Don't settle for a bad haircut18 Apr 11 12:00PM EST |
Have you ever had a bad haircut? What about a really bad haircut? One so bad that when you got home and looked in the mirror you had to fight back the tears? Or, one that required you to wear a hat day and night for the next month?
I remember one particularly bad cut I received at an expensive inner-city salon, early on in my relationship with my now husband. I was so embarrassed I locked myself in the bathroom and wouldn’t come out.
Luckily, my three-year-old son is not as sensitive as I was in my early 20s because he received what is arguably the worst child’s haircut I have ever seen on a recent trip to the salon. The evidence is pictured top, right (I'm saving the face-on photo for his 21st).
His dad took him to a local, well-known salon chain on a Sunday and this was the result. A child’s haircut is usually fairly inexpensive so when my husband informed me he had paid $27 for the butchering, Sunday was full price day, my blood began to boil. Ripping me off is one thing. Ripping me off and giving me a very poor-standard of professional service is another.
So, I had no choice. I had to take my son back and get it fixed.
I returned to the hairdressing salon as soon as I could. I had the receipt but their terms state that any issues need to be taken up within seven days. My visit was 10 days after the original visit so, technically, they could have rejected my request but let’s face it, there was no denying this was a bad haircut. I told the hairdresser I had been asked by several people if I had cut my son’s hair myself and she quickly and quietly obliged with a re-cut (OK, this was an exaggeration, I had been asked by one family member who wasn’t afraid of offending me).
What are your rights when it comes to services?
There are four consumer guarantees which apply to services generally. Providers agree to supply services:
- With due care and skill.
- Which are fit for their particular purpose.
- Which will achieve the result that the consumer desires when made known.
- Within a reasonable time, when no time is set.
In my case, point one had clearly not been met. The ACCC website states that due care and skill means: Service providers must carry out all services using an acceptable level of care and skill. Their work must be at least as good as what a competent person with average skills and experience would provide.
If a service doesn’t meet one or more of the consumer guarantees, the service provider is required by law to “remedy” the situation. The remedy could be for the provider to fix the problem if it’s minor, or to provide a refund, or even compensation if the problem is seen as major under the law.
What should you do if a service doesn’t live up to expectations?
- Speak up as soon as possible. Don’t give the provider an opportunity to deny the problem was caused by their services.
Know what remedy you are entitled to and ask for it. If the problem is minor, you don’t have the right to ask for a refund and you must allow the service provider reasonable time to fix the problem.
- Try putting your complaint in writing. Check out our templates for letters that get results.
- If the service provider will not remedy the issue then you might want to consider obtaining legal advice. Many people choose to shout about poor service on social networks, just be careful not to land yourself in hot water by defaming an individual or very small company.
How to choose a service provider
A lot can be said for choosing a reputable provider. In my case, a well-known salon chain would not want to risk damaging its reputation; this may not have been the case for a back-alley barber (mind you, the back-alley barber may have actually done a better job in the first place).
Whenever possible choose service providers who come recommended by family or friends, have previously satisfied customers they can point you to, or who come up with clean results on a Google search. A good reputation is one of the best indicators of whether you’ll be happy with the service you receive.
Have you received a service – small or big – that you weren’t satisfied with? Were you able to get the provider to fix the issue or refund your money? If not, what did you do?