skill' - and if you still believe you've been short changed, complain.

Because of the nature of the services you buy from a spa, it can be hard to define what compensation you can claim if things don't go as you'd expected. Remember that any goods or services the spa provides must also be as described, so if your 90 minute treatment was over in 65 minutes you'd have every right to ask for a proportion of the cost back - but it's not so easy with a Reiki session where you were promised 'a relaxing, soothing treatment' but were constantly interrupted by the therapist's over active mobile phone.

What to do Next

It is usually considered reasonable to give a trader the chance to put things right if you're unhappy with a service. It could be that they offer you another treatment free of charge - under which circumstances you could be well within your rights to demand another therapist if the first person was utterly incompetent! In some cases, such as worries about hygiene or safety, it could be considered reasonable for you to refuse the offer of another treatment and ask for a refund. The law takes into account what benefit you received from the treatment if there was any dispute, so if you truly had an awful experience, you could reasonably expect a complete refund.

As a rule, most spas are dedicated to making your experience as relaxing and pampering as possible - but it's reassuring to know that the law is there to protect you if things go wrong.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Farah - Your Question:
I stupidly purchased a VIP PACKAGE on impulse for a significant sum of money. The package includes treatments, products and electronic device. I am yet to have a treatment and not opened the product or the device. I recall a 14 day cooling period when signing the paperwork but was not given a copy of the paperwork. I have changed my mind and wanted to know what my consumer rights are. I have called the salon and they have said I need to make an appointment to come in cancel/bring back the goods (which sounds particularly odd to me). I would be grateful for any advice, I have a feeling they are going to make this as difficult as possible!!

Our Response:
Ask for a copy of the terms and conditions. You're not necessarily entitled to a refund in this case unless you ordered it online in some cases. Sorry but you've not given us enough information to give really good advice. The salon might want you to go in to cancel, so that you can sign something and return the item.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 4-Dec-17 @ 2:54 PM
Ratty - Your Question:
Hi can anybody offer advice please?I went to a clinic and had Botox to 3 areas of my face, however they didn’t work at all. I informed clinic of this and they said to come in and they will top it up which I did, again it didn’t work so I contacted them again. They have a Dr at this clinic so I asked to see him, he repeated the treatment but it has failed to work at all. I contacted the clinic to advise them of this and asked for a refund, however they have refused saying sometimes treatment doesn’t work and they already given me a repeat treatment as a goodwill gesture. At no point was I told this, there isn’t anything on their page to say occasionally treatment doesn’t work or was I ever messaged to say repeat treatment was goodwill gesture. I might add it does state that they do a free top up of treatment 3 weeks after initial treatment. Final note I have had botox previously at other clinics which worked perfectly. Am I entitled to a refund?

Our Response:
if the treatment didn't work and there was no information given at the time of the treatment that this might happen, then yes you should be refunded. If the clinic is refusing to refund you, you may have to take action via the civil courts.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 4-Dec-17 @ 12:25 PM
I stupidly purchased a VIP PACKAGE on impulse for a significant sum of money. The package includes treatments, products and electronic device. I am yet to have a treatment and not opened the product or the device. I recall a 14 day cooling period when signing the paperwork but was not given a copy of the paperwork. I have changed my mind and wanted to know what my consumer rights are. I have called the salon and they have said I need to make an appointment to come in cancel/bring back the goods (which sounds particularly odd to me). I would be grateful for any advice, I have a feeling they are going to make this as difficult as possible!!
Farah - 4-Dec-17 @ 5:14 AM
Hi can anybody offer advice please? I went to a clinic and had Botox to 3 areas of my face, however they didn’t work at all. I informed clinic of this and they said to come in and they will top it up which I did, again it didn’t work so I contacted them again. They have a Dr at this clinic so I asked to see him, he repeated the treatment but it has failed to work at all. I contacted the clinic to advise them of this and asked for a refund, however they have refused saying sometimes treatment doesn’t work and they already given me a repeat treatment as a goodwill gesture. At no point was I told this, there isn’t anything on their page to say occasionally treatment doesn’t work or was I ever messaged to say repeat treatment was goodwill gesture. I might add it does state that they do a free top up of treatment 3 weeks after initial treatment. Final note I have had botox previously at other clinics which worked perfectly. Am I entitled to a refund?
Ratty - 3-Dec-17 @ 7:38 PM
I purchased a course of facials from my local branch of a small salon chain and the salon owner sold the branch without telling any of her clients.The new salon owner had stipulated in the agreement she signed with her that all courses of treatments would be re-imbursed.However, the former salon owner won't pay up (there are solicitors involved but us clients are seeing no progress) and is claiming the courses have expired.I have been attending the salon for 13 years and have purchased multiple courses of treatments during that time.There has never been any mention of courses expiring, nor has there ever been a written agreement.In fact, the salon often encouraged bulk-buying during their special offer periods, and the type of treatments on offer are ones that would be safe to have without a certain period of time to elapse (i.e. peels, skin needling).Can you please tell me what my legal rights are with regards to getting a refund from the former salon owner (who is still running another branch elsewhere in the country)?Any references to legislation that I could use would be helpful.Also to note that there are a fair number of clients who are facing this issue. Thank you.
N - 26-May-17 @ 8:59 PM
SC - Your Question:
Please help. I have paid a 50% deposit for my bridal hair and make up for myself and my bridesmaids and the lady now has a bug. Not willing to risk getting ill I have asked for a full refund and she is saying it's non refundable. She will be risking allOf our health so this is not a cancellation because I am going elsewhere!! Should she be giving me my money back?

