SINGAPORE has seen a boom in the spa industry in the past few years. Consumers are enticed by the low first-visit prices and cheap packages.
However, pressure selling and unethical business practices have made spa-going pressurising instead of pleasurable. After a relaxing facial or massage, spa-goers are made to sit through an hour of sales talk, even though they have already paid for many sessions.
A brand-name spa in Ngee Ann City where I was a member disappeared without informing me and resurfaced elsewhere with a new name. Then, after locating it, I was told my package had expired. I could extend it for only one more year, or top up another $600 for a two-year extension for my 55 sessions leftover. Every visit to that spa ends with pressure selling that is dreaded.
Perhaps these spas could take a lesson from my neighbourhood Traditional Javanese Massage Hut, where consumers renew their packages automatically without being prompted. I marvelled at the difference, but it is obvious why – hassle-free appointments, good service and no pressure selling.