Hard-sell horrors: She pays $6k after consultant prods her thighs, calls her fat

SINGAPORE - One consumer, Miss Y. Teoh, 25, visited a slimming centre in March for a trial treatment, but ended up buying $6,000 worth of packages.

She claims: "The consultant prodded the fats on my thigh and made comments like 'such a waste' and 'do you want to spend the rest of your life like this?'

"I'm 50kg and 1.6m tall, but the consultant made me feel so fat.

"The three hours of sauna treatment and electrical muscle stimulation also made me hot and giddy.

"When my credit card was maxed out, the consultant even 'escorted' me to the ATM to withdraw cash."

After contacting the Consumers Association of Singapore, Miss Teoh was eventually refunded $2,800 and given $4,500 in credit for other treatments.

Another customer, who wanted to be known as Madam Yong, claims she was pressured into buying a second package to complement her first at a beauty salon last year.

She says: "The consultant went one step at a time, saying the first package wouldn't work without the second one. Before I knew it, I bought so many treatments I didn't need."

Says Mr Andrew Lee, a marketing lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic's Business School: "It can be quite easy to cave in to such selling pressure, as we already live in a society obsessed with looking good.

"People feel that beauty can increase one's self-esteem and let them feel accepted.

"That's why they can be tempted to spend a lot of money on these treatments."

Other recorded tactics: Asking for credit cards on the pretext of checking the credit limit, but charging to these cards without consent.

Claiming the customers condition will worsen, or turn into something more ominous like cancer, without treatment.

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