Consumer protection in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s fitness and beauty centres have a chance to revamp their image with new legislation

    PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 December, 2018, 5:35pm
    UPDATED : Sunday, 09 December, 2018, 5:35pm

    I am writing in response to the editorial “Pressure mounts for cooling-off period” (December 2).

    The scores of complaints over three years against an operator of beauty centres seemed to have finally galvanised the government to introduce legislation requiring fitness and beauty centres to offer a cooling-off period to customers. After a previous proposal for the cooling-off period was scrapped in 2012, fitness and beauty centres seemed to become complacent, continuing their notorious sales practices.

    A cooling-off period would give customers more time to gain a better understanding of the services they are purchasing. There is no doubt that some centres use high-pressure sales tactics to retain customers, all in the name of profit. Some customers might purchase the services without understanding all the details and have regrets a few days later. It is a good idea to give customers the time to think twice and cancel their purchases if they believe that they got a raw deal.

    Is the beauty industry plagued by shady practices and sales tactics?

    The industry has reacted by saying such legislation might bring financial insecurity. However, if fitness and beauty centres provide high-quality services, customers are less likely to cancel service contracts. This is in fact an opportunity for this much-maligned industry to regain its reputation.

    Kong Lok-son, Tseung Kwan O