A woman claims she was bullied into spending £2,000 on beauty treatments by salon staff who told her the stress of a a recent burglary had left her looking ‘haggered’.
Executive assistant Kerry Halliwell, 43, of east London, booked a free facial trial with Smooth You in January last year after seeing an advert on social media.
The clinic, run by UK director Sasi Shiri, when it was trading under the name Elevatione, was investigated the the BBC‘s Watchdog last year – and was accused of ‘body shaming’ to encourage sales, charging extortionate prices and not offering customers factually correct advice.
And when Kerry arrived for her appointment staff told her she had the skin of a 79-year-old, and advised her to buy a £5,000 package of treatments to improve its condition.
‘They pushed and pushed me to sign otherwise they just wouldn’t have let me go,’ she told Femail.
She finally agreed to a reduced price of £2,000 for six treatments and paid £400 upfront, but earlier this month, Smooth You went into administration before the end of Kerry’s sessions, leaving her out of pocket.
Executive assistant Kerry Halliwell, 43, of east London, claims she was bullied into spending £2,000 on beauty treatments by salon staff who told her a recent burglary had left her looking ‘haggered’. The business went bust before the end of the sessions, leaving her out of pocket
When Kerry arrived for the appointment at Smooth You, previously known as Elevatione, pictured, she was met by staff who told her she had the skin of a 79-year-old, saying it was the result of the recent burglary. They reportedly pushed her into paying for beauty treatments
Speaking to FEMAIL, Kerry said: ‘I had been burgled a few days before my appointment whilst I was asleep in my house. I hadn’t been getting much sleep as I was so afraid.
‘After my free facial and skin analysis, they sat me down in a beauty room for two hours and told me my skin was like that of a 79-year-old woman.
‘They said my face was haggard and dry. They told me the lines were bad around my eyes and my pores were big.
‘They asked me what my beauty routine was and I said I had been through a lot of stress as I had been burgled just three days prior.
Kerry visited the Smooth You salon, but was greeted by a note confirming that the firm has gone into administration, pictured. Frustrated customers have complained online
‘They played on this big time and kept pushing me to buy all the beauty products.
‘They had a deal of 12 treatments for £5,000. I laughed at them and she kept saying surely I have something big coming up and pointed to my engagement ring.
‘I wanted to leave as I felt vulnerable but every time I tried they kept lowering the price.
Kerry, who is engaged, began her treatments in June 2018, but only completed four. It means she has been left out of pocket
‘The therapist kept going out of the room and coming back with different prices. They pushed and pushed me to sign otherwise they just wouldn’t have let me go.
‘Eventually I settled at £400 cash deposit and £1,600 on finance. I was bullied into signing up.’
Kerry, who is engaged, began her treatments in June 2018, but only completed four.
She had three Venus Freezes – a procedure using Multi-Polar Radio Frequency and Pulsed Electro Magnetic Fields to heat tissue under the skin an stimulate collagen production.
Kerry also had a high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) facial to smooth out wrinkles, and was due to have another Venus Freeze and a chemical peel.
She had her next appointment scheduled for 2 January but was allegedly told by Smooth You, previously known as Elevatione, that they were closed because of building issues.
An automated answerphone at the clinic says the salon will reopen on January 7 and to ring back then – but 10 days later the salon remains closed.
Kerry visited the salon, but was greeted by a note confirming that the firm has gone into administration.
The clinic’s Trustpilot page has been bombarded with negative reviews from other customers who have also been left out of pocket by the company’s collapse.
Kerry added: ‘I went to the salon and there was a note attached to the door to advise they had gone into administration.
‘I started to panic. I contacted my finance provider Omni Capital and I was the first person to contact them as they had heard nothing. And not heard from them since.
‘I have not been offered any reimbursement.’
Smooth You have been contacted for comment.
Kerry said she has heard nothing from Smooth You since trying to contact them regarding going into administration and her outstanding beauty treatments
BBC Watchdog investigation into Smooth You last year
Elevatione, which has recently re-branded to Smooth You, was accused of using high-pressure sales tactics to coerce customers into spending thousands by ‘exploiting their insecurities’.
The clinic, run by UK director Sasi Shiri, faced the accusations from BBC‘s Watchdog who investigated the company.
The team at Watchdog explored the sales tactics of the chain of clinics offering cut-price facials to initially attract customers and then appear to up-sell skincare packages using high-pressure techniques.
They were accused by Watchdog of ‘body shaming’ to encourage sales, charging extortionate prices and not offering customers factually correct advice.
Shiri’s current clinic has run offers for a £19.95 bargain facial, but after one customer bought the deal she reported to the consumer programme that she was ‘forced’ into buying a further six treatments for £1,500.
UK director of the chain of clinics Sasi Shiri (pictured) refuted any claims his team exploited customers to get sales, offering an interview with BBC Watchdog before later declining
Director Shiri was contacted by presenter Matt Allwright about the claims and during filming he offered an interview, but later refuted the claims that his team were using high-pressure sales tactics.
Beauty fan Payal explained to Matt that she’d snapped up the discounted facial offer when the salon was still called Elevatione.
Payal said that the beautician claimed that she needed these specific treatments: ‘She was trying to explain to me that my skin has a problem, not on the outer layer but the inner layer, the tenth layer of the skin.
‘I don’t even know where the tenth layer comes from,’ she added.
The staff immediately started to try and talk Payal into paying for a plan of 12 further treatments costing £2,500.
Payal said that the beautician brought her manager over when she was unable to convince her to purchase anything, offering her a cheaper deal of six treatments for £1,500.
A previous customer of the clinic Payal, told Watchdog how she felt pressured to say yes to the sales pitch that was offered to her. She ended up paying £1,500 for six luxury facials
Feeling pressured to take the deal Payal recalled: ‘I just said “OK let’s do it because I don’t see any other choice”.’
She now claims that the experience has knocked her confidence adding: ‘I just wasted my money.’
On the show, the presenter Matt read a statement from Smooth You which said: ‘While the vast majority are extremely pleased with their services, a few complaints are to be expected.
‘They said they “strive to offer customers the very best treatments at a reasonable price and pride themselves on their excellent customer service”.
‘But they’ll watch our report carefully and if they find further ways to improve their service, they’ll do so.’
Matt added that the clinic said they used the similar technology to others in the market.
‘They “totally refute the accusation they engage in high pressured sales, practises, or play on their customers insecurities”.’