Unfortunately, bad hairdressing happens to most of us. When you consider that you may attend nine or more hairdressing appointments each year (although perhaps less currently, due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and appointment backlogs), it’s pretty much inevitable that you won’t always be fully satisfied with your hair after every single salon visit. As with any service provider, the person delivering the service will have the occasional ‘off’ day, after all. Plus, there could be times when you fail to convey your requirements to the letter.
But what exactly should you tolerate as a poor one-off experience and what can you do if you want to take the matter further? Making a consumer complaint and filing a legal claim are the two distinct routes you can take here. Your choice between these two options depends upon the extent of your dissatisfaction and whether or not any physical harm was involved.
To pursue the first – consumer complaint – you must raise this directly with your hairdresser by quoting your prerogatives under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. To lodge the second – legal claim – you need to instruct the expertise of a lawyer, ideally on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis as this involves less risk on your part, such as our Hairdressing Claims team.
To help you decide your next steps, we’ve created a handy table showing the types of problems encountered at the hairdressers which constitute either a consumer complaint or legal claim…
Not receiving the cut or style you requested, for example getting a severe cut instead of a trim. The resolution comes in the form of an offer to put things right, or full or partial refund.
Colour treatment not turning out as promised and should be re-done.
Damage to your personal belongings, be it clothes, bags or other items, which is irreversible and necessitates replacement.
The amount charged for hairdressing services is higher than the cost quoted at the beginning or pre-appointment. A fee re-assessment is in order.
Chemical injury resulting from over- or mis-application of hair dye, perming or straightening products.
Burn to your hair or scalp from incorrect and negligent use of hot styling tools like hairdryers, curling tongs and straightening irons.
Cuts and bleeding to your scalp, face, neck or ear due to misuse of sharp objects, these being scissors, shavers and razors.
Slips and trips in unnoticed spillage or unswept hair causing bruises, sprains and broken bones.
Beauty parlour syndrome, officially called vertebrobasilar insufficiency, which is the result of inadequate neck support and hyperextended positioning over the washing basin.
We wrote recently about the impact of coronavirus on our hair; this being cumulative hair shedding and extreme hair loss. Here, we cover a new COVID-19 related phenomenon which is, as yet, not supported by sufficient scientific evidence… heightened sensitivity to hair dye.
According to a hair salon in London, people who’ve tested positive for or strongly suspect they’ve contracted COVID-19 in the past are suffering dangerous reactions to hair dye, even when they’ve had the same dye applied several times previously and not reacted negatively to it on any other occasion.
Just to highlight how potentially serious an allergic reaction to hair dye can be, symptoms variously include: an angry rash anywhere on the body; blisters or welts; stinging or burning sensation to the scalp, face or neck; itching or swelling to the scalp, eyelids, lips, hands or feet; feeling lightheaded or faint; wheezing and difficulty breathing or swallowing; nausea and vomiting; and collapsing or becoming unconscious.
The most severe of these signs are part of anaphylaxis and may not occur until hours or even days after your hair appointment. Read our earlier blog titled ‘Near-death experience following severe hair dye reaction’ to see just how life-threatening and life-limiting an adverse reaction to hair dye can be.
Because of stronger sensitivity evident in COVID-19 survivors, this London salon’s hairdressing clients are being asked to undergo patch and strand tests up to 48 hours before having their hair dyed, or eyelashes and eyebrows tinted.
At Hairdressing Claims, we would argue that these tests should be performed anyway, regardless of COVID-19. Allergic reactions can happen at any time due to the chemical paraphenylenediamine; a known irritant and allergen.
Any reputable hairdresser will insist on testing before undergoing chemical treatments like hair dyeing. They’ll also follow other safety precautions such as only leaving dye on your hair for the required time and immediately rinsing out using a mild shampoo at the slightest hint of a bad reaction.
We all know the effect coronavirus can have on our health. But what about the impact on our hair? Hair experts – called trichologists – report two ways in which COVID-19 can generate greater-than-normal hair loss, these being…
1. Cumulative hair shedding While lockdown measures are easing now for most of us, there are still local restrictions in place throughout the UK and many people aren’t yet venturing into the office for work or even going out much to socialise. In other words, we’re still spending the biggest proportion of our time at home.
As such, our regular hair maintenance schedule has gone out of the window somewhat. Less pressure to look our best has resulted in a relaxation of our hair regime – that’s washing, brushing and styling.
You see, every time we do the above, we shed a certain amount of hair. Up to 100 hairs per wash, we’re led to believe. Doing it less means we shed more in one go because of the build up in between times.
The important thing is not to worry about this accumulated hair fall. Instead, switch back to your normal timings to fix the problem. It’s also better for your hair and scalp to keep them clean and healthy anyway.
2. Hair loss after contracting COVID-19 At the opposite end of the spectrum, some survivors of COVID-19 claim to have suffered more extreme hair loss both during and after the infection. A consistently high temperature is one of many symptoms of coronavirus. Fevers almost always cause excessive hair loss but this will stop eventually and hair will revert back to its usual rate of growth.
