‘Underwent severe mental breakdown’: Delhi hotel ordered to pay woman ₹2 cr for wrong haircut
A luxury hotel chain has been ordered to pay a compensation of ₹2 crore to a woman after a salon at their Delhi-based hotel allegedly gave her a wrong haircut and hair treatment more than three years ago, according to reports. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) observed that it shattered her dream to become a top model. "There is no doubt that the women are very cautious and careful with regard to their hair. They spend a handsome amount on keeping the hair in good condition. They are also emotionally attached to their hair. The complainant was a model for hair products because of her long hair," a bench of president RK Agrawal and member Dr SM Kantikar said, according to news agency ANI.
The commission noted that the complainant was a model for hair products because of her long hair and modelled for big hair-care brands but due to the haircut against her instructions, she lost her expected assignments and suffered a huge loss. “She was also working as a Senior Management Professional and earning a decent income. She underwent severe mental breakdown and trauma due to negligence in cutting her hair and could not concrete her job and finally, she lost her job,” the bench said in an order dated September 21.
The commission also held the hotel guilty of medical negligence in hair treatment and said that the woman’s scalp was burnt and she developed an allergy and itching because of the staff’s fault. The commission noticed that the complainant’s WhatsApp chat shows that the hotel admitted its fault and tried to cover it by offering free hair treatment.
The woman said in the complaint visited the salon at the Delhi-based hotel a week before a job interview and specifically asked for “long flicks covering her face in the front and at the back and four-inch straight hair trim from the bottom” in April 2018. However, she alleged that the hairdresser did not follow her instruction and chopped off her hair leaving only four inches from the top. She complained about this to the management of the salon, which in turn offered her a free hair treatment. She claimed the treatment caused permanent damage due to excess ammonia, which resulted in excessive irritation in her scalp.
She brought the incident to the notice of the higher authorities of the hotel but “in vain”. “Rather, they misbehaved and threatened her to face consequences,” she said in her complaint and approached NCDRC, according to PTI. She sought a written apology from the management as well as compensation of ₹3 crore for harassment, humiliation, and mental trauma. She claimed that she stopped seeking herself in the mirror, avoided social activities, lost her self-confidence due to little hair.
However, the hotel chain claimed said her hair was cut as per her request and was not chopped off and that no harm was caused to her scalp with the excess ammonia during the hair treatment. The hotel’s lawyer also said that the complainant is not a “consumer” as the payment was declined and the hair treatment was also provided to her free of charge. It claimed that the woman filed the complaint with a malafide intention to malign its reputation and goodwill and to extract unreasonably high and exaggerated compensation.
However, the commission ordered the hotel chain to compensate the woman. “The complaint is allowed partly and we are of the considered view that it would meet the end of justice in case the complainant is granted compensation of ₹2,00,00,000. Hence, we direct the Opposite Party No.2 to pay a compensation of to the Complainant within eight weeks,” it ordered.
(With agency inputs)