Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bad service at Citispa Shine (Jurong Point)

Being a sucker for anything beauty & spa, I have always been open to trying out new outlets or salon with special promotions. Among all the 8 years that I have tried out almost everything or anything a girl can think of (Oh except Brazilin IPL).

I was cooed into signing up for a pretty fantastic promotion I must say @ $38 for an IPL underarm/ Manicure & Pedicure. Ok, I admit I was too cheapskate and greedy. I bought 5 treatments at a go, thinking that $38 for such deals are pretty value for money since my nail package from my usual salon had all been utilized. I was informed by the road shows sales staff that I am able to use the $38 for any treatments multiple times. (ie 3 x IPL & 2x Mani/Pedi). The information given was wrong apparently according to the receptionist/therapist in Shine. I could only use multiple times for Mani/Pedi but not for expensive treatments like IPL. (IPL Underarms and brazilin can only be used once each). Since I am more interested in their Mani & Pedi, I let it pass.

In case, you think that was THE nightmare. No, you are wrong. The nightmare just BEGAN. After I signed up and did one session of Manicure & Pedicure & Underarm IPL, I was still feeling pretty satisfied though it wasn’t the best manicure & pedicure or IPL I had done. But what can you expect if it is @ $38 for both Mani & Pedi? It was the cheapest I could find. Thereafter, I did the dumbest thing ever signing up another 10 sessions as I was persuaded into the promotion was going to end anytime soon & because my nail package elsewhere was $30 per session for only pedicure. Trust me, penny wise & pound foolish statement fits me at that point in time.

Cutting the story short, as I am in sales, my hours are pretty flexible yet can be pretty rubber timing, I will only call up and book appointment at the eleventh hour rather than advanced appointment which most of you will do. However, the worst case scenario I ever experienced will be no available slots for me since I book all my appointments last minute. I am pretty fine with that though since it is no fault of theirs but my crazy schedule was to blame.

Nonetheless, I have never imagined that no one picks up the calls despite me calling for almost 2 weeks because their receptionist is also the therapist. Fine, I can only blame the company for making the staff slaves and over-worked. What infuriated me was that despite them having massive volume which I presumed they are unable to already handle, they have frequent road shows every other week when Nobody freaking answer the phone. Tell me, what is the point of purchasing a billboard advertisement in Jurong Point basement with their contact number when you end up walking in to make an appointment?

As if that was not enough, I had to struggle to keep my fiery temper in check when I feel the above scenario itself was already a total failure, I was wrong. It was just the tip of the iceberg. Following which I was desperate to use up my packages, I book a session for Mani & Pedi 2 weeks later. As usual, I was given reminder call to go for the treatment a day prior to the session, oh they called me like 3 different times to confirm. I was like Duh??

On the exact day of my appointment, they called me in the morning to inform me that the appointment has to be postponed as the nail therapist injured her wrist. Oh my god, am I lucky or what? I don’t even get to win TOTO once. Fine, the receptionist mentioned that they will call me once the therapist has resumed her duties and let me have priority since it was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. 2 months past, I did not even get a SINGLE call and yesh, they still did not pick up calls and I have little choice but to sign up nail packages elsewhere to do my nails as I was the bridesmaid for my best friends’ wedding during that period. ZERO improvement after few months of set up.

Subsequently, I decided that I should walk in the branch to make the next appointment. I mean why should I let such a lousy salon cheat my money? I rather let the better service ones flourish anyway. Honestly, they might as well do walk-in rather than have regular clients. Another shock awaits me, I was told that the injured therapist decides to resign and there are NO other staff available to do Manicure & pedicure. My thoughts were: No replacements after 2 months & they were still actively prospecting new clients at the road shows with Mani & Pedi offers @$38??

I was totally disgusted with Shine. No other attractive offers can sway me in future. Obviously, I threw a fit and demanded a refund. Instead of pacifying me (as it was of no fault of mine), the receptionist cum therapist said nonchalantly: We cannot do refunds here only HQ Citispa can. (Even though I purchased the treatments directly at Jurong Point Shine) If you want, call the HQ (in Mandarin). It was the ultimate moment. I insisted and demanded to have my refund and was by no means a pushover. I insisted to call the HQ using their phone whilst there were some customers in the salon and demanded a refund.

The other Mandarin speaking lady was not any better as she cheesed me on the wrong note saying I should not demand my refund as she is trying to resolve the problem and offered me to have my Mani/Pedi done at Far East. As a matter of fact, Jurong Point has at least like 4 nail outlets and why should I travel to somewhere to have my nails done when I have signed precisely Jurong Point was super near to my house? I only agreed on the condition provided they fully compensated my cab fares to and fro from my place since she was so insistent on me leaving on a good note and trying their services.

We actually quarrelled over 2 occasions before I decided to call it quits.Actually, my problem could be resolved immediately. Refund me and we have nothing to do with each other. However, after several attempts over a few days and conservations, she was still very insistent to say let me leave on a good note and arrange all IPL underarms session saying they are making a loss and out of goodwill, am offering this to me since she acknowledge that the above events has unfortunately happened to me. (Spare me the sales talk, I am in sales too). I decided to make peace and went ahead with the “get over and done with” mindset.

Saying that, the remaining sessions, she arranged for a therapist to come down to have my IPL underarm to be done for me. There was still a few minor hiccups here and there like the therapist will be late about 45mins when the day before they told me to come in half an hour earlier, the therapist is on MC and another “experienced therapist” can do it too. The last session made me conclude that this will be my last and only contact with Shine for my lifetime possibly was that IPL by the 3 therapist was pretty much consistent in the “shots” they hit but apparently the last session was 5 on each underarm instead of the usual 10x each side, so I casually asked the number of shots per underarm per session. She replied, it depends on each individual.

Cool… I was like thinking you mean there were multiple “me” over the last few rounds and my hair & hormones are essentially different from the previous last few rounds? A simple question unanswered and the previous receptionist came in and “re-shot” my underarm a few more times.

My take was that if you are that confident about the standardization of shots or really customized shots per customers, you would have noted it down in my card and assist me accordingly. So they are guilty that they are reducing the IPL shots and “re-shot” my arms for me or what??

I was unhappy and called the manager from the HQ (the insistent auntie) and explained to her my discomfort in the way they managed the whole situation. I was then told one cannot have too many shots in IPL as it would cause burns and it depends on each individual. I then asked further oh in that case, why immediately I asked about the number of shots, I was given another round of shots if there is risk of burns?

After half an hour of duck verus chicken talking, I decided to give it up. I have better things to do than to argue over trivial matters like this but one thing for sure, I will not be going there ever again.

My many questions were left unanswered:

1)       Whose information is accurate? The sales staff at the road shows or the receptionist cum therapist?
2)       How can the therapist be the receptionist then obviously during treatments, no one can pick up the phone.?
3)       Why do they have contact number when you eventually have to walk in to make appointments?
4)       How can they CONTINUE mislead consumers during road shows thinking there is manicure & pedicure offer at $38 when there are no therapist at the branch? (Both road shows and salon in JP during that same period of time I am unable to do my Mani/Pedi at Jurong Point. I wonder if they did advise the new customers accordingly. )
5)       Why was there no replacement therapist after 2 months? Even so, it is an internal problem. Consumers should not bear the brunt of it.
6)       If I bought the package in Jurong Point, why was I asked to call HQ myself to demand for a refund?
7)       In this case, shouldn’t I be compensated since I had to buy another package or you mean I should delay being a bridesmaid because they cannot accommodate consumers’ schedule or should consumers accommodate a salon’s slots instead?
8)       Are the shots meant to be standardized for all consumers or by amount of hair? What determines it and why does it differ from one therapist to another when they all belong to the same company?

Background/ Motto of Shine
Lighten up! Its time to shed the fuzz, without undue fuss!
Become a real “smoothie” with the full range of top-to-toe hair removal solutions offered. SHINE’s signature Light-Clear System works in a flash, will not break the bank, and is relatively pain free and permanent. CE-approved for results and safety, the Light-Clear Brazilian has already garnered quite a following! Others are “waxing-lyrical” about SHINE’s depilatory services, which use high-quality wax for a thorough result with low “ouch” factor. And with the strict hygiene guarantee, there is nothing to stop you from stepping into the spotlight! 
SHINE is a member of the CITISPA group, which has 18 outlets in Singapore.

