Things get ugly for beauty firm over packages, pay

Local | Jasmine Ling 14 Jan 2020

A woman paid HK$420,000 for an "unlimited beauty package" spanning three years, only to be tricked into buying another HK$210,000 package in the disguise of a "beauty competition."

She later discovered that beauticians used suspected fake products and kept delaying treatments. She took her complaints to the Democratic Party.

The retiree claimed she initially bought a package worth HK$60,000 in April 2018 at Pretty Beauty Center but was coaxed into purchasing another for HK$480,000 by a beautician director, who later combined the packages to lengthen the validity period from 18 months to three years.

She paid HK$420,000 for the packages as the beautician director promised unlimited treatments.

However, the director quit five months later and left her case unattended, she said. The center refused to follow up on her complaints, saying all its beauticians would resign if she continued withher complaints.

She was also persuaded to buy other treatment courses at HK$210,000 after buying the "unlimited packages." But she later discovered beauticians used suspected fake products and kept delaying treatments with excuses like "the machine broke down" or "the beautician was sick."

She was then told that the firm would hold a "beauty competition" and prearrange her as the winner so she could get a HK$50,000 rebate. She said the contest did not happen, which prompted her to seek help from Ramon Yuen Hoi-man, a member of the Consumer Council and the Democratic Party's consumer rights spokesman.

She spent about HK$700,000 in total at the center and eventually got back a HK$5,000 deposit with Yuen's help.

Another woman, a former employee of the group, said the firm had offered her "unconditional pay" including a base salary of HK$150,000 plus commissions. She had made transactions worth HK$1.3 million within two months but later found that she could receive the base salary only after meeting a monthly transaction quota of HK$2 million.

She also accused the center of tampering with her invoices to reduce her transaction amounts to about HK$800,000 so that she received only HK$70,000 after working 1 months. She reported to the police and filed for unpaid wages of HK$130,000 with the Labour Tribunal.

She alleged the beauty group would amend invoices feigning records of treatment courses received by customers so that beauticians found it hard to know how much business they had done.

The center had been named by the council for unscrupulous trade practices in 2018.

Yuen said the center might have violated the Trade Descriptions Ordinance for giving out false trade descriptions, and slammed the company for allegedly shirking legal responsibilities. He urged the Customs and Excise Department to investigate.

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