A woman whose bleached blonde hair was so destroyed by a hairdresser it ended up as a “mullet” has lost a $30,000 claim for damages.
Melbourne woman Jessica Bray argued the Saint James Hair Studio damaged her hair when staff bleached her roots in April last year.
She claimed her hair was left so brittle it broke off, leaving her with extensive breakage and lower self-esteem.
“I was told to shave my head because of the damage,” Ms Bray told news.com.au.
She said the hairdresser’s work was good at first. The business even boasted by posting photos of Ms Bray on its social media platforms.
“A few visits later they started to do my hair wrong. Initially I thought it was a once off and they fixed it to my satisfaction,” she said.
“Thinking they wouldn’t do it twice in a row I returned and they did it again, and dropped dye on my clothes and also under-bleached my hair again meaning I would have to have my hair bleached four times in around six weeks.”
Ms Bray said she went to another hair salon, where the stylist was shocked by the business’s treatment of her.
“They didn’t know what had been done so (they told me to) go back to them to get and it fixed then return to them next time I need my roots done,” she said.
“I go to the salon and they put a random girl on the right side of my hair so they could do it ‘quickly’.
“They then go out back and leave me alone for what seems way too long so I decide to check my own hair.
“I tug on it gently and it falls out in my hand. The owner sees, stops cutting a man’s hair and runs out back to my hairdresser.”
In the days after, Ms Bray said her hair fell out in clumps so large they blocked her shower’s drain.
“It was just a mess,” she said.
“I wrote the salon a letter explaining what happened and the laws they broke.”
She said the salon met with her and inspected her hair. When they saw the damage she says they sympathised with her and told her “of course we will offer you compensation”.
But the business then didn’t follow through with a promise negotiate a figure, they simply refunded the cost of the haircut.
“I have been getting this service done every six weeks for 13 years. Nothing like this has ever happened,” she said.
“Even if you google bleach damage in Google image search nothing is as bad as mine.”
The salon denied the claim, insisting Ms Bray’s hair was in poor condition after years of bleaching.
She launched a $30,230.60 claim for damages against the salon, including $15,000 for humiliation and distress and $1933 for a wig to look her best for her 30th birthday.
“Hairdressing is like art, it’s subjective. I think it’s good but the client might not like it,” Mr Yong said.
Tribunal member Danica Buljan found the claim “excessive and without justification”.
Instead, Ms Buljan ruled Ms Bray was entitled to a $270 refund for the service and $114 compensation for a psychologist appointment she attended for humiliation and distress.
Ms Buljan found the salon breached consumer law by failing to provide services with due care and skill, given the damage to Ms Bray’s hair was “reasonably foreseeable”.
Ms Bray said she hadn’t been given a fair hearing and was considering an appeal.
She said she hadn’t applied for work because the unemployed sales retail worker would be rejected for because of the “mullet” haircut she had been given.
“Although people don’t want to admit that looks matter, they kind of do,” she said.
“Hair does play an important role, it’s a very big thing to a woman.”