Hard-Selling Tactics After Groupon Facial

I’m quite low-maintenance (don’t shun me ladies, my last facial was 8+ years ago), but decided to take better care of myself and purchased a Groupon “deal” recently for $20. While i was there, they offered me a Diamond Peel upgrade for $60. I took it out of curiosity.

In general i’m quite skeptical of beauty claims that state you can instantly even out skin tone, reduce pore sizes, blah blah blah. But to my surprise this treatment did improve my skin – it’s now smoother, brighter, and softer to the touch. My perennial dark eye bags persisted, though the lady claimed they’d be gone too, if only i’d buy a 10-session package ($1440) and continue coming once a month. And there, was my first encounter with the dreaded hard-sell tactics of this sketchy industry.

This problem is well documented, which is why CaseTrust was founded to protect consumers. I even read some forum posts describing experiences tantamount to threats and bullying. I’m not sure why salespeople think it’s normal to spend thousands of dollars on packages that you have to pay in whole¬†on the same day. I’d never spent money like that without premeditation, and was not about to do so.

Anyway, the conversation progressed more or less as follows with multiple iterations:

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Her: The regular package price is $2880 but you can get it for $1440 today. It’d be a waste to stop after only one session. You already have dark aging spots and it will be very difficult to treat them later. You know,¬†there are no ugly women, only lazy ones. You’re not that old yet, but at this age your skin’s self-repairing ability is decreasing.

Me: OK, the treatment seems to work well, but i cannot spend so much money just like that. I need to think about it.

Her: But the price is so cheap! And i can see the results are great on you.

Me: Well, i have to think about my cash flow for the month, so i will just pay you $60 today.

Her: If it’s cash flow, then how about taking 5-sessions for $720? You can leave me a $200 deposit, I will waive the $60 fee for today and give you a balm for your face as well. I have to make a living, so although I can understand your cash limitations I cannot lower the price anymore than this.

Me: I still have to think about it. I haven’t calculated my expenditures this month yet, I don’t know my bank balance, and cannot make a decision without this info.

Her: Oh, but we can just charge your card! If it goes through, we’ll know you have enough money.

Me: Ummm, no. I have other bills I have to pay. I have to consider if this is a good use of my money.

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At this point she resigned herself to writing up a $60 invoice for me and took my credit card. The whole time, we had been sequestered in this closed room away from the reception/payment area, and she had a binder with before and after pics, plus brochures for various packages at their so-called regular prices. Once we got to the reception area though, she offered to “only” take $100 as a deposit today, and re-wrote the invoice before i could object. Her colleague at the counter charged $160 to my card, and asked for my signature.

I was pretty annoyed and refused to sign. I had them cancel the charge and left, after paying the $60 and returning the balm to the receptionist. While i was happy with the results of the facial, the attempt to coerce further business from me was unpleasant. In the end, i spoke to them entirely in English, because it’s always hard for me to be firm and authoritative in Mandarin. Negotiating in a non-native tongue is tough!

If i ever take another deal like this, i’ll just say no straight out from the beginning {defiant}.