Bad haircut? Complain carefully to regulators

Bad haircut? Complain carefully to regulators

October 2nd, 2010 by Ellen Phillips in Business Ellen Phillips

Q: I've had it with my hairdresser. Not only has she cut my hair crooked the last two times, but she just colored it way too blonde. I want my money back and also want to change stylists within the same shop, so what can I do? - Jackie Jagged

A: Dear Jackie: Believe me, I can empathize. I made the rounds of hairdressers when we first moved to Chattanooga and, while they all were nice, either the color or cut was wrong too much of the time. Then I happened upon the Amazing Allison at Legends Salon who, up until this point, has been perfect.

Your first act is the same as I advise in any local situation where a product or service goes awry. Politely voice your displeasure to the person who's made you look like Marilyn Monroe playing the role of a mad scientist with lopsided hair.

If she or he doesn't make good, either via a new cut and/or color or a refund, then it's time to take it to the next step.

Speak to the salon

manager or owner (unless your hairstylist is that same person). Again, don't resort to loud anger, curses or threats. You want to come across as a client who expects - and has paid for - great service, and also as one whom in the past shouted praise to the skies.

By the way, statistics show for every time we complain to another person, the recipient tells another seven, then it makes the rounds seven times again, and so on. Therefore, a small local company's reputation can live or die based on one complaint.

So you try your best and all your efforts fail; what to do then? As I always suggest, bring in the big dogs. In this case, the BD happens to be the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (

If written verification of licensure is needed, please contact the respective board for applicable. For licensure verification, enter information in one or more of the following fields. Disciplinary practitioner profile and/or abuse data will be presented with licensure verification results, when applicable.

Complaints are assigned to trained consumer protection specialists for mediation.

In addition, a complaint may also be referred by the division to the specialized regulatory boards within the department or other local, state and federal agencies when regulatory oversight is necessary. Consumers may report suspected misconduct or other violations of a respective profession to the appropriate licensing agency and they're then reviewed to determine if any disciplinary action is necessary.

When all's said and done, however, please don't resort to the BDs unless the situation is pretty unforgivable, your operator and/or owner doesn't give a flip about your concerns, and you've tried all else humanly possible to resolve the complaint. Once the BDs step in, you're messing with someone's business license and life.

Just remember: regardless of the profession or complaint, we've almost always got redress for our concerns and legitimate complaints.

Also, referring back to last week's Thumbtack column, Google to set up your own small business or to find another in or out of your area.

Ellen Phillips is a retired English teacher who has written two consumer-oriented books. Her Consumer Watch column appears on Saturdays in the Business section of the paper. An expanded version is at under Local Business. E-mail her at