In the age of social media, we are constantly bombarded with advertisements and commercials promising us nothing short of the fountain of youth at insanely cheap prices. But as the saying goes, you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
Take for example an ad with the slogan “Always wanted a v-shaped face? Now you can for just $50!” Anyone would be intrigued! But here’s how the story would most likely play out.
You give them a call to book your appointment but they tell you “We’re fully booked for the next 2 months! But we can squeeze you in for next week if you’re keen.” Red flag number 1– lying about how busy they are but you get special treatment, thus inducing in you a false sense of camaraderie.
So with a warm fuzzy feeling of trust, you head off to your Botox session. However, upon arrival, you are told that it is in fact, $50 per injection point/syringe of Botox (red flag number 2) and that with your round face, you’ll need at least 10 syringes to even see a hint of a V. You feel completely dumbfounded, but you follow through anyway because you have to save face (literally and figuratively).
Upon completing your session, the dreaded bill shows up: $500! You sigh and you’re in complete disbelief and feel utterly deceived and cheated. Your face looks nothing like a V and you’ll have to eat instant noodles for the next 2 weeks because your money for groceries just went into “shaping” your face.
At Regen Aesthetics, we have dealt with numerous patients who have actively sought cheaper treatment alternatives, only to come to us disappointed and humiliated for falling for a beauty scam at a “too good to be true” spa or clinic in Singapore. Often these unethical beauty clinics lure customers in with promises of cheap procedures only to present their customers with a hefty bill and shoddy workmanship after the procedure.
There are many types of beauty scams that have gone down in Singapore. Generally, consumers are protected under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA). However, consumers must remain vigilant and aware of the various misleading tactics used by businesses to lure them in.
In this blog, we hope to provide consumers with awareness of some of the schemes that are prevalent in the aesthetics realm in Singapore. Remember, if it is too good to be true, it is most likely not. As the saying goes: “ Stay woke” and be proactive in covering the hidden motive behind these schemes.
Think about it, is anything truly free? This is one of the most common types of schemes that are prevalent around the world. As a capitalistic society, we can’t help but eat out of the hands of “free” offers. Look at this case for example:
In most cases of a free trial, it’s usually only applicable if you sign up for a particular package after the procedure. If you refuse to sign up for a package, the “free trial” will be negated and you will have to pay full price for the procedure that was performed. Businesses are aware that customers are more likely to follow through once they have arrived at the premises or clinic, so don’t expect them to be upfront about these “conditions” when you inquire (via call or email). If a “free trial” is offered, be sure to ask questions like:
Another type of beauty scams in Singapore is when boutiques impersonate or use the identity of qualified practitioners to lure in customers. However, when customers arrive for their procedures, beauticians rather than the qualified doctors will be the ones administering treatment.
As consumers, it is important that your treatments, especially ones that involve injections, lasers, and other medical devices are administered by professionals with the appropriate medical qualification. Let’s have a look at a case study in the US that alerted doctors around the globe to be wary:
Source: Aesthetics Journal
This practice does not just put consumers at harm, but also doctors whose identities are being exploited in these complex beauty scams in Singapore. When signing up for a cosmetic procedure, do not sign any agreement or pay any money until you have been consulted by the said doctor. You should also make sure that the treatment itself is not administered by anyone other than the doctor. Remember, cosmetology and dermatology is a medical practice and one will have to be qualified with years of training to be certified as one.
Very much like the story we narrated earlier in this article, cheap offers are another form of beauty scams that is going around in Singapore. The offers in banners are usually applicable for a “single-stage/step” of the entire treatment. It is important to know that treatment should never be broken down into stages, as this is a deceitful practice. The word “treatment” in its entirety means full service.
When you see an offer from a clinic, be sure to check what the offer entails. Consultation is an important phase of purchasing a service from an aesthetic clinic, you’re better off paying for consultation instead of a “stage” of a treatment that will not provide any improvement at all. Our advice? Always request a consultation before signing up for any offer and ask as many questions as possible. Your chances of saving yourself from a scam are higher when you do these things instead of just signing up blindly beforehand.
This is the worst form of beauty scams in Singapore. While hard selling isn’t a “scam” by definition, Singaporeans often find themselves paying for treatment packages that they never even wanted in the first place. Why does this happen? Certain salespeople target the vulnerable and take advantage of the inability of consumers to place a firm boundary. This is akin to being bullied into purchase.
Here’s a story of an old woman who was pushed into spending over $11,000 after being lured into a clinic:
We’ve taken snippets of the story and fortunately, it had a happy ending. However, this isn’t the case for many. More often than not, older and more timid people are targeted into purchasing services they never intended to buy to begin with.
According to a legal service platform, there are a few measures you may take if you ever fall into the trap of hard-selling. Asia Law Network states some of the measures you can take including:
Source: Asia Law Network
Particularly in Singapore, it is generally difficult for businesses to blatantly scam clients. Often you have signed up for these offers, making it legally viable even if you feel “scammed”. As unfortunate as it is, as consumers, it is important to be aware of these tactics and protect yourself, most importantly, with a firm “NO”. Don’t even think about wavering and saying, “hmmmm, maybe”, because that’s when they pounce.
Where free trials and offers are concerned, we believe consumers’ desperation or yearning to have a procedure done often lands them in trouble. In an ideal world, everyone would be able to afford aesthetic procedures. However, aesthetic doctors and specialists go through years of training to ensure that all treatments and procedures are performed safely, accurately, and effectively. You are not only paying for their experience but for your safety and peace of mind.
Your beauty should not come at the price of cheap deals. Your health, both physical and mental, deserves the best, so remember to do your research. You may even just drop by for a consultation to understand the mechanism of the treatment and how much it's going to cost you. This includes understanding exactly how many treatment sessions you would require. Upon establishing the facts of the treatment, you can plan out a timeline and saving strategy to get the treatment done. This is a feasible, no-regret approach to obtaining the right treatment instead of falling victim to beauty scams in Singapore that will leave you filled with regret and frustration.