SINGAPORE: Complaints against the pressure sales tactics adopted by the slimming, beauty and hair industries are "significantly higher" compared to other industries, said the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) on Monday (Jul 23), as it warned customers to be wary of them.
Last year, they accounted for 44 per cent of complaints received on the slimming industry. Such complaints made up for 16 per cent and 21 per cent of complaints against the hair and beauty industries respectively, said CASE in an advisory.
Complaints about sales tactics generally account for less than 5 per cent for other industries, it added.
"The use of high pressure sales tactics has been a recurring problem in the slimming, beauty and hair industries for many years," said CASE.
"Consumers should be aware that they always have the right to say 'no' to such tactics and can simply walk away if they feel uncomfortable," it added.
Some of the unacceptable sales tactics commonly encountered include consumers being barred from leaving by the salesperson until they agree to buy a product or stopping treatment midway unless the consumer agrees to the purchase.
"The exertion of undue pressure on a consumer to enter into a transaction involving goods or services is prohibited under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA) and consumers can seek recourse under it," said CASE.
The consumer watchdog added that it has been actively encouraging businesses in these industries to voluntarily commit themselves to ethical business practices by signing up for CaseTrust accreditation.
"Accredited businesses are subjected to a rigorous audit to assess their conformance to the accreditation criteria, which includes price transparency, well-trained sales staff with ethical sales tactics and prepayment protection amongst others."
CASE said that consumers who plan to purchase slimming, beauty and/or hair products or services should be cautious about entering a transaction with businesses that do not provide important documents like invoices or sales agreements.
Consumers should also make informed decisions and not be fooled by "special discount" or "one-time only" offers.
It also added that consumers can exercise their right to walk away from a dubious deal with unclear terms or "aggressive" sales tactics.