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Old 15.01.2021, 17:59
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Consumer rights - health treatment

Hey all,

Hoping someone can help me here.

I had to cancel an Ayurveda appointment as i had symptoms of COVID-19 (sore throat and cough). I sent my therapist a notice at least 24 hours before the appointment via email as she never answers her phone. Unfortunately, the therapist refuses to reschedule or refund the cost. The therpist has a 72 hours cancellation policy in place, which I was not aware of as she did not state explicitly in English in our email correspondences. She had the text related to cancellation policy in small font size and in German and together with other information.

Is there someone who might have had a similar experience and could advise me on the matter? Thank you.
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Old 15.01.2021, 18:17
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Re: Consumer rights - health treatment

It is the customer's responsibility to understand the terms of any contract entered into. Since English is not an official language of Switzerland, she is not required to provide an English translation and the legally binding language will be that of the German version.

HOWEVER, the Federal Health Office clearly states that anyone having Covid symptoms should self-isolate and a business should be glad if you respect this guidance. Did your symptoms start exactly one or two days before your appointment? If we look at it from her side, she was unable to fill your appointment with someone else due to the short notice. You didn't provide a medical note and based on what I hear from many friends in the beauty industry, no shows are becoming increasingly common - in the UK, they often ask you to pay a deposit before they will give you a final reservation. The excuses are usually that one is ill but then the therapist may spot the same client in the local pub on the same evening.

As for making a legal issue out of this, Switzerland is not really the place to do that, it will be unsatisfactory for both sides. In the absence of any proof that you were, in fact, ill, I would maybe suggest a 50% payment? Some will tell you to just forget about it and move on: it will cost her more to send you a Betreibung than she will gain from doing so. That is the cynic's view and not one I share.

Regardless of what you choose, I would also change therapist; while I understand that you don't want to spend all day writing emails/text messages, you should respond to your clients within a useful time. It is normal for a beauty/health therapist not to answer her phone as I'm sure clients would not appreciate them doing so during an appointment! I would still have tried to reach and then texted her if she didn't respond. That would show that you made a genuine effort to make her aware in time.
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Old 15.01.2021, 18:39
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Re: Consumer rights - health treatment

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It is the customer's responsibility to understand the terms of any contract entered into. Since English is not an official language of Switzerland, she is not required to provide an English translation and the legally binding language will be that of the German version.
This is true but the "official language of Switzerland part" is irrelevant; Swiss contract law does not require any particular language, but since the OP accepted the appointment then the German (and English) email is binding.

Where the language is relevant, the contract must state this - many English versions of T&C state that the German version is binding (although they would still need to have taken appropriate care in the translation).
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Old 15.01.2021, 20:25
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Re: Consumer rights - health treatment

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- in the UK, they often ask you to pay a deposit before they will give you a final reservation.

...


As for making a legal issue out of this, Switzerland is not really the place to do that, it will be unsatisfactory for both sides. In the absence of any proof that you were, in fact, ill, I would maybe suggest a 50% payment? Some will tell you to just forget about it and move on: it will cost her more to send you a Betreibung than she will gain from doing so. That is the cynic's view and not one I share.

If the OP's post is written correctly, they've already paid for the session.


If you have travel insurance they sometimes include domestic arrangements but otherwise I think it would just be up to goodwill.

There are no legal rights to a refund of services because you're ill.
I get not refunding but not rescheduling seems a bit harsh unless they have to rent space or equipment.
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Old 18.01.2021, 15:49
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Re: Consumer rights - health treatment

Thank you all for your insights.

It is truly a lesson learnt for me to ask before paying upfront. However, i felt she could have at least rescheduled or charged me a late cancellation fee but to charge me the full amount without providing the service...that left me shocked.

I never will go back to the therapist. Her cancellation notice period is 3 working days
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Old 18.01.2021, 16:10
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Re: Consumer rights - health treatment

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Thank you all for your insights.

It is truly a lesson learnt for me to ask before paying upfront. However, i felt she could have at least rescheduled or charged me a late cancellation fee but to charge me the full amount without providing the service...that left me shocked.

I never will go back to the therapist. Her cancellation notice period is 3 working days
If the 72 hour cancellation policy is there, she has the right to apply it. The right, not the obligation.

Anyway it looks a bit harsh to enforce it for repeating customers. I'd treat customers I only meet once this way, no risk alienating the regulars. Sorry, but lack of understanding from the therapist could be interpreted as you were not expected to return, ever. I'd also not return after being implicitly rejected by the therapist.
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Old 18.01.2021, 16:13
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Re: Consumer rights - health treatment

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Thank you all for your insights.

It is truly a lesson learnt for me to ask before paying upfront. However, i felt she could have at least rescheduled or charged me a late cancellation fee but to charge me the full amount without providing the service...that left me shocked.

I never will go back to the therapist. Her cancellation notice period is 3 working days
What is your notice? 1 month, 2 months or 3 months?
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Old 18.01.2021, 20:10
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Re: Consumer rights - health treatment

What doropfiz says is true, but on the flip side, if a business wants to keep a customer they sometimes have to be flexible. If they're on forty hours a week, they should make an assumption for their rate based on people cancelling to allow for this.

Generally, I'd expect the first time the fee to be waived (my dentist did this) and if there's a really good reason and the customer otherwise is a good customer.
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Old 18.01.2021, 20:11
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Re: Consumer rights - health treatment

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If the OP's post is written correctly, they've already paid for the session.


If you have travel insurance they sometimes include domestic arrangements but otherwise I think it would just be up to goodwill.

There are no legal rights to a refund of services because you're ill.
I get not refunding but not rescheduling seems a bit harsh unless they have to rent space or equipment.
I have learnt to always ask upfront if they accept rescheduling and how much before you need to ask for a reschedule/cancellation and then skip all the ones who don't allow reschedule and/or requires me to reschedule/cancel 72+ hours before.

I understand their point and I respect that, but with my work schedule I may have my plans changed today for tomorrow, so better be safe than sorry!
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Old 19.01.2021, 00:07
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Re: Consumer rights - health treatment

Most replies are focusing on the 72h notice period but what about the special Covid-19 situation? What alternative did the OP have other than cancel the appointment? If the OP had ignored the Covid-19 rules and showed up coughing and sneezing, I wonder what the therapist would have done? Would they have gone ahead with the treatment? Would they have sent the OP back saying it is risky? These days at the doctor's, dentist's and therapist's the first thing they ask you is if you have the 'symptoms' and you will certainly be turned away if you answer yes.

Last edited by DerDieDas; 19.01.2021 at 00:56. Reason: grammar
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