Similarly, those who’ve recovered from COVID-19 can struggle with psychological effects including telogen effluvium. This is the name for hair loss triggered by cortisol release in turn triggered by stressors on the body – in this case, illness.
Should you be concerned that this is happening to you, seek medical attention as the first step towards correctional treatment.
While on the subject of hair loss and hair damage generally, it’s worth noting our earlier blog posts for rejuvenation tips titled ‘Recovery for ravaged hair’ and ‘How to care for damaged hair’. Although relating specifically to harm caused at the hairdresser’s – such as burns, blisters and breakage resulting from negligent use of chemicals and hot styling products – you’ll find all manner of useful advice to get your hair in perfect shape again.
As experts in claims against hairdressers, these are subjects we know a lot about simply because we see first-hand what can and does happen at the hands of our hairdressers. Do get in touch with us if you’re keen to learn more about pursuing a legal claim for compensation.
In a landmark judgment for the hairdressing industry, a self-employed hairdresser, Meghan Gorman, has won an Employment Tribunal case against Manchester city centre’s Terence Paul salon for notice, holiday and redundancy pay.
The essence of the claim is that because Meghan was subject to the same controls as employees in terms of days worked, start and finish times, treatments and discounts given, products used, holiday dates as well as 67% of her takings being kept by the salon, she was not truly self-employed, despite her contract with the salon.
Employment Tribunal Judge, Marion Batten, ruled in favour of Meghan in March. The reasons for the ruling were released this month – these being the salon’s tight control over her working practices which effectively treated her as an employee, therefore she should benefit from the same employment law rights.
The judgment has opened the opportunity to further claims from Meghan who intends to pursue a legal case for unfair and wrongful dismissal, sexual discrimination and failure to provide a written contract of employment.
The successful claim is also hugely significant to the entire hair industry because many hairdressers who think of themselves as being self-employed actually aren’t. More claims of this nature calling out false self-employment are now highly likely.
Lee Jones is a specialist Solicitor at LLB Solicitors, who has represented hundreds of clients following injuries at hair salons. Lee states:
“We welcome this decision from the Employment Tribunal which may be beneficial for clients who have suffered injuries caused by hairdressers because it has the potential to make the hairdressing claims process more straightforward. Salon owners often look to avoid their responsibilities by hiding behind the pretence that their hairdressers are self-employed.”
The decision makes it clear that hair salons carry the ultimate responsibility for the staff they control. Lee continued:
“This judgment exposes the truth of these arrangements and puts the responsibility back in the hands of the salon owners, who should ensure they have insurance in place to cover the activities of all of their hairdressers regardless of their supposed employment status. Once salon owners start taking their responsibilities seriously, we are likely to see standards improve and fewer injuries.”
Anything that might reduce the risk of scalp burns, bleaching injuries, over-processed and damaged hair is welcomed by us. If you have suffered an injury caused by a negligent hairdresser and want to talk about claiming compensation, please contact us now or read more here.
There’s nothing quite like that fresh-from-the-salon feeling you get when you’ve had your hair cut at the hairdresser’s. Whilst choosing a hairdressing salon shouldn’t be fraught with risk, unfortunately sometimes it can be.
To help you avoid the same fate, today’s blog shares things to watch out for when selecting your hairdresser which we’ve gathered from across the web:
1. There’s little (or no) website and social presence
Online platforms such as websites and social media channels are the ‘shop window’ of any organisation. Not only do active web profiles suggest a degree of professionalism which probably means you’ll receive better hairdressing services, they also help set your expectations regarding how much hair treatments will cost. Research then pick a stylist best matched to your requirements and budget before you call to book an appointment.
2. Lots of promotional discounts are offered
It’s not always the case that cost is dictated by quality but where hairdressing is concerned, it typically is! Price is usually a reliable indication of a reputable salon. Expert stylists are rewarded by being able to charge higher pricing. It’s nigh on impossible for hairdressers to maintain consistency if they’re discounting this and that. Standards can slip if they’re rushing through appointments to subsequently recoup lost earnings. While it may be appealing to consumers with tight purse strings, be wary of heavy discounts.
3. There are too many (and unaddressed) bad reviews
Of course, there’s more likelihood of people putting pen to paper in order to complain if they’re disappointed with their hairdresser. In saying that, review websites such as TripAdvisor are extremely useful as they give an insight into previous customers’ experiences and show the level of service provided. Positive reviews are a great form of marketing and are strong incentive to book. Negative reviews, however, aren’t necessarily completely bad. If the salon has dealt with complaints by addressing concerns raised, it shows they’re listening and responding to feedback in all its forms. Conversely, if they’re disinterested and attempting to simply sweep under the carpet, stay away.
4. You’re not asked questions or made welcome
Upon booking and upon arrival, your first impression is with the receptionist. You should be asked pertinent questions over the phone to ensure you’re allocated the appropriate stylist. Similarly, when you turn up at the given time, you should be welcomed by a friendly face, offered a drink, directed to your seat and told how long you’ll be waiting for your stylist. A warm, relaxing environment is essential. If it isn’t, do an abrupt about turn and leave!