Our Response:
Yes she should be giving you a refund if she is the one who is unable to provide the service. Does she know how long it will be before she is better? Might this still be in time for the wedding? If you have to go elsewhere, you should seek to reclaim this 50% deposit via the small claims courts.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 8-May-17 @ 11:13 AM
Please help. I have paid a 50% deposit for my bridal hair and make up for myself and my bridesmaids and the lady now has a bug. Not willing to risk getting ill I have asked for a full refund and she is saying it's non refundable. She will be risking all Of our health so this is not a cancellation because I am going elsewhere!! Should she be giving me my money back?
SC - 6-May-17 @ 12:07 PM
B - Your Question:
Hi,Anyone know which organisation I can complain to about spa hygiene issues? Surely there is one out there regulating how they do business?Reason I ask is I've had a couple of hollywood wax treatments at a spa where they keep using the same spatula and dipping it back into the wax (which suggests they do the same for other customers) and this contaminates the wax which they use on everyone as the wax isn't emptied/changed after every person'a treatment. I wouldn't care, were it not for being recently diagnosed with an STI whilst my long term partner came up clear!!! I kept racking my brain how this could have happened and only came to the conclusion that the waxing place was the only contributing factor. The wax has been contaminated because the therapists keep using the spatula then dipping it back into the wax and someone before me has possibly contracted the STI.Could anyone point out how/who to complain about this? Or even more importantly, how to warn other women using the same spa for waxing as I expect there would be more of them at the risk of contracting the STI? There is no complaints procedure on their website nor any way to leave a review etc.Thanks

