This is my negative experience with BottomSlim and I would advise people to never step into this shop with unscrupulous salespeople.
My nightmare started sometime in early June. I was reading blogs online when I came across a blogger’s review for a free trial at BottomSlim. Her blog entry ended with a free trial of 5 sessions for all her readers as long as we submit our name and particulars in the given box.
I did not suspect anything wrong with this shop at first. Granted, that most of these slimming centres were all talk and no results – BottomSlim was the winner of CozyCot Awards 2010 and also the sponsor of Star Awards 2013.
The centre of choice I picked for my free trial was at Ngee Ann City, and they called me on 8th June, Saturday. The first thing they told me was that they did not have any more available slots for the week and I should consider other branches since they have this ‘free gift’ if I can make it this week. I chose NEX at Serangoon and my first trial was on 10th June, Monday at 4.30pm.
I reached BottomSlim at NEX on time and was asked to do a survey, never did I expect they will use the survey against you. Thankfully, I did not give out all my details. I was then ushered into a small room when I know all the hard selling will start.
The consultant who is being assigned to me is Wendy. She asked me what’s my motive in signing up for today’s trial and I told her honestly I’m just here to try out. I told her I eat quite healthily, watch my diet and I exercise 3 times a week. All she could give me was sarcasm, and that my thigh muscles will probably become heavier and that all that exercise is of no use as compared to their technology and ‘many machines’ – as quoted.
Wendy pushed me into believing that I was beyond help in terms of my figure. Yes, I was not perfect but I didn’t think that I was desperately in need of help though I wanted to lose weight.
She spent close to 1 hour deceiving me into signing the package. The 5 trial sessions were non-existent and considered ‘not good’ by their standards. I was wondering if it is not good, why they offered us in the first place. Finally, I was offered 10 sessions at $688, but please note that they did not mention GST was not included. I told Wendy that I dont’t want to pay such a big amount at a go and she say they have instalment plans for various credit cards.
Do note that she did not tell me what the cards that BottomSlim offer for instalment, the months offered and also payment per month. I had to calculate everything on my own while she just stared at me with an impatient look. I asked if they have Citibank 12-month instalment plan which amounts to about $60+ a month which was still affordable to me. And since I was going to work hard to losing weight, I thought I would sign up with them.
I asked Wendy if they do instalment plan on Citibank Rewards Mastercard, and she said she had to check so she needed my card. I was in the room and she went outside to the main counter. Without further ado, Wendy came back with a credit card slip with the amount of $736.16 (with GST) at 17:09 and no sign of any instalment plan.
I do not think her English is that bad from differentiating to check if the customer’s card is valid for instalment plan or plainly just signing up the package. She just swiped my card without me confirming the purchase.
I am working in the retail industry for close to 6 years. I know how instalment plans work and look like on credit card slips. All Wendy said was, “You have to call the bank on your own after 3 days to sign up for the instalment plan”.
My first reaction was: What? After signing up for a package for them I still have to call the bank on my own? I have sign up for instalment plans before and even if the merchant’s credit card machine is not updated, the merchant will call the bank for me.
I thought something was fishy but being cornered into the small room, I had no choice but to sign my credit card bill and call the bank after I am done with their treatment.
I was taken into one of their rooms and after taking my weight and measurements (which they can’t show me), my treatment started with Wendy dragging the machine into the room. I wanted to close my eyes and finally enjoy my treatment and she mentioned that her manager is very kind to offer me 3 sessions for $300 (once again, no GST) for shaping of my legs and the usual price is $480 per session. And if I said yes, she will proceed to use 1 session of this later. I really wanted to say no, but she did not take my answer for a No. I was being cornered, I wanted to leave but my clothes and my belongings were stashed in their wardrobe.
I asked Wendy if I can cancel the transaction just now and add this on to the instalment statement. She said no and then said, “You mean $300 you also cannot come up with it now? Need instalment plan?” I gave her my ATM card and without further ado again, she brought her wireless NETS machine into my treatment room. I was then again $321 poorer.
My treatment promised of 10 sessions but nothing was clear. In the end, I ended up being attached to their machine with pads for 20 minutes, the pads just vibrate and this was supposed to help me detox. I could have gotten a simple machine for the same use at 10 times less the price. I was then ask to lie on my back and Wendy applied some cooling gel on the back of my thighs and use a red light machine to ‘shine’ on my thighs.
If you remembered from my post earlier, Wendy mentioned that she will use the ‘3 for $300’ session on me but there was no such thing. She hurried me off after 40 minutes of treatment and I do not know why she hurried me to sign the latter when she did not even help me with it. I asked her about it and she said she will use it the next time.
I spent close to 2.5 hours in the shop and out of which, 40 minutes was used for treatment.
My first call to Citibank was at 6.50pm immediately after I left the shop. It was then I realized that I had to pay an extra 5% interest for instalment plan.
Again, this was not known to me.
I called Citibank again at 7.04pm again, this time I asked them if I could cancel my transaction as I really did not wish to continue any of this. Sad to say, Citibank said that only the Merchant can do the refund and they advised me to go back to the shop.
I went back to the shop at approximately 7.20pm telling them about the 5% fee that was not known to me. All of them gave me weird looks and one of the staff even told me this, “If you are so concerned about the 5%, why not you just pay the amount in full?”
The thing is this – Why would I asked for instalment plan if I can pay in full? I do not know if the salespeople were so used to acting blur, they just gave me a blank stare and told me no refunds were allowed.
I called Citibank again at 8:10pm asking them for help but they advised me to go CASEwhen they heard about my story.
On 11th June at approximately 5pm, my fiancé called BottomSlim to speak to them about my case.
Around 5.30pm, the manager of BottomSlim NEX called me. I related the whole story to her but it was of no use. The manager’s remarks were condescending and she thought that I was so hard up of the 5% interest which amounts to about $40+. I told her it was not the amount I was angry about, it is the customer service given and the services that were promised. Besides, Wendy swiped my card without telling me and initially I gave her my card for her to check if my Citibank card was allowed for the Instalment plan.
The manager did not apologize to me and react strongly when I wanted a refund. She said that no refunds were allowed and that I had signed the credit card slip. She also put the blame on me and mentioned something like – “no one put a gun into your head and ask you to sign”. And despite swiping my credit card without my permission, the manager said, “Since you already want to lose weight and you already came to our store, why not you just forget about this and continue the treatments?”
I cannot believe such customer service and all she can offer was 2 more extra sessions. To me, it does not matter about the session, and in fact I would rather not go there anymore. I feel duped and cheated into signing a slip which I dont’t want to and was not as promised.
11th June 11pm – I have filed an online police report against them.
12th June –With the help of my friend, we found one the address of one of the main branches of BottomSlim, which is at Orchard Central. Wrote a complain letter and sent it to them.
17th June – I still have not received any reply from BottomSlim.
If there’s anybody who can help me and knows what to do, I need your advice! To everyone out there who is interested in going for their trials and whatsoever, pleaseDON’T. I was stupid enough to not check reviews online before going.