Protection of Spa Consumers

PRESS RELEASE (Singapore, 06 April 2010)

Clarification

Spa & Wellness Association Singapore (SWAS) is concerned about the recent reports on the closure of spas and salons that have caused an outcry from consumers who had purchased treatment and service packages and were left in a lurch when the establishments ceased their operations due to financial troubles.

In a recent article in the Straits Times where Mr Gerald Lim of Subtle Senses mentioned that they were in talks with SWAS to try to assist spas who are in the red. SWAS would like to clarify that to date, SWAS has not been in any talks with Mr Lim or any other spa on this matter.

While SWAS has been invited by the ATOS Wellness Group to attend a closed door meeting on Thursday, 8th April 2010, SWAS is not in a position to make any comment on the meeting as the agenda of the said intended meeting has not been made available to the association. SWAS would like to further clarify that ATOS Wellness Group and the other spas known by SWAS to be attending this meeting are not members of SWAS. As such, SWAS will not be attending this meeting and any decisions made during the meeting will not reflect the views of SWAS and its members. Any members of SWAS who attend the meeting shall be attending either in their personal capacity or as a representative of their respective organisations. Any comments made or views expressed, by any SWAS members in the meeting shall not be in any way be construed to reflect the views of SWAS.

SWAS Initiatives

SWAS has been working relentlessly in the last few years, including engaging in numerous dialogue sessions with various government agencies such as Spring and NEA in raising standards and good practices within the industry. SWAS has also been working closely with Case Trust, who has recently been appointed to take on the role of Spa Accreditation for spa establishments, to ensure that certain standards of spa operations are met.

At the same time, SWAS has already started working closely with insurance brokers to deliver an insurance plan that will protect consumers not just for the Spa but will also encompass related service providers such as beauty salons.

There have been requests to regulate packages sold in the market; however, it must be noted that, SWAS is not a regulator and is therefore not in a position to enact and enforce any regulatory mechanism. However, SWAS will work with its members to come up with a set of guidelines for the protection of spa consumers – we are currently in the process of engaging our members to gather their views on how best to address this issue.

As our association's interests encompass a wide outreach in terms of the categories of operators within our membership. It is as uphill task to propose a figure or set any limits on the value of packages sold, which varies within the sub-industries such as:

- Day Spa, Club Spa and hotel spa
- Beauty Salons who are not spas but merely doing facials
- Beauty salons who are not spas but does facials and massages
- Medical Spas and Wellness Clinics
- Establishments who only offer massage services such as foot reflexology, back massages etc.
- Nail spas, Hair Salons etc....

Each of the above sub-industries have their own norms and the cost of their packages will vary.  This accounts for the wide variations of the amounts paid by the clients quoted in last Saturday’s papers (ie: from a few hundred dollars to the region of S$10,000).

SWAS will continuously work with the relevant agencies such as Case Trust to engage the industry through forum & dialogue and, where possible, conduct random surveys from the members of the public to gather feedback. This public feedback will then be reviewed together with the feedback from spa operators, based on which a cap can be proposed at a level which safeguards both the public interests as well as the industry’s viability and reputation as a reliable and trusted one.

About SWAS

As Singapore’s spa and wellness industry is rapidly growing, the need for an association that reaches out to the all sectors of the market resulted in the formation of Spa & Wellness Association (Singapore) – SWAS.

The association actively promotes the integration between the spa/beauty industry and the wellness market. It integrates all who have a keen interest in this industry to represent total health and wellbeing.

SWAS firmly believes that well-trained therapists are the backbone of the industry and that customer satisfaction means repeat business. Like no other association, SWAS embraces the grassroots and creates opportunities for its members. Its key focuses stand on four pillars of success:

- raising standards to nurture stronger businesses and better client service

- educating its members to fill the gap and offer career or business opportunities

- creating a platform for industry players to share their knowledge and grow business

- being an access point to industry/market research and gateway into government bodies and other associations

Media Queries

Spa & Wellness Association Singapore

Secretariat
Mr William Yeo
Tel: +65 6513 7315
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