PEI

Much ado about updos: P.E.I. hairdressers warn brides of wedding scam

The P.E.I. Hairdressers Association is warning brides-to-be about an ongoing scam that has the potential to leave wedding parties without a hairdresser on their special day.

Some wedding parties say they've been ghosted after placing deposits for services

Back of a complicated wedding hairdo.
The P.E.I. Hairdressers Association is offering to verify legitimate hair stylists for brides, after some sent deposits but never received services. (frantic00/Shutterstock)

The P.E.I. Hairdressers Association is warning brides-to-be about an ongoing scam that has the potential to leave wedding parties without a hairdresser on their special day. 

The association recently took to social media to offer to verify hairstylists booked for weddings are legitimate and licensed, after at least a couple of brides lost their deposits to someone they'd hired online.

Speaking of one such bride, association executive director Sherri Runighan said the stylist "ghosted her; she never responded" to further attempts at communication. 

"We just don't want people to be putting their deposits on a service, and then they're either no-showing or, you know, they're losing communication after the deposit's been made."

The association said several people came forward with the same complaint about the same person who was offering wedding hair services.

Runighan said the scam leaves a bad impression of the P.E.I. hairdressing community.

Woman stands under decorated wedding arch with flowers, lights and white tulle.
Wedding decorator Sylvia Wolters says she thinks there should be a central registry for wedding-related businesses that couples can use to book reliable services. (Submitted by Sylvia Wolters)

"This is totally upsetting to us. So then that's why we decided to put out the post to the public … to educate them and let them know that they can reach out to us at any time."

I think it's so absolutely distasteful and unclassy.— Sylvia Wolters

"We are definitely not the only industry that's going through this," Runighan added.

She said the association is in the process of trying to get all beauty providers, such as those who offer esthetic services like eyelash curling and tinting, to be required to register with the association.

Runighan said it's especially important for out-of-province couples coming to be married on the Island to feel they are getting safe, reliable and legitimate services.

Scammers 'just scum'

Sylvia Wolters runs her custom wedding decorating business Relax... It's My Turn from her home in Hunter River. She invites couples to her home to sit down over a cup of tea and talk about what they want, months before their wedding. Her goal is to provide affordable wedding decor.

Wedding centrepiece of flowers and candle in a hurricane lamp holder on a table.
Wolters bills for her decorating services the week before weddings to ensure she gets paid. (Sylvia Wolters)

She offers couples personal references and shows photos of her work. She doesn't accept deposits, but does demand payment in full a few days before the wedding day, to ensure she gets paid.

"I think it's so absolutely distasteful and unclassy. So sad for these girls," Wolters said of the brides who lost their deposits and were left in the lurch with no hairdresser.

"There's not even words for people like that — just scum," she said.

Wolters suggests the province or another reputable source should create a registry for all wedding-related businesses on P.E.I., including decorators, florists and photographers as well as venues. She said that kind of one-stop site could offer ratings and reviews, so that couples could be assured they are real and have a track record.

"It's a very big trust issue," she said of those booking destination weddings from out of province.

Even people booking in-province can run into issues, she points out, giving an example of a community hall she recently decorated that was a "blasted stinking mess" when her crew arrived to set up.

She said they spent hours ironing wrinkled tablecloths that had been stored, unfolded, in trash bags.

Wolters suggests that for now, brides looking for wedding hairdos book with a well-known salon that has a storefront, website, ratings and reviews, so they know they are legitimate.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Fraser

Web Journalist

Sara has worked with CBC News in P.E.I. since 1988, starting with television and radio before moving to the digital news team. She grew up on the Island and has a journalism degree from the University of King's College in Halifax. Reach her by email at sara.fraser@cbc.ca.

With files from Angela Walker

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