YOU AND YOUR RIGHTS

If a hairdresser messes up, don't just pay up and wait for your locks to grow back - complain, says Sandy Bisp

The image in the mirror resembling a panicked porcupine was mine. The shock of finding myself the recipient of a semi-Mohican - despite my clear request for a "soft, medium-length, casual style" - was total. Telling myself my hair would grow, I paid and scuttled off. But what should I have done? What rights do customers have?

Few, apparently, without recourse to law. Britain's hairdressing industry, employing 100,000 people, is unregulated, unlike most of Europe. Anyone can set up in business here without training or qualifications. Mobile hairdressers don't need shops.

According to the Office of Fair Trading, a haircut constitutes a "service" and anybody paying for one is entitled to certain standards. A service should be carried out with reasonable care and skill, in a reasonable time at a reasonable charge, if no price has been fixed in advance.

Before going to a hairdresser, you should be reasonably clear about what you want. But if you consider that too little skill has been displayed - or that the process has taken far too long - pay what you consider the service to be worth and ask for things to be put right.

If totally dissatisfied, don't pay. Leave your name and address in case an establishment wants to sue, and complain to your local trading standards office. If you want compensation, put it in writing, setting a time limit for the hairdressing company to reply. If no satisfaction is forthcoming, take your claim to a small claims court with photographic evidence showing the state of your hair. Maximum damages of about pounds 200 apply for a bad haircut. Your county court will help with this.

More serious injury from bleaching, tinting, perming or straightening can be grounds for claims, with damages of up to pounds 5,000 - above the pounds 1,000 small-claims ceiling. If a salon refuses to redress damage, your Citizen's Advice Bureau can advise. If damaged hair is cut, take along an independent witness, bag the hair, sealing and dating it for use as evidence.

The Hairdressing Council receives 3,000 complaints a year, almost invariably about non-members. The registrar, John Byre, says: "I fear it's the tip of an iceberg. We have made representations to government about regulating what is a pounds 2bn industry. I advise people to go to one of the 15,000 state- registered hairdressers."

Hairdressing Council 0891 517317.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manager - (communications, testing, DM)

£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas