The days are getting longer and warmer, and couples all over the UK are gearing up for ‘wedding season’ – that period between May and August when the majority of weddings take place. Everything must be perfect on that special day, from the catering to the cars, the dress to the best man’s speech and a ‘just so’ hair-do. No-one wants to walk down the aisle with a bird’s nest on their head or suffering from bleach burns from a colour session that went badly wrong.
If a haircut is more scary than hairy, or you’ve ended up in A&E with scalp burns from a botched bleaching session, you need to know your rights.
The Consumer Rights Act
Hairdressing is a service, and as such is covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. However, in this situation the problem is much more immediate than a leaky roof or dodgy underfloor heating, so you need to take control of the situation from the outset.
We’re all too eager to simply say, “It’s lovely, thank you…” to a stylist, even if we hate what they’ve done to our crowning glory. Now’s the time to throw that British reserve in the rubbish bin and stand up for yourself. Complain on the spot and tell them that you’re absolutely not happy with the results, and why.
This is where the stylist has an opportunity to redeem the situation and sort the problem out straight away. However, if you’re not comfortable with this (and to be honest, would you really be happy allowing the stylist who made such a mess of your hair in the first place ‘another go’ to try and fix the problem?) then you can ask for a different hairdresser to take over.
Refusing to pay
Before you refuse to pay for a haircut, you’ll need to make absolutely sure that if it turns into a serious dispute, you’ve got evidence that the cut was sub-standard or not what you wanted. Time to whip out your camera phone and take a couple of snaps so that you can prove it’s a bad cut or not what you requested.
In the majority of cases, a salon will refund an unhappy customer or offer to rectify the situation so that their reputation isn’t damaged. But if they dig their heels in then you may be able to get your money back through the small claims court, especially if you’ve had to go to another hair stylist to get the problem rectified.
It’s rare that you’ll come away from a visit to the salon with any kind of personal injury, but the most likely issue is going to be a reaction to a product, or injuries to your scalp as a result of the incorrect use of hair bleach. If you are going for a colour change for your big day, then a responsible salon will recommend that you pop in for a patch test at least 48 hours before they colour your hair. A patch test is where a small amount of the dye you’ll be using is dabbed just behind the ear. Any reddening or swelling of the skin indicates that you have an intolerance or allergic reaction to the chemicals being used, and your stylist will then work with you to find a suitable alternative.
If a salon doesn’t do a patch test and you suffer burns or physical injury as a result, then you could have reasonable cause for pursuing an injury compensation claim. If that’s the case then you’ll need to get legal representation straight away, as well as gathering as much evidence as possible about the type of chemicals used, the level of training of your colourist, and the type of injuries suffered as a result.
As long as you’ve taken every precaution (such as informed your stylist about any potential allergies) then the onus is on the stylist to ensure that the application of chemicals is done properly, with all the correct checks and care before, during, and after the procedure. Our top tip: do a ‘dry run’ well before your big day. Visit your hairdresser and get the cut you want sorted out and any colouring or bleaching organised well before your wedding day. That way you can make sure any dodgy cuts have ‘grown out’ well before you have those forever photos taken.