A Pukekohe hairdresser refused to cut a 4-year-old's hair despite the girl being a regular customer.
Little Shelby was left in tears on Thursday morning after visiting her usual hairdresser, Bogaarts Styling Lounge in Pukekohe, only to be turned away.
Shelby's mum, Stacey Paul, said the 4-year-old has been going to Bogaarts since she was 1 but was turned away for the first time today.
The mum and daughter visited the salon because Shelby needed a fringe trim ahead of her uncle's wedding this weekend.
"We've been there quite a few times, I'd say at least five times before, since Shelby was 1-year-old," her mother told the Herald after the incident.
She says Shelby was turned down because of a "new policy" that states a child cannot have a haircut there unless the parent or guardian is a customer as well.
Paul, who'd previously paid $25 for a fringe trim for Shelby, says she cannot afford to get her hair done at the salon and would rather have gone to a cheaper place but, because of her brother's wedding, wanted to go somewhere where she knew the job would be done right.
"They said it was because I don't get my hair cut there," she said.
The mother and daughter visited the salon on Thursday morning and she says that, despite the staff being usually very nice, she was shocked when they were refused service, especially as they'd been a customer for a while.
"They told me 'she can only get her hair cut if you get yours done here'," the mother said, adding she was told it was a new policy.
"They said 'you have two options: sign up with us or go somewhere else'."
Paul said that she couldn't afford to do that so they had to leave.
Four-year-old Shelby was left in tears as she left the salon with her mum.
The mother left a review on the salon's Facebook page saying she was left "very disappointed" with their visit.
"Apparently your policy has changed and children can only go there if their mum does? We have played $25 for a five-minute fringe trim but I was willing to spend that again as she was comfortable there and we had never had a bad cut," she wrote.
"I honestly left without being able to say anything, I was in shock that we were turned away. my daughter got to the car and cried. This was a horrible experience. I had told a few friends to take their daughters there but there is no way I will be recommending you again. It's not worth the tears."
Bogaarts Styling Lounge replied to the mother's review a couple of hours later saying they did not mean to discriminate: "Sorry that you feel offended by our salon policy," the company wrote.
"We value or great customer service and value our wonderful clients and we do look after children in our salon of clients that are also clients. It was a joint team stylist decision. If a parent/caregiver goes to another salon to have their hair done, we ask why don't you take your children there?"
The mother explained she normally gets a haircut from a friend as she cannot afford to get hers done but wanted her daughter to look nice for her uncle's wedding.
"I can't afford to get mine done so I have my friend trim my hair every six months or so when I see her. My daughter had never had a bad haircut with you guys and you have looked after her well. But turning us away was very upsetting and she will not want to come back again even if I tried. I definitely disagree with this policy," she added.
A number of Facebook users urged the salon to review the new policy.
"Well this policy has angered a lot of people in this community. Absolutely ridiculous to say the least," someone said.
Another Facebook user pointed out it "shouldn't be any of their business" what the mother does with her hair.
The Herald contacted the salon but has not received a response.