5. You’re not given a hair consultation
Before getting down to business or launching into idle chit chat, your hairdresser must consult about what cut and finish you desire. If a consultation doesn’t take place, will everyone depart the salon with the same style? Or will you be given a treatment that’s not suitable for your hair and skin type? Negating the consultation is a recipe for disaster. This is also the time to agree the fee so there are no nasty surprises or hidden costs thrown at you when it comes to paying.
6. You don’t undergo a patch or strand test
Following on from #5, pre appointment (approximately 48 hours before) you should have a patch or strand test performed if you intend to get a chemical treatment (be it dyeing, bleaching, straightening or perming). This will assess the chances of any potential adverse or allergic reaction. At Hairdressing Claims, we encounter daily individuals who suffer harm by their hairdresser. Read our further advice and find out what to do if this happens to you.
7. The salon isn’t clean
Cleanliness is definitely next to godliness in the hairdressing world. Being clean is a great virtue for salons. It’s visible evidence that you’ll be treated with the same care and attention, and that there won’t be any mishaps – slips and trips from unswept hair or spillages; infections picked up from dirty equipment etc. Take stock upon arrival. Even at this stage, it’s not too late to change your mind.
8. You’re not asked if you’re happy with your hair
The same as every service provider, your hairdresser should ask if you’re satisfied with the results before you’re handed the bill. As already intimated, it’s all about interaction and relationships with the entire salon team – receptionist to shampooist to hairdresser. If disenchanted with any part of the process, even if your hair looks amazing, it won’t feel like a wholly positive experience. Make sure you opt for a salon that will look after you well.
9. You have to re-do your hair at home
You’ve just spent your hard-earned money on having your hair done. You shouldn’t later feel the need to fix it yourself. Any credible stylist is capable of cutting and styling your hair precisely how you want it.
10. Your stylist always runs late
Sloppiness with timings doesn’t bode well for a good haircut. Whether it’s due to overbooking, too much chatting, laziness or other tardiness, they clearly don’t value your business enough. Your time is valuable and you deserve to be treated like royalty for the duration of your hair treatment.
There are plenty of respectable, eminent hairdressers out there so, if you need to break free from your current one, there’s nothing to stop you. While doing so may cause short-term awkwardness, it’s worth it in the long run to get a better stylist who’ll do your hair just right.
When 29-year-old office worker, Robyn Cherry, underwent a routine hair dye treatment at her hairdresser’s, an adverse reaction to a component within the dye almost killed her and triggered a raft of permanent allergies. That’s according to a recent news article.
The incident happened in 2010 but has led to multiple visits to A&E in the intervening decade. It occurred when Robyn was having her hair dyed back to her natural brown colour by a hairdresser after home bleaching her hair twice monthly previously. Despite having a patch test done 24 hours before and showing no signs of any reaction, within minutes of departing the salon Robyn’s scalp began burning.
Her symptoms progressively worsened. The following morning, her face had ballooned to twice its size, described by Robyn as looking ‘like a tomato’ and her head continued to burn. Taken to the GP by her mum, Robyn was told to go straight to hospital.
On the journey to A&E, Robyn’s face kept enlarging and her eyes swelled shut leaving her temporarily blinded. Her airways had swollen too. So much that they’d become blocked and she was struggling to breathe. Because of this, she was rushed immediately to the resuscitation unit. Simultaneously, her scalp covered in blisters which kept bursting and her hair was falling out in clumps.
Doctors found that Robyn had suffered a severe reaction to paraphenylenediamine (PPD), a common ingredient in hair dye, and her patch test should have been left for the recommended 48-hour period, not 24 hours.
She was administered adrenaline shots and steroids, kept in hospital for 20 hours and told it was the worst reaction they’d ever seen. According to the doctors caring for her, she’d have died if she’d gone to hospital an hour later.
But the saga didn’t end there. The release of PPD had made Robyn’s body go into a state of shock so she started having severe allergic reactions to everyday items including most foods, spices, nuts, alcohol and clothing.
She was also diagnosed with polymorphic light eruption and solar urticaria – allergies to the sun causing skin rashes and hives respectively. As a result, Robyn was forced to visit A&E multiple times every four days or so when each new allergy became apparent.
She’s now prescribed strong antihistamines and steroids forever, and has had to drastically change her lifestyle – giving up holidays, nice clothes and drinking with friends – as well as abandon her career ambitions to become a professional horse rider. In her own words, Robyn became a recluse, and experienced deep depression and anxiety attacks to the extent that her life was ‘a living hell’.
Because of what she’s been through resulting from hairdresser negligence, Robyn actively warns others about the dangers of not following protocol when dyeing their hair.
At Hairdressing Claims, our mission is to help people like Robyn pursue compensation from those to blame for harm caused, be it salons or individual hairdressers. If you’ve ever found yourself in a similar unfortunate position to Robyn, contact us for a free initial consultation and progress your case on no win, no fee terms thereafter.
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