Your responsibilities under consumer law
Compared to other industries, Consumer and Business Services (CBS) has received a low number of complaints about hairdressers. While this is a credit to the industry, it may also be due to customers not knowing that the hairdressing industry is subject to certain consumer guarantees through the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) or how to make a complaint if they are unhappy with a service.
Under Australian Consumer Law a hairdresser or barber must guarantee that their services and/or any product resulting from their services are:
- provided with due care and skill;
- fit for purpose and of a standard expected to achieve the desired results that the customer made known; and
- provided within a reasonable time.
In addition to the issue of whether a hairdresser is qualified, the two most common areas of customer complaint are: hair extensions that matted and/or failed to hold; and hair colouring that did not meet the colour the customer expected or that resulted in damage such as a burnt scalp or skin staining.
A qualified hairdresser or barber will aim to provide a service with “due care and skill”. However, being able to meet the guarantee of “fit for purpose and of a standard expected to achieve the desired results” becomes more difficult when a product is supplied by the customer. For example, in a situation where a customer provides the hair colouring or hair extensions, the hairdresser would need to be cautious about their ability to guarantee a particular outcome and thus meet the Australian Consumer Law of “fit for purpose”.
Australian Consumer Law protects both clients and businesses. For further information about consumer guarantees and your responsibilities under consumer law please refer to: sa.gov.au/topics/business-and-trade/running-a-business/warranties-and-consumer-guarantees
Updated qualifications for hairdressers and barbers
South Australian hairdressers and barbers are regulated by the Hairdressers Act 1988. Under this Act a person is automatically qualified to practice as a hairdresser or barber provided they hold qualifications prescribed by regulation, or have qualifications, training or experience that the Commissioner for Consumer Affairs considers appropriate.
The hairdressers’ qualifications were updated in October 2016 to reflect new course codes. This includes recognition of the new barbering qualification (Certificate III in Barbering). This update does not affect a hairdresser or barber who was already qualified on 27 October 2016 or who had commenced training to become qualified.
People with overseas qualifications need to ensure those qualifications meet SA regulations. The Department of State Development has a unit that assesses whether an overseas qualification meets the standard required in SA. Consumer and Business Services (CBS) will now recognise a certificate issued by that unit.
CBS is currently running a campaign to inform consumers of their rights under Australian Consumer Law and that hairdressers and barbers providing a service in SA need to be qualified.
Find the CBS printable posters for your salon here