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November 17, 2011

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18 on salon fear tactics charges

BEAUTY salon workers who allegedly smeared irritants on customers' faces to frighten them into buying expensive skin care products are being prosecuted, Songjiang District People's Court said yesterday.

Eighteen members of staff are accused of forcing customers to spend hundreds of thousands of yuan over a nine-month period, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said 79 people claim they were charged a total of 345,000 yuan (US$54,346) by the salon between September 2010 and May this year.

In early 2010, the three chief suspects, surnamed Wang, Hu and Yang, opened a beauty center in a basement of a supermarket in Songjiang and recruited 15 employees, prosecutors said.

Passers-by in Ludu area and Miaoqian Street were lured in by the promise of free gifts and free trials of products.

Once in the salon, staff would offer unsuspecting customers free applications of facial products, claim prosecutors.

But once the facial products were applied, staff would claim the chemicals were toxic and that customer had to buy additional skin care services as a remedy, according to prosecutors.

On some occasions staff would apply a product to half of a customer's face - on the premise of showing a before and after contrast.

But the product would irritate the skin and the customer would be pressurized into buying services to alleviate this.

And of course, the prices of products in the salon were unreasonably high, said prosecutors.

Some victims were even prevented from phoning for help and forced to buy exorbitantly priced membership card, it is claimed.

The store was raided in May following complaints, officials said.


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