Our Response:
Your local authority may license these kinds of premises, so it may be worth trying there first of all.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 12-Dec-16 @ 2:29 PM
Hi, Anyone know which organisation I can complain to about spa hygiene issues? Surely there is one out there regulating how they do business? Reason I ask is I've had a couple of hollywood wax treatments at a spa where they keep using the same spatula and dipping it back into the wax (which suggests they do the same for other customers) and this contaminates the wax which they use on everyone as the wax isn't emptied/changed after every person'a treatment... I wouldn't care, were it not for being recently diagnosed with an STI whilst my long term partner came up clear!!! I kept racking my brain how this could have happened and only came to the conclusion that the waxing place was the only contributing factor. The wax has been contaminated because the therapists keep using the spatula then dipping it back into the wax and someone before me has possibly contracted the STI. Could anyone point out how/who to complain about this? Or even more importantly, how to warn other women using the same spa for waxing as I expect there would be more of them at the risk of contracting the STI? There is no complaints procedure on their website nor any way to leave a review etc. Thanks
B - 11-Dec-16 @ 12:58 AM
Had a terrible experience from a spa merchant in March and complained to Wowcher and the merchant, seeking an refund. arrived at the address at the same time as the therapist whose initial response to me was very negative. There was no greeting and friendliness. Her demeanour was very off and she was definitely not happy to see me. I tried not to let it perturb me, thinking it would improve once inside. On entering the building she locked the door and pointed to a narrow and awkward stairwell and instructed me to “go downstairs, take off your clothes and lie on the couch.” I have a physical ailment which affects my walking I knew it would be a struggle to take myself downstairs and my travel case. I had booked a trip outside of London and would be travelling shortly after the treatment. When I asked politely if I could leave my travel case upstairs, her prompt response was a cold “No.” With the front door clearly locked, I could see no problem leaving my case upstairs but as requested struggled downstairs to a dingy room silent room. . I tried to put her negative demeanour to the back of my mind. I had been through a lot physically and knew I deserved and therefore paid for a 2 hour ‘pamper’ session, to relax and unwind. I took my clothes off and lay on the couch. She joined me and instructed me to lie on my front. With no other conversation she started the treatment on my back. After some minutes she said “I’ll do the body wrap before your facial so I can do your facial whilst the wrap is on.” I had never had a body wrap before so was so looking forward to a full 1 hour treatment to an aching body and also the experience. She massaged my entire body with a cream lotion, wrapped me in a towel, a heavy blanket then continued to do my face. Within minutes she said “that’s your treatment complete, get changed and I’ll see you upstairs.” She promptly went upstairs. I had an incline that she had finished early but wasn’t sure how early until I checked my mobile. It was 10:02am exactly. My appointment for the 2 hour session was from 9.00 till 11.00am. As this was such a negative experience I could see no point in requesting more of her ‘service’, but promised to be very honest with her about the experience in my usual calm manner. Back upstairs with an awkward smile she said “so how was your treatment?” I told her that whether it was because she had had a bad morning or because I was not the ‘type’ of clientele she expected, her response from our initial meeting and throughout was very negative. I explained that if she wanted only a certain calibre/ethnicity of clientele it should be explicit in the advertising. I added that in addition I had paid for a 2 hour treatment session and only received 1 hour. Her response was “it’s because I did the body wrap before your face and it’s the wrap that usually takes long.” Regardless of her explanation the treatment was advertised as a 2 hour pamper package. The advertising read “unwind with a 1 hou
gentle - 30-Apr-16 @ 11:29 AM
@Dondi. Read the above article for more information. How much has this affected you and what do you feel the practitioner could do that would remedy this? You need to establish what you want and then follow the procedure in the article.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 6-Mar-15 @ 1:00 PM
I went for pigmentation laser removal and two of the spots were near my eye brows. The practitioner was apprehensive to do one spot as it was too near to the hair. She said that she would protect the hair area as best as she could .at this point I wasn't aware that I would actually lose any hair permanently and agreed that she should proceed.during the treatment the smell of burning hair was apparent and the concern on her face was obvious. She rushed to pencil in my brow that was half missing after the treatment and rubbed in some aloe Vera to soothe the burning. She charged me £75 for the full treatment and an additional £4 for the aloe gel. I would like to ask if I should expect any recourse as a result of this and what my basic consumer rights are in this situation. I feel that the brow hair is not going to re grow as it's been 6weeks and there is no sign of re growth yet. I do not wish to sabotage this individual ,but feel that something is amiss and at the very least,refund or compensation is in order. Any advice would be appreciated
Dondi - 3-Mar-15 @ 10:36 PM
I had a lady ring me about semi permanent makeup and I wasnt far and said to pop around for a chat and see what we can do, she had absolutely no eyebrows was was depressed saying how her life was affected by it, we go on really well and she said she would love to get them done, I said to her I was doing mine and I could do something for her if she liked and she was delighted, I drew on some shapes and she agreed on them, I did them and asked was she happy before I stopped and she was over the moon, she even sent me a text saying thank you that I was an angel and iv changed her life so much. only to get a horrible text off her the following day saying she looks wors and they are too dark and iv explained that they take weeks to fade and all the info was on my website explaining everything she was giving out about, she refused to answer my calls and reply to me and iv even asked her to come around and she wont. I am a little stressed that she will blacken my name because shes too stubborn or maybe she just doesn't want to pay. I did this out of the goodness of my heart!!! lesson learned
julies - 22-Jul-13 @ 1:00 PM
I had a lady ring me about semi permanent makeup and i wasnt far and said to pop around for a chat and see what we can do, she had absolutely no eyebrows was was depressed saying how her life was affected by it, we go on really well and she said she would love to get them done, i said to her i was doing mine and i could do something for her if she liked and she was delighted, i drew on some shapes and she agreed on them, i did them and asked was she happy before i stopped and she was over the moon, she even sent me a text saying thank you that i was an angel and iv changed her life so much.... only to get a horrible text off her the following day saying she looks wors and they are too dark and iv explained that they take weeks to fade and all the info was on my website explaining everything she was giving out about, she refused to answer my calls and reply to me and iv even asked her to come around and she wont. I am a little stressed that she will blacken my name because shes too stubborn or maybe she just doesn't want to pay. I did this out of the goodness of my heart!!! lesson learned
julies - 22-Jul-13 @ 11:55 AM
I booked and paid for 12+12 sessions of Love Lipo sonic Lipo Treatment.I am supposed to have two areas done per session, this was for a treat before I go on holiday.My first session only one area was done as the girl did not leave enough time.Then on two occasions the machine was broken and I was offered a free treatment, I was then txt to say I had an appointment which I did not book.I turned up for an appointment that I did book, waited for half an hour to be told I did not have an appointment, having paid the parking I left unhappy with the service.I attended on two other occasions to find I was double booked.The last straw was when I turned up for my appointment at 13:45 the girl was running late at 14:00, I was told that her 13:30 appointment was still waiting, the treatment takes a minimum of half an hour.I have written e mail after e mail, I have phoned, I get no response.I have asked for a refund of the remaining sessions half (sessions cost £449 half is £225).The only response I have had is to say they will not give me a refund but will honour appointments, when I try to book they do not respond.What can I do next?
mango - 15-Jul-13 @ 12:03 AM
My girlfriend has had treatments done at a salon was hurt and very upset I have called on behalf of her to organize something to be done only to be abused I would like help on whom to speak to for advice A number to call??
Bec - 8-Jul-12 @ 6:29 AM
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