updated 24 Dec 2010, 14:51
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Tue, Apr 27, 2010
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Reliability critical to spas' success
by Sia Ling Xin

REDEMPTION of bailout packages for customers of defunct spa beauty chain Wax in the City started one week ago and, so far, about 600 redemption enquiries have been received.

This is roughly 15 per cent of the estimated 4,000 customers who were left high and dry when the salon closed some four weeks ago.

Three spas – Atos Wellness Group, Rustic Nirvana and Subtle Senses – stepped forward and formed the Spa, Beauty and Wellness Alliance with the immediate aim of encouraging more spas to come forth to share the load of the bailout packages.

To date, 23 spas have committed to the rescue initiative, offering a total of 4,000 spa packages.

Sign-up for the redemption closes on June 30.

But what else can a consumer do when a spa closes down, leaving her with an unfulfilled package?

Ms Dawn Yip, operations director of beauty chain Jean Yip Group, which has been in business for 28 years, advised consumers who wish to sign up for packages to look for established brands, as they are the ones who "have slowly built their reputation".

This shows they "are serious about their business and their customers", she told my paper.

She added: "If a customer is thinking of signing a package with a smaller enterprise, try to sign a relatively cheap one. Even if the business is in trouble, your losses won't be that heavy.

"There is always time to sign another package when the business has earned your trust."

Jean Yip Group is launching a new seven-storey beauty-and-wellness outlet near Outram MRT station at the end of the year. Ms Yip said she is confident about the support from Jean Yip's loyal customers.

Mr Ananda Rajah, chief executive of Atos Wellness, which spearheaded the Spa, Beauty and Wellness Alliance, said he hopes that the formation of the alliance will help restore trust in the wellness industry.

He also hopes the Wax in the City incident will teach consumers to be more discerning, and not fall prey to hard-selling tactics or cheap deals.

Spa and Wellness Association Singapore and Spa Association Singapore (SAS) are also working out insurance schemes for beauty-and-wellness businesses.

In the event of an insured company closing, other spas will take over the remaining packages, with insurers covering part of the cost of doing so.

SAS vice-president Larry Leo said: "It's important for customers to be able to make informed choices, and such insurance schemes will help consumers differentiate between fly-by-night businesses and those in it for the long run."

Ms Cynthia Chua, managing director of Spa Esprit Group, advised consumers to assess the reliability of a company by checking the number of years it has been in operation, and the background of its directors.

She added that consumers who have suffered losses from the defaulting companies should group together and pursue the directors of the companies and seek redress in court.

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