Complaints lodged against stylist
WHEN a Singapore hairstylist told them that he had styled the hair of a Hollywood actress, three customers were so taken in by his words that they forked out thousands of dollars for expensive hair packages.
They each paid sums ranging from $2,000 to $4,280 for packages by hairstylist Jonal Chong after he told them that he had styled the hair of A-list actress Nicole Kidman.
Yesterday, the Consumers Association of Singapore told my paper that the three customers have lodged complaints against the hairstylist. They demand a refund of the unused portion of their packages.
Of these three, two have asked Case to act on their behalf to reach an amicable resolution on the matter.
The customers had come forward following a my paper report on Jan 6 which exposed Mr Chong for making a false claim of being an “exclusively appointed hairstylist” to Kidman.
Mr Chong, 48, is the managing director of Jonal Chong Hair Couture in Orchard Central. He had used Kidman’s photographs to promote his services. Her photograph was also printed on the back of his business cards and a framed poster of her was hung on the wall of his shopfront.
His print advertisements also said that he had styled Hollywood stars like Katherine Heigl and Hugh Grant.
Mr Chong apologised for making these claims less than a week after my paper reported that a picture of him and Kidman bore a striking resemblance to another photo of Kidman and Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar at a Los Angeles premiere of the 2001 film, The Others, starring Kidman.
Case then stepped in and sent a letter to Mr Chong asking him to substantiate his claims. His lawyer replied to Case on Jan 14 to say that he had taken down all photographs of Kidman from his shop and that he would not make such misleading claims again.
Case said it later sent Mr Chong a warning letter, expecting him to look into and resolve complaints.
Two other customers also recently approached the consumer watchdog to complain about unsatisfactory services provided by his salon. Last year, Case received three complaints about disputes that arose over hair packages and treatments offered by the salon.
In an e-mail reply to my paper yesterday, Case executive director Seah Seng Choon said that if Mr Chong’s salon continued to breach fair practices, Case would invite him to sign what is known as a Voluntary Compliance Agreement.
The agreement is a voluntary document signed by a business, in which it admits to committing unfair practices and promises not to repeat them again.
Mr Seah said: “We will monitor the cases received against the business.”
I have only these words to say after reading the article: “Liar liar, pants on fire”. How long did Jonal Chong think he could have fool the world with his incredulous claims?
I am not sure if Jonal Chong is web-savvy, but if he do an image search of his name now on Google, all the images that popped up are funny doctored images of him with various celebrities. “The Most Accomplished Hairdresser in Singapore” indeed.
One would expect a fluke like this to wind up his business pretty soon after the shameful saga. Curiously, when I passed by Jonal Chong Hair Couture a few weeks back, business seems to be booming. I was also amazed to still see Jonal Chong advertisements on prime time TV and in the Straits Times.
Has notoriety ended up spiking up his business instead of bringing him down? Via a news article published in my paper on 10 Jan (Mon):
On the saga’s impact on his business, Mr Chong said: “Actually, my business has boomed by about 25 per cent.”
He said he makes between $5,000 and $10,000 a day, but declined to say if that was before or after the scandal broke. “I have already apologised for everything that I’ve done. What do you want me to do?” he said.
This Jonal Chong due is like a super hardy cockroach that one just simply cannot sweep out of the kitchen, not to mention squash it to bits! The more you think this will be the last of him, he will rebound back and surprise you with a vengeance.
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Alvin is a marketer by day and blogger by night. He is a 100% geek who spends too much time surfing the web.