The Damn Salon is a business that promotes itself as a natural hair salon. I first heard about them a year ago when I saw a video clip of their work in a hair show. Their website is very polished and their attitude towards natural hair seemed legitimate. They are based in Atlanta, GA and I have been following their work on Facebook. They also travel to different states to set up shop and provide services. The salon recently announced their dates for their DC visit. I have yet to visit a salon since I cut my hair back in March and with the change in seasons I have been thinking about what to do next in terms of styling. I checked out their services and I decided to try “city twists.” I have never gotten twists done and they did look pretty on the pictures they provided. So I decided to make an appointment. Little did I know the nightmare that was about to begin.
City twists cost $250 and up. There is a $100 deposit required to make the appointment. Everyone I spoke to on the phone were very nice, understanding, and helpful. They usually end their statements with “get ready for your damn experience.” It did seem a bit expensive to me, but I figured this could be my special treat for the year. So I was excited and looking forward to it.
About a week later they announced on Facebook a request for models for a hair show they would be doing in DC. I called in to be a part of the show. They asked for me to send in my pictures and measurements. A short time later they accepted my request and asked me to meet them at 4:00pm at the Westin Hotel at the National Harbor in Maryland the next day, which was a Friday, to see my hair and do an “afro-fusion”.
A week before I had registered with Zipcar (which is another ripoff story). I had noticed their advertisements on campus and online for a couple of years, but had never approached the idea. I figured I should have the option to drive if I needed to. So on that Friday I had to take the metro to the Zipcar office to pick up my “Zipcard” and reserve a vehicle. I found one parked at campus and reserved it from 3:00pm to 8:00pm. The trip to and from the office took me about an hour.
Once I got back to campus, I called the lady from the salon whom I spoke with yesterday. She did not answer. So I left a voice mail and a text message confirming our meeting at the Westin Hotel. I then proceeded with my GPS and rented car to Maryland…during rush hour. This was my first experience driving in DC. Coming from Texas, it was a little traumatizing. Eventually I got the hang of it.
It took me about 45 minutes to get to the hotel and find parking. There was no response to my call or message during that time. I entered the lobby of the hotel and called her again. This time she picked up and asked where I was. I told her I was at the hotel. Turns out they were at Pentagon City Mall. She said they had been waiting a little while and decided to go to the mall and that she did not check her phone. She then asked if I could come to the mall. So I returned to my rented car, paid the fee for parking in their parking deck, and made my way to the mall. I missed the exit on the highway a few times and had to do a few U-turns to find the entrance to the parking deck for the mall. I find the two salon ladies shopping at Forever XXI. Not for the show or with other models, but for themselves. They had to change back into their own clothes before talking to me.
I asked for details about the show, since not much was given to me the day before. At first they said I would need to be there at 9am. Then they decide that 12pm would be better. Then they explain that they won’t have to do my hair that night, but probably do some cornrows on the side and have the rest of it sticking out. I then find out that it is not a runway type of show. Instead I would be a mingling-mannequin wearing their hairstyle and passing out their brochures. I decided this was not working for me and told them I couldn’t do it. So I ended up not participating in the show, paying $80 for using a Zipcar for 4 hours, paying for parking at two different parking decks, and going to sleep with a massive headache.
Due to this unfortunate incident, looking at the possible hair style in real life, and a little reflecting on my part, I decided I no longer wanted my hair done by The Damn Salon. So, I called their DC number and told them I would like to cancel my appointment. The person who answered said she was not “stationed” at the time, but will call me back. Two days passed. Then another lady called me back confirming my cancellation. She asked for my reason and I said, “I no longer want my hair done.” So she explained I could put my deposit up for an appointment in February when they will be in DC again. I said I did not want to make another appointment. She then explained I could use the deposit to purchase some of their products. I asked if I could have a refund. She then said that they don’t do refunds when the salon visits other states and continued to repeat my options for another appointment or products. I told her I didn’t want either. So she said she will take me off the calendar because there are “so many people” waiting for a spot and that I can call her back when I decide what I want to do.
I proceeded to search their website for a cancellation and refund policy. I could not find either. There was no mention of exceptions with out-of-state visits nor literature on how to go about canceling an appointment.
I am very disappointed by this experience. I was really looking forward to trying something new and possibly making new friends. I have read a few reviews about this salon and the majority of their comments seem to be pleased with the end product, but put off by the price or location of the out-of-state visit. I am sure they know how to do hair well and maybe they do have a professional operation at the Atlanta salon. However, their lack of consideration for my time and decency towards a client was completely out of line.
I just wanted to share my experience to prevent others from falling in the same trap. Before you submit your credit card number to anything online, make sure you find the fine-print and read all of it. I know I will.