About 6 months ago, I received a call from an aesthetic centre. My job is in marketing, therefore I tend to be more forgiving with marketing calls. This company claimed that my name has been chosen to receive a complimentary face treatment with no obligation. They also said I could bring a friend along.
According to them, their main goal is to create awareness about their presence in this industry. Even if I do not want to stay for the sales talk, apparently I was more than welcome to just come by & claim the complimentary treatment. Strange. How would they gain from this campaign? They said they are sponsored by VISA card.
Alright. I told them they would need to call me back since I didn’t have my calendar right then. After several calls, possibly 5 or 6 times later, I finally said yes and we made an appointment only last Sunday. Which would have been 4 months after I said yes. I booked in for my husband & I.
As the day drew closer, I began to get reminders after reminders about my appointment. They also reminded us that they need us to bring our ID & our VISA card.
A day before the appointment, another text message came telling me where to park, etc. On the day itself, I received a reminder. An hour before the appointment, another text message came asking if I was on the way.
Strange. They do look desperate. In any case, we had an open mind. We usually do not expect much from a free treatment. However, our investment was more on arranging our days.
Our Weekends are usually fully booked with parties or appointments or catching up sessions. Seeing that they said we should put aside 2 hours for this treatment, we arranged our schedule accordingly... to work around this appointment. We also have to drive an hour to the north to drop my kids before we drive to the centre for this treatment. Then again another hour to pick them up.
So, even though it was a free thing, our time & effort weren't easy to arrange. Nevertheless, we managed & we arrived on time.
Upon arriving, they asked for our ID. My husband was asking the relevance for the ID & they didn't seem to mind to explain.
The place was white and clean but it wasn't cosy or SPA like. It was more clinical than anything else. All my husband asked was the relevance for the ID.
All of a sudden, we saw a change. They didn't ask for 2 IDs like they stated in the text message "NO ID, NO TREATMENT" They also didn’t bother for us to fill up the form about our medical history - a typical routine before any facial treatment. They just asked my husband to sign a blank form with his name on it. They didn't even bother to offer me a form at all. So something was weird there. I didn’t say anything.
We were told at the front desk that we will be getting a cleansing, scrub and mask treatment. We just nodded politely since we have no idea what this whole "treatment" supposed to comprise.
So we were led to a "couple room". It wasn't like we were next to each other. We were at a different angle of the room so much so that we might as well be in a different room. We sat there without any instruction so I asked if we were supposed to take out our shirts like it would have been the case for most face treatment.
They said no. Strange. We laid down, they pulled a thin blanket over our fully dressed body. Yes my husband still had shoes on. And the air con was warmish.
The ladies didn’t wash their hands before they started foaming their hands. They are possibly cleaning their hands while foaming & lathering and place all their germs into our face. They also have a bucket of water in the middle. For these two ladies to wash their towels to put on our faces.
Hygiene is not a plus point here. But that was nothing yet. The first minute, they lathered their hands and cleanse our face. Rinsed off. Then they scrubbed our face very quickly. Possibly one minute. Rinsed off. Then they applied something clear which they claimed is their magical mask. It was still wet when they said "Ok, all finished!"
Of course I was confused. I stayed there for a while since it has been a total of 6 minutes for the whole treatment! Can this be real? Then the lady came into the room again and said it was done. I stood up and told my husband that she said it was done. He said it couldn’t be since his face was still wet. I said that was what she said.
Confused, I stepped out & asked the front desk. She was like no.no.no... I said "oh, ok, for a while there I thought that was it."
Then she came into our room. Now I realised that she just didn't want me to say it in front of her other clients at the front/waiting area.
She came in & explained that the mask is a special mask. She took a mirror and said it would be an instant change. I looked at myself in the mirror & shook my head. What was I supposed to look for?
Anyway she said it was an option to keep it for 10 min and they can wash it off for us or we could leave it on for at least 3 hours. The longer the better she said.
"So the whole treatment is done?" She said, people who had tried this magical mask would come back themselves to get a package. So no selling required.
Alright ... but I was still confused. At that time, I have to admit that I didn’t know how to react to that situation. We just left.
In the car, we were like "What has just happened here?"
We talked it through. When we walked in, they must have scanned us & realised we are no one to be doing hard selling since we are pros at that! Haha. So when they took our ID, they knew that they couldn’t sell us anything. So they didn't bother to give us the forms since they know we will not be a client.
They then decided not to give a complimentary treatment and just gave us a cleansing of our faces since they are not getting anything out of it. Instead of a 2 hours session as promised, they withdrew their offer & only gave us a 6 minute treatment.
But is it fair? I have re arranged my schedule to make this appointment happen. We drove all the way to drop our kids for babysitting and another hour to drive them back... we changed our plans for this. And the whole thing took 6 min? We didn't get the treatment we were supposed to get.
They wasted our time, our car fuel, our parking fee, our effort in re arranging our schedule, driving up to the north just to drop our kids off, only to fetch them soon after.... they have wasted a lot of our time & energy which we could have used to play with the kids and do something for them.
If their plan was to create awareness, they have failed miserably. They probably didn't realise who we are and the crowd we are hanging out with. Through our network, they could have at least gotten 60 clients easily if we have favoured them positively. And these clients wouldn’t even mind spending $5000 on their faces. I know I'm the only weird one out, but the people I hang out with are into all these.
But this centre chose to decide to waste our time. Indeed they will get awareness. We will of course tell our network what we have experienced.
The only awareness they will be getting is avoidance. At all cost. In future, even for free, no one would want to step into their arena. Their ruthless marketing campaign has been thoughtless & inconsiderate.
I wrote a text message back to that same number that gave me too many reminders. Telling them that it was a shame that they chose a wrong way to market their services. I'm working in an advertising & marketing industry, I can assure them that whatever scam they are trying to pull, will not work.
Since that text message, I have been receiving 28 missed calls from the centre. I do not want an explanation, another offer or anything from them. It’s done and over it.
Address: 1 oxley rise