LAST WEEK APAN REVIEWED ITS CONSENT AND REFUND POLICIES in line with updates within Consumer Affairs regulations.

The review was as a result of a business owner who was challenged by Consumer Affairs in their state as it was noted that their consent, refund and cancellation policies were not legally written and did not reflect the current regulatory requirements.  The salon owner was therefore instructed to engage a lawyer to rewrite her documents to ensure they correctly reflect the legislation.

As this was proving to be a very stressful and expensive exercise, the salon owner was advised to join APAN and access these documents from us. 

Totally devastated, she approached us and we were happy to review her documents which were reflective of US standards, but not in-line with Australian ACCC or Australian Consumer Law.  This is a common issue that we are finding, particularly with cosmetic tattooists who gain training from artists with strong overseas alliances and who have been given consent forms and other documentation that are not valid in Australia.

Here is why this is important.  Under Consumer Law in Australia, there is a statement that if a procedure was performed without “due care and skill” the client has the right to request a FULL REFUND.  While all our documents were reviewed by Consumer Affairs in that state and found to be compliant, they did, however, challenge us about not including SERVICES in our REFUND POLICY, as we only referred to PRODUCTS. While we were requested to include it we hesitated to do so for good reason. 

Here is why: In our industry, many of our procedures achieve outcomes progressively through a series of treatments. By including a refund policy that states that “if you believe that your treatment was not performed with “due care and skill” you can request a full refund”, we felt this ruling could be exploited by opportunists as this statement is subject to personal interpretation.  In this day and age we are seeing more and more consumers requesting refunds based on “buyer’s remorse” – in other words, they changed their mind and want to do something different.  With the option of “due care and skill” available to them, ANYONE could stand on this statement to legally justify a refund.

As we stood on our reasons, we were asked to consult our lawyers on the matter, as ultimately the ruling must be legally interpreted.   We were pleased that their recommendation was to remain “silent” on the issue of refund as it relates to services.  This position was accepted by Consumer Affairs.  However, we have now added a new policy to inform all who purchase these documents be made aware of the legislation regarding the consumer’s entitlement to request a FULL REFUND if, in their opinion, the service was not delivered with “due care and skill”. Please note, if you are not already aware of it.  It is important that you have the correct consent forms, cancellation policies and refund policies in place.

What about taking client photos?
Another area that several businesses are failing is that they are taking before and after photos of their clients without a signed consent form.  Using that photo on social media, or in their advertising, without the client’s consent is a violation of their rights.

These are challenging times and it is important that your documentation is not only in place, but legally written by a lawyer to ensure it reflects the appropriate legislation.

Every business owner has a duty-of-care to both their clients and staff to make sure these documents are correctly written and are in place.  Having these document legally written can be a very expensive excecise. 

APAN has over 45 documents that you can access at a small fee ensuring peace of mind. Many of our documents are just $30. They are also updated as changes come into effect. All members receive a list of these resource documents.  However, non-members can also access them at an additional 20% surcharge.

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Please review this list and make sure you are compliant. To quickly access a copy of the documents of your choice please phone APAN 07 5593 0360, complete your purchase so your documents can be immediately sent to you.