Cautionary tales - three people who signed up

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 31 July, 2009, 12:00am

Ms Lee

'I received a telephone call on June 22 from an Easyfit telephone sales person who said the company was recruiting people to be beauty ambassadors. The caller said the centre would offer a free slimming programme and I would become a beauty ambassador and get paid for it.'

She met a woman at the centre who told her she had to pay HK$24,800 as a sort of bond to ensure she would follow instructions and maintain a target weight. If she lost more weight, her deposit would be refunded. 'They kept asking if I had a credit card and already had a contract prepared for me.'

She signed the contract and took out her credit card to pay. 'Once I signed the contract, the woman suddenly grabbed the contract and refused to give it back.' .

She said the woman ran away and she followed her to another floor where she ended up grappling with seven or eight other staff members. She called her boyfriend and police.

'When a police officer arrived, he said he could not help much because it was a civil case. A staff member at last agreed to give me a copy of the contract' on condition she did not reveal the contract terms to anyone. She did not agree to that condition and left with police.

Easyfit public relations manager Kitty Mak said she remembered Ms Lee's case.

'If our staff really had attacked her, they would have been arrested,' she said. 'Our company has 20 years' experience in offering slimming services. We always give a copy of a signed contract to our clients.

The reason for requesting them not to reveal the contract terms is purely because we don't want our competitors to know how we run our business,' she said. 'We did not tell her that she could not talk to the media.'

Police confirmed they were called to a beauty centre in Cameron Road on July 22 where a woman had signed a contract which she later did not agree with later.

Mr L

'I received a call from a telephone sales telling me that a beauty centre was recruiting people to become their beauty ambassador earlier this month. The salesperson said the centre offered free programmes that would shape my body even better. If I successfully trimmed my body, I would be selected as the beauty ambassador and get paid for it.

'The telephone sales lady called me many times and I was touched by her sincerity and I agreed to meet the centre staff. When I went there they measured my weight and height and said my metabolic rate was lower than normal and I needed to lose 20 pounds.

'Then they kept urging me to sign a HK$30,000 contract for a series of treatments and asked me to pay a deposit. I found it quite fishy so I said I only had a few hundred dollars and they took the cash. Then they referred a loan company to me and said I could borrow money from the company and it was all interest-free. I signed the contract and a loan application form, because I did want a better body shape. But I thought about all this more when I got home and did a search on the net. I found many people said this was a dirty tactic this centre employed to cheat customers.

'I regretted my decision and called up the centre to cancel the package, but they refused and said the paper I signed had been referred to their legal consultants. But I insisted that I wanted to cancel.

'The centre gave me a call a few days before this press conference and asked me to go there so that they could help me cancel the contract I signed. As for the money, they said since it was a small amount, they recommended I spend that on facial treatment.'

Mr L said he would not name the beauty centre for legal reasons.

Ms Ho

'I signed up for a programme at Perfect Shape that cost HK$14,400 on July 21.

'I went to the centre the next day and a staff member measured my body weight and height. Several staff members tried to persuade me to join more programmes and I told them I couldn't afford them as I was jobless.'

'But they ignored me and kept talking when I was almost naked. I complained that I felt very cold, dizzy and uneasy. One of the staff members gave me a drink and told me to sleep in a room. After I got up, they started selling me other packages that cost HK$3,500. I said it was too expensive. Another staff member said that could be cut to HK$600.

'One staff member then asked me to give her my locker key so that she could help me get my bag and I could give her my credit card to settle the payment.

'I thought I only had to pay HK$600 so I gave her one of my credit cards. But another staff member told me I could take part in a lucky draw game if I registered all my credit cards. So I gave them all my cards.

'I started having a body massage treatment after I agreed to pay the HK$600 package. I was given a lot of papers to sign when I was doing the treatment. I was naked and did not have glasses. I felt embarrassed and I signed everything they gave me. They did not give me time to read and just showed me where to sign.

'As I was doing the treatment, I asked questions about the papers I signed. Then I was told to go to another room for fat burning. I felt so cold and dizzy that I forgot to ask questions about my bill and credit cards.

'Meantime, the staff members asked me to sign an Aeon loan application form ... they kept me so busy and confused that I was not able to question them. The one-hour treatment lasted for five hours and I ended up paying HK$52,400.'

A Perfect Shape spokesman said the company had no comment.