Simply Spa International closure; outstanding prepaid packages not to refund

After Wellness Village Spa, it's now Simply Spa International.

I swear the sudden closure of spa outlets might begin a disturbing trend. Again, those outstanding prepaid packages are said--understandbly--not to be refunded. (The best part is Simply Spa official website's News & Promotions have not been updated. There's not even an effort to make it known that it's closing?! Sheesh...)

Anybody want to start a spa business? Preferably in a form of a limited liability partnership, perhaps? Hur hur.

Barely five weeks after hundreds of spa customers were left stranded by Wellness Village's sudden closure, shutters are down for another one located in a hotel - with customers told that "outstanding prepaid packages will not be refunded".

The decision by Simply Spa International looks set to spark off another round of complaints to the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) and the Small Claims Tribunal, raising the question again if more can be done to protect consumers.

Administrative manager Lynn Koh, for one, was "shocked" when she received an email on Monday about the closure of the outlet at Parkroyal on Kitchener Road. She signed up for a 12-treatment package in July, and has "four or five" unclaimed treatments worth about $700 to $900.

But that might now be money down the drain, if Simply Spa's director Kiri Alana Edwards' email warning of no refunds is anything to go by.

"We took over the spa on August 1 this year. However, on Sept 28, we were advised to close the spa due to licensing issues. Since this time, we have tried to resolve such licensing issues as well as various other issues with the previous owner.

"Unfortunately, we have not been able to resolve these issues and therefore the spa will not be re-opening," wrote Ms Edwards.

MediaCorp emailed her for further details, but she replied: "As this matter is the subject of pending litigation, I've been advised not to comment."

A check with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority showed the company to be "live". Its shareholders are New Zealanders Ms Edwards and Mr Brandon Patrick Edwards.

Its website states that the spa was established in 2004 and moved to its present location last year.

Yesterday, its doors were shut and a notice from the hotel management said it was closed until further notice.

Responding to queries, a hotel spokesperson said the spa is its tenant, and the hotel has not been officially informed of the company's permanent closure. The hotel is directing all enquiries to the spa itself.

Case executive director Seah Seng reiterated his call for the spa industry to better protect consumers through an insurance scheme that would reimburse consumers when a spa closes, for instance. It has also asked the Association of Banks Singapore to ask banks to pay spas in instalments when customers prepay with their credit cards.

According to Case, the number of spa, beauty or wellness closures has decreased in the past three years. There were 13 closures in 2007, seven in 2008, and five so far this year, excluding Simply Spa.

"But it doesn't matter if it's one or two closures," Mr Seah said. "Whenever a spa closes, hundreds of customers are affected and it's very damaging to the image of the industry."

From Channel NewsAsia, "Hotel spa shuts down; no refund on packages".

Other 'spa' related posts:
- Wellness Village Spa's 330 angry customers...
- Aramsa Spa: The BEST spa in Singapore
- The address of Lia Meyrina (the allegedly vanishing director of the Wellness Vilage Spa & Fitness)
- Wellness Village Spa & Fitness is a limited liability partnership...so what?!
- Wellness Village Spa & Fitness outlets disappear? And to think that SIA Boarding Pass Privileges showcase the spa...

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