Ok...as a treat to myself on my 1/2 Birthday today, I decided to go to a highly-raved salon to get gel overlays.
What I received makes me wonder if I was scammed and I'm reaching out to fellow MUGs for advice & opinions.
The salon owner did my nails and this is what she did and/or had me do:
1. Trimmed my nails to my desired length.
2. Used a coarse nail file to rough-up the nail beds.
3. Grabbed one of many identical brushes from a holder which was attached to her swing lamp.
4. Placed the brush into a small bowl of clear liquid to soak for a few moments.
5. Applied an odorless product from a brown glass bottle using the attached wand ala nail polish application. This product dried to a very matte finish.
6. Grabbed a small container of a very finely-milled white powder.
7. Repeatedly dipped the "soaked" brush into the powder and applied the mixture to my nails. When one hand was done, she had me hold it very close to the lightbulb of her swing lamp while she did my other hand.
8. Used a rotary file to smooth things out and taper the edges.
9. She did French tips using regular white nail polish and then she had me hold my hands near the lightbulb again for a few minutes.
10. She then applied a "Mirror Glaze UV Topcoat" and had me do a total of 6 minutes under a UV lamp.
When I asked her about the powder-to-gel she stated that it lasts longer than the liquid gel which requires several layers. She also told me that it would last 3-4 weeks.
I've had two people tell me that I received a set of "glorified" acrylic nails disguised as gel nails. After watching a few videos on YouTube, I'm beginning to agree with them! ALL the vids that I've watched CLEARLY show a clear gel substance being applied to the nail in thin layers with "cooking" time under the UV lamp between layers.
I'm irked that I was scammed and seriously considering disputing the charge ($41!) to my credit card.
So...my questions are:
1. Does it sound like I was scammed? Gel nails ($40 + $1 French) vs. Acrylic ($20 + $1 French).
2. Should I dispute the charge with my credit card company?
I didn't leave a tip because she had stepped away while my nails were doing the 6-minute-UV-bake thing and came back REEKING of cigarette smoke.
There were many relpies that stated, yes, it defiantly sounds like you were scammed, and some stated that this was on one of biggest nail salon scams going on. She then went on to give us this update.
It. Was. EPIC!
So, I stopped by the salon on my way home from the office this evening...owner was very surprised to see me back so soon. There were approx. 6 ladies waiting to be seen and 4 ladies already receiving services.
She asked if I was there to have some nail-art (we had briefly discussed nail art while she did my nails yesterday) and I calmly replied "No, I'm here to request a full refund because I asked for gel nails and what you gave me was standard acrylic nails with a UV gel topcoat which certainly isn't worth $20 when the bottle sells for $8.00 at the beauty supply store."
She replied that she's been doing powder-to-gel nails for 10 years and she "NEVER" gives a refund...EVER!
I then went on to say "There is absolutely no such thing as powder-to-gel nails but there IS such a thing as acrylics with a UV gel topcoat being passed off as gel nails and it happens to be the #1 nail salon scam in the country! Last night I contacted several friends in other states who have gel nails (my fellow MUGS, of course!) and I even went to YouTube & Google to do a search for "gel nails" and "gel nail scams" and EVERY video or article about the gel nail scam was IDENTICAL to what you did to my nails yesterday. Today I contacted two cosmetology schools and they confirmed that there is no such thing as powder-to-gel nails. The directors at each school advised me to contact Virginia's licensing board for more information about filing a complaint and that's what I did this afternoon. You committed fraud by telling me that I was getting gel nails and that's why I'm asking for a full refund."
O.M.G. I thought she was going to have a seizure right then and there!
She vehemently stated again that she doesn't offer refunds and that I don't know what I'm talking about! At this point, one of her techs came running over with a jar that had a home-made computer label that said "Gel Powder" and the tech kept saying "See...gel powder! Gel powder! You wrong! We right!"
I sighed and said, "Ok. When I called Virginia's licensing board I was given directions on how to download this complaint form (at this point I took the form out of my purse and held it up which clearly showed that I had already filled in the salon name, address, etc.) and submit it for an investigation. You've stated twice that you don't give refunds, so I have absolutely no choice but to file a dispute with my credit card company (which I had already done, btw) and submit this complaint form to the licensing board. I also have absolutely no qualms about contacting each of the three local TV stations because I have a very good working relationship with several of the reporters and newsroom directors at each station, so I have no doubt that one of the stations would be interested in doing an "investigative report" regarding this little scam you're pulling on unsuspecting clients."
She stood up.
She sat down.
We stared at each other in a stalemate for a few moments.
She then told me she'd give me a refund after she removed my "gel acrylics" and to have a seat and wait in line. I told her that my time was just as valuable as hers and given that I had already spent over an hour in her salon yesterday, I preferred to sit at an empty station and soak my nails while her staff continued to take care of the other ladies who were already waiting. (One of my local friends recommended that I stick to my guns on this aspect since all they'd be doing is having me sit at an empty station anyhow with my hands in a bowl of heated acetone.)
She stood up and looked at me as if I had two heads. I smiled at back at her and said "I think I've given a fair solution that will satisfy both of us AND allow you to take care of these ladies at the same time. It's called multi-tasking."
She sighed, said a bunch of stuff very quickly in Korean and pointed to an empty station.
I said "Great! But first, let's process my full refund so that when one of your techs has finished removing these nails, I can leave straight away and we won't ever have to speak to each other again."
She processed my refund right then and there, all the while saying a lot of stuff very quickly in Korean (I'm certain she cussed me out during all that talking).
She took a cigarette break and while she was outside, one of the ladies who had been waiting asked me if what I had said was all true. I said, "Absolutely! If you have internet access on your cellphone you can google it and find out for yourself."
In the mirror I could see her typing on her iPhone and a few minutes later she and her friend crossed their names off the list and left.
It took almost 40 minutes, but I have my nekkid nails again and I've slathered my hands in olive oil. Typing with gloves on at the moment is lots o' fun, btw!
Yes, I'm still going to file a complaint with the state because if I don't, this salon will continue to scam people.
Wow..I am so glad she stuck to her guns! I wanted to share this story with everyone because I would hate for this happend to anyone! Not very many people know what actual gel nails look like nor are that educated in the nail salon world. If a nail tech tells me me...oh..it's gel a to powder manicure..I most likely wouldn't think twice about and end up paying twice as much for it!
REMEMBER..GEL IS NEVER POWDER!!
Here are some more websites that cover this scam and give more detail into what a UV gel nail should be:
Not what I asked for
UV Gel Nails
Do you wonder what liquid and powder gels are?
Also, if you feel you have ever been scammed or ripped off by a company, you can report them to:
Better Business Bureau
If you have a similar story or know more info on this...please share :)