Who pays the price for a haircut gone wrong? Ask any of the dissatisfied customers across the barbershops in India, and they'll answer how literally and metaphorically, it's almost always the client paying the price. But the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has reversed the tables, as it has directed a luxury hotel chain to pay Rs 2 crore as compensation to a woman who was given the wrong haircut.

Wen hair products
More than 200 women users of Wen hair care products blamed the cleansing conditioner for causing severe hair loss and balding. [Representational image]Reuters

The quasi-judicial commission, in the order dated September 21, observed that the complainant Aashna Roy was a model for hair products. And because of her long hair, she had also done modeling for big hair-care brands. Accordingly, NCDRC observed that "she lost her expected assignments and suffered a huge loss which completely changed her lifestyle and shattered her dream to be a top model."

The bench comprising President RK Agrawal and member Dr SM Kantikar awarded the compensation and arrived at the figure after noting that women, even in general, are cautious about their hair, spend a handsome amount of money in keeping them in good condition and are emotionally invested in them. Moreover, the complainant in this case Aashna Roy was a model for hair care products. Because of her long hair, she had done modeling for big hair-care brands. Therefore, in her case, her hair was more than just an aesthetic feature of her body.

She lost her expected assignments, suffered a huge emotional and financial loss, "which completely changed her lifestyle and shattered her dream to be a top model." The bench further said in the order, "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 complainant Aashna Roy had visited the salon at the Delhi-based hotel in April 2018, a week before the interview, asking for, "long flicks covering her face in the front and at the back and four-inch straight hair trim from the bottom." However, she alleged that the hair dresser chopped off her entire length leaving only four inches from the top. When complained to the management of the salon, she was offered a free hair treatment, which further caused permanent damage due to excess ammonia.

hair cut
 (Representational Image)Creative Commons

Guilty of medical negligence

The commission also observed that the hotel, ITC Maurya, is also guilty of medical negligence in hair treatment. It also noted that her scalp was burnt and was still itching due to the staff's fault.

The commission also went through the WhatsApp chats attached by the complainant, wherein the hotel admitted to their fault and tried suppressing the matter by offering a free haircut instead.

"The complainant 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 Rs 200,00,000. Hence, we direct the Opposition Party No 2 to pay the compensation to the complainant within eight weeks," the order stated.

The netizens are amused, divided

The order had many envy the woman who actually got the wrong haircut, as memes took over social media. Many volunteered to get an even worse haircut for half the compensation! Others reflected how her trauma must be over after the commission's order.