Should I refund even though client said not to?


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New Member
Sep 23, 2013
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Cornwall, uk
Hi all. I am new here so please be kind! And apologies in advance for such a long post.
I am after a bit of advice. I have been a mobile beauty therapist for 3 years and have recently received a complaint about a set of Shellac nails I applied. I was doing this in addition to some other treatments on this particular lady and it took her over an hour to decide what she wanted done. Most of the time spent deciding was while I was doing her other work but she did also eat into some of the treatment time meaning I had to inform her that I would have to leave soon.

I made sure I had enough time to do the application however I did have to speed up the nail art. When she left both her and I were happy with the nails however I received a phone call a couple of days later saying she wasn't happy with them as I rushed them.

At the time she caught me off guard and I hastily offered her a redo but later on I reconsidered and rang her back offering her a refund instead as I was in the process of changing my hours so couldn't guarantee I'd be able to honour the arrangement.
She said she didn't want a refund and only called me about the nails because she "thought I'd want to know that as I rushed them they weren't very good".

Now I have had a lot of experience with this product and am a perfectionist so I wouldn't have left her with nails I wasn't happy with. This particular client is the type that would take advantage to try and get a freebie anyway and I think the only reason she turned down a refund was because it would look too blatant. Also I only charge her £12.50 a set as she is one of my original clients. The fact she has done this makes me want to not do any work on her again but I can't afford to do this as she also brings in other work for me, however I feel I need to give her my updated price list now so I was thinking of giving her this along with a refund.

What is the professional thing to do in this instance? Would a refund with my new price list seem a bit ****ty considering she said she didn't want a refund??
If she doesn't want a refund offer her a gift voucher for money off of her next Shellac treatment and enclose a new price list. That way she feels treated and knows how much it will cost in the future. £12.50 with nail art is too cheap hun, charge what you're worth. Xx

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Hi and welcome :D how do YOU feel about the nails? you said you were 'happy' with them? did you think they were good or do you think you could have done a better job? by the way £12.50 wow thats cheap!! lol

I personally never refund - I think offering to re-do (within the first week) is quite acceptable - i think if she was trying to push it into getting a freebie id stress that it must be done this week. if your mobile could you just not extend one night to squeeze her in? just to keep her happy and no bad publicity??
Welcome to Salon Geek!

I would not refund, especially if she said no.
I don't usually offer a refund. I only refunded once (in 6 years) because the client asked and I just wanted to get rid of that person, as they were making my life hell.
I would advise in the future to ask as many question about what exactly they don't like as possible. This way the client who is genuinely unhappy will give you some constructive criticism and a chance to re-do. The freerider will be "just unhappy". Sorry, but rushing is not a valid reason (unless there are real problems with nails) - you can work quickly and still do a good job, it will just be less relaxing for the client.
Then I would offer to re-do for free within max 3 days and offer exact day and time. If they. Don't want to do it this way, then your job is not that bad. I will not re-do it for free after 3 days and would certainly not do next appointment (in 2 weeks) for free. Genuine client will let you to re-do it asap. You don't need non genuine clients and time-wasters.

P.S. your Shellac price is ridiculously low. You would not even cover your costs let alone making any money.
If this were me I would of turned around to her on the night of her apt and said, im really sorry, but due to time restrictions I do not have time to do shellac and nail art. I do not want to do a rushed job, as I pride myself on offering a first class service and treatments, would you like to rebook on x day?

I have been in this position myself and I have rebooked them as im the professional, and I know how long it takes to do a good job and I wont be rushed, so I rebook.
Leave it! You've offered a refund and she's refused. I would also be fully booked next time as she obviously has no respect by keeping you waiting, therefore making you rush and then moaning about something that was her fault.
Thank you everyone for replying so quickly.
I charge an extra £1 per nail for nail art but I'm aware my prices are too low. It's just that I initially charged this as I was still training/newly qualified when she started having work done with me and as she has been one of my original clients I haven't upped my prices but I really need to now. It's very competitive where I live, there are at least 8 other beauty therapists in a very small town so it had forced me to keep my prices low as I am a relative newbie.

As for the nails, I would never let somebody leave with substandard nails. I'm always on the ball when it comes to asking what they want and if they are happy, hence why this lady felt she could take over an hour to decide what she wanted done. She is also quick to say "I don't like this or that" at the time so I wasn't expecting her call and was caught off guard.

When I offered to re do them she was going away on holiday and so I wouldn't have had time to do them then and there and by the time she came back she would be due a new set anyway. Also I've just had a baby and so I'm not working full hours yet, just a bit here and there so I don't lose my clients so it would be more hassle to arrange a baby sitter and do the work as my time is more precious than the money at the moment. Also with my prices currently being so cheap it really isn't worth my while. I don't particularly want to give her a gift certificate as again it's my time that I lose out on and if I'm increasing my prices it then means I'm losing more than the cost of her initial service (if that makes sense).
When I started I was too cheap and all I got was people who didn't value me or their nails or me. Now I charge £25 my customers are lovely they value my service. I wouldn't refund you offered she refused. You do need to look at your prices though as with travel etc are you making any money xxxxx

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