Location & Details of branch I visited:

1 Jurong West Central 2 #03 - 06C JP1
Jurong Point Shopping Centre
Singapore 648886

Business Hours:
Weekdays: 10am - 9pm Weekends: 10am – 7pm

Personal Rating for Spa-Lon:

Facilities: 2/10 (Too squeezy and only one chair for Mani/Pedi. Bed for IPL underarm not very clean)
Services: 1/10 (Unprofessional and I have heard comments about them discussing about which customers signed up for big packages referring them to big fish when I was around)
Location: 8/10 (Pretty convenient as it was at Jurong Point level 3, just up the escalator )
Effectiveness: 1/10 (My IPL hair removal is not effective, I am now doing it with another beauty salon which I will blog about later)
Overall rating: 3

This is a place I will never go to again despite attractive prices until they have better management and services. What is the point of paying cheap and never getting to do the treatments or at the end, you end up paying more signing for packages elsewhere when they do not pick up the phone. 


  1. Wow! Thanks for the rant and all the questions you posed. It just goes to show that CBS awards - or whatever they have - does not mean the treatment is good. Moreover, like doctors, they cannot guarantee the IPL works for you because of your genes, lifestyle, etc. "Caveat emptor is "true"!

  2. ya. if your skin doesn't fit their treatment, Citispa can only tell that is your fault. I regretted signing so many packages and since the 1st treatment that I have signed, they tried to ask me to sign for a 2nd one then the 3rd. Slowly there were so many and I didn't even finish my packages. Then calling them to make appointment and nobody picks up the phone. Then 1 year later, they started calling so I made one more visit and they tried to sell something new to me again. I was foolish enough to signed them in the first place. If I have seen your blog post earlier, I would never have made this huge mistake. I signed for more than thousand. They kept my receipts so I don't really know what I have except for the sum that I have paid. For that thousand, I could have bought a year or more worth of skincare products for everyday use compared to the signed package, which you can only used once after a harsh time making the appointment and its only 10 times. It does little to skin care.

  3. Totally agree! This is the worst beauty salon I have experienced so far! I have signed up 100 times with them & totally regretted my decision....omg....I badly wanted a refund as well.

  4. Hi, can I know if you manage to get a refund? I'm having very bad experience with them.

    1. Hi, pls let me know if you could get a refund.
      I've even filed claim in SCT and yet Citispa don't even bother to reply to settle amicably with me. Now I can only wait until the hearing date to know my results. fingers crossed..

  5. I just bought 10 vouchers at their roadshow from this salesperson Eileen (based in the Bukit Panjang Plaza Branch!!) who said I can go with my mum & friends for Mani & Padis only to just find out that each of their outlets only has one manicurist!!! So I called her and recorded the entire conversation as I asked her did I or not say I wanted to take my mum and friends & she said YES!! So I asked her then why wasn't I told that each outlet only had one manicurist? I mean how do you go together?
    They are cheats and if I have to I'll take them to court for misleading and false representation!!!

  6. I'm also another victim, sadly.. they refused to refund and simply went MIA, even with their director in the loop of email.
    They state strongly it's a legit contract when we signed for their package and it actually indicates NO refunds. :(

  7. Hi all, I'm also a victim of Citispa (initial Tiong Bahru). I bought their package more than 5 years ago but because they service was so bad, staffs behaviour very bad, I seldom went. Till one time, I saw they stored remarks in their internal system on my profile, scolded me Fxxking bitch. I complained to their management and no use. They got someone (China lady) to handle me (at Shine branch) but in the end pressured me to pay for more to upgrade package. I did not and she gave me black face and behave rude to me. Subsequently visit to (Nex) branch i had very bad experiences too as I was always badly treated and pressured to pay more by rude china girls. These r my experience to share. I now have phobia visiting their store to utilise my package. $1000 gone..