Spa customer service treatment with a smile – even when things go wrong…

Companies always make mistakes. After all, they’re made up of humans and to err is human. What is important to me, as a consumer champion, is how companies deal with the mistakes and get them resolved.

A couple of years ago I took out a course of pro-active facial treatments with Clarins. The deal was 6 sessions for the price of 4, at the Debenhams store at Lakeside, Thurrock. I don’t go to Lakeside very often so was taking a very long time to use up the sessions! But you should know that this does not matter as if you have any issues up to 6 years after purchase consumer law is still on your side.

So what happened?

Well, when I went for the second one there was no head massage whilst the mask was applied. I was told that this was no longer part of the treatment.

various Clarins treatments

When I paid for the 6 facials I was told that this was included. You may find this very trivial but those facials aren’t cheap and I know what I paid for!

So, I wrote to customer services. I told them that to remove it mid-program is against consumer law. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 to be specific. I told them I felt that I had been misled into making a transaction I wouldn’t otherwise have made if I had had all the information, i.e. that part of the service would be removed without refund. In addition it is against the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as an unfair contract, as they had changed the terms and conditions without my consent.

Therefore, I expected a partial refund for the last facial and partial refunds for the remaining sessions. However, my preference was to be given what I paid for, which was the head massage whilst the mask is applied for my remaining facials. As regards the last facial, which did not include the head massage for which I had paid, I expected a partial refund.

small Clarins tubes

I made the point that I had no issue with any of the therapists. It was quite clear it was a change in policy not in quality.

The complaint was passed to the Area Manager. She told me that they had not had any similar complaints. Hmmmm.

She could see from their records that I purchased My course in May 2015 and had a Tri- Active Facial on 14th December 2016 – whereby the therapists had assured her that she explained the new procedure to me. I then had another Tri-Active Facial on 11th December 2017. (As I said, I didn’t go to Lakeside very often). They fed my comments back to the Spa regarding my disappointment with the new treatment, and also to the London Training team who apparently welcome all customer feedback as they were apparently “disappointed” that I felt I had been misled.

So that was that. Of course it flipping wasn’t!

In fact, the Consumer Rights Act didn’t apply because I had actually bought and paid for the course of treatment before the act came into force on 1st October 2015. But other consumer laws including the CPUTRs did apply. So, off I went again.

It was also unfortunate that someone at Clarins appeared not to have read my email properly either.

I agreed that the therapist explained the new procedure after I asked why the head massage was not applied. I said so in my email. But as I had clearly stated, the head massage had been removed from the program AFTER I had paid for it. Therefore a breach of contract had taken place. Had I known that the massage was not going to be included (where it once was) I may have made a different decision. This was a breach of The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. I pointed out that I provided this information, to which she had not referred in her reply.

I reiterated what I expected as redress. Then, of course, added my standard ending: “Should I not be fully satisfied with your response I will not hesitate in taking the matter further. This will include, but not be limited to, informing my credit card company, Trading Standards and going through the Small Claims Court. I will also share my experience on social media and relevant review forums.”

The Area Manager for Lakeside confirmed that I had spent £268 on my course in 2015. Since then, I had had 2 x Tri-Active Facials which would equate to £140, leaving £128 on the course value – without the two free treatments as it was purchased on the 6 for 4 promotional offer.

She wanted me to note that the store policy on refunds is for customers to provide a proof of purchase and valid receipts. However, the Skin Spa Manager said that he/she would be happy to offer me the following:

  • 2 x Scalp and Foot Massages for the previous two treatments which you I had in 2017 and 2016.
  • 4 x Scalp and Foot Massages to be included in the remaining treatments that you I had booked.

Yay, so that was good, and that was the end of the matter… or so they thought…

Of course it wasn’t. Because, dear reader, as much as I like to spread the word about consumer rights to consumers I like to inform thVarious Clarins beauty products on black work yopose working in customer services too.

I informed her that one does NOT need a receipt. One only needs proof of purchase. They clearly had this from their treatment records.

 

So, in the end I got a little more than I was legally entitled to (2 scalp and foot massages!) but that is how it should be, particularly when it took a few emails to resolve.

So, in summary, never just accept changes in services! But it did all come out well in the wash as it were!

See Top 20 Tips for complaining effectively to be able to do the same.

Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

For lots of advice, tips, consumer rights, stories and template letters:

GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complaining about goods and services – all you need to know

There are loads of posts on complaining about goods and services on the blog. Here for ease are links for you to find the information most relevant to your issue.

Goods and consumer law

A Guide to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – the main law covering faulty goods and services

What you need to know about the Consumer Rights Act 2015 digital content additional information

How to use the Misrepresentation Act 1967 all areas of the Act

The Acts of law protecting you from poor service & faulty items particularly useful for items and services purchased before 01 October 2015

Using consumer law regarding goods stories

When flowers aren’t delivered: What to do a quick story regarding complaining flowers not delivered.

BHS customer care mistakes which made it look like it didn’t care! Although BHS is no more this story covers what you can do when a piece is missing from a product and you don’t want to take the item back, you want the piece!

How to beat Uncle Tom Cobley’s customer service a story of the rare occasion when it may be better to deal with the manufacturer

How to complain about an item over a year old and how not to be fobbed off

Rip Off Britain faulty goods

Services

A Guide to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – the main law covering faulty goods and services

How to use the Misrepresentation Act 1967 all areas of the Act

The Acts of law protecting you from poor service & faulty items particularly useful for items and services purchased before 01 October 2015

Using consumer law regarding services stories

How to get the cream (without being a clot!) a story of complaining about poor service when wanting a cream tea!

When flowers aren’t delivered: What to do a quick story regarding complaining flowers not delivered.

Deliveries

What happens when a business doesn’t prepare for a promotion story of how a delivery was late, then packaged badly causing damage. The claim.

Your Rights, mail order, online and deliveries all you need to know

Deliveries ITV news with Martin Lewis, Helen Dewdney & Peter Handley

All you need to know about unsolicited goods

Your Rights, Mail Order, Online and Deliveries all you need to know

Rip Off Britain shopping online

Specific sectors

Electricity pylon Everything you need to know to complain about energy problems

 

All you need to know to make a complaint about energy

 

 

lap top on woman's knees phone in one hand

 

All you need to know about complaining to telecom providers

 

 

Look out timber frame on a beach "researching, booking and complaining aabout holidays and flights. Tips, ideas and your rights"

 

All you need to know about booking/complaining about holidays/flights/travel

 

Taking thing further

How to contact CEOs when and how to get contact details

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): What it all means post that explains what it is all about and how you can use it.

Landing in court with Ryanair warning about using AviationADR when dealing with aviation complaints

Ombudsman Omnishambles and More Ombudsman Omnishambles the research reports looking at how some ADR schemes such as the one run by Consumer Dispute Resolution Limited which used to run The Retail Ombudsman and lost the title are being approved and monitored.

Rip Off Britain Independent reports

Tips on complaining

Top 20 Tips How to complain effectively! Lots of tips and advice

Top 20 Tips for Complaining Effectively

How to write a letter of complaint a sample letter written regarding a complaint to Sharps about fitting a bedroom.

Everything everyone needs to know about call centres the secrets of how they work and how to beat them

What happens when a business doesn’t prepare for a promotion outlines how you can get to the front of the queue of complaints.

Why you suck at complaining (and what you can do about it) not good at complaining? The reason and what to do about it may be here!

Why you should write not ‘phone to complain effectively whenever you can you should write not phone, here’s why.

Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow BBC Breakfast TV Discusses How We Complain in the UK

7 Common fob offs that companies use to not give refunds! typical fob offs and how to address them!

15 Great words to use in complaints helpful to use in those emails!

10 Types of Complainer Which Are You? check yourself out!

How to Complain Effectively

Social media

The twitter symbol How not to complain on Twitter

Is social media an effective method for complaining?

5 ways how not to use Twitter to complain (and 5 ways how you should)

 

Questioning why you should complain

7 Questions you should ask yourself if you don’t complain!

Warning: How not complaining drives up fat cat profits!

Complaining in the EU

What did the EU do for consumer law? various consumer laws that cover you when shopping in the EU.

What to do when your flight is delayed – the full guide everything you need to know about delayed and cancelled flights, your rights and how to take matters further and a warning should you use AviationADR

Look East interviews Ryanair CCO and Helen Dewdney

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

For more advice, consumer laws and template letters GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

 

Nearly everything you could ever need to make a complaint about anything!