People should check the price of any service before agreeing to have the work done to ensure they are happy with the price, says Consumer New Zealand chief executive Sue Chetwin.
She is giving the warning after a Japanese student living in Rotorua paid $420 to get her hair coloured and highlighted at a Rotorua salon. She was expecting to pay less than $200. However, the hairdresser says she did the best job she could and the price charged was a discounted rate.
Last week 21-year-old Ami Taguchi, who has limited English, went to Dancing Scissors on Tutanekai St to have highlights put in and her hair darkened. She didn't ask how much it would cost as she could see prices displayed on the wall.
Miss Taguchi said she was not told how much it would cost before the work was done but was expecting to pay about $150 for what she wanted.
She said she had something similar done at another salon in Rotorua and it only cost her $85 with more foils done on that occasion. She ended up paying $420 for what she said was 10 highlights (foils) and having a dark brown colour put through her hair which falls to midway down her arm.
Miss Taguchi was told the price after she'd had her hair done and asked the hairdresser and salon owner Shaz Safarzadegan why it was so expensive.
Miss Taguchi asked her for a breakdown of what had been done to her hair which she was given but there were no individual costs given for each process. She told The Daily Post she was happy with the work but not the price.
Miss Taguchi's friend, Rotorua's Bronwyn Mora, went with her sister and Miss Taguchi to the salon and asked Ms Safarzadegan to itemise the cost of each part of the work. Mrs Mora asked that Miss Taguchi get back half of what was paid.
However, Ms Safarzadegan told The Daily Post the colour and highlights took two and a half hours, which was a long time.
She said Ms Taguchi's hair was thick, long, and in bad condition, with a three-inch regrowth. Her work included covering the unwanted previous highlights, highlighting parts of the hair, colouring the regrowth, then colouring the hair before blow-waving. She said Ms Taguchi had more than 10 foils, although she did not know exactly how many. She priced it at $560.
"I did my best for this client, as I would do for any of my clients, and charged a discounted package of $420."
Ms Safarzadegan said in hindsight she wished she had told Ms Taguchi the price at the start. However, Ms Safarzadegan said another staffer initially saw Ms Taguchi and by the time she started the highlights and colour Ms Taguchi was in the chair and had a cape on. Ms Taguchi had not asked the cost. As a gesture of goodwill, Ms Safarzadegan said she was prepared to give Ms Taguchi $100 off the cost of her next set of highlights or colour.
Salon St Bruno, which caters for the higher end of the market in Rotorua, would charge between $181 and $350 depending on how damaged the hair was, said owner Hilda Dufty.
Owner of The Salon, Beverley Wheeler, said she would charge $170 at the most for the work.
Ms Chetwin said the price seemed expensive for a hairstyle in Rotorua when salons were not paying the rents charged in Auckland or Wellington.
People should ask the cost of service before the service was undertaken, she said. "It's a hell of a lot of money ... It's a very expensive lesson."