And now, an NYC salon NOT to go to…

Look, I don’t do this often, but sometimes things need to be called out and this is one of those times. I’m normally gushing over salons I go to, but this is the first time that there’s one that I’m telling you NOT to go to: James Corbett Studio.

Basically, I went to a beauty event last year and in the gift bag was a gift certificate for a complimentary organic manicure and pedicure at James Corbett. It didn’t have an expiration date so I’ve been holding on to it for a special occasion. For Thanksgiving in a couple of days, my friend is having an engagement party, so I thought it was a good time to bust out the gift certificate. I called and made an appointment.

Not even an hour later, they call me back and ask me if I’m using a gift certificate for the service. I said I was, and the receptionist then tells me, “Oh, we’re not honoring those anymore.” Apparently, people have been making copies. Which I totally understand, but this was a colored gift certificate with original writing (it’s not photocopied).

I told them that, and then the lady says she’s handing me off to someone else (a manager I’m assuming). She then comes on the phone and I tell her, there’s no expiration date and asked if they could just honor this one since it’s authorized. She said still since it was a year ago they just won’t accept it. I tried telling her once again that this was in the gift bag, it wasn’t photocopied and if there’s a chance I could still come in and they could see it themselves, and she THEN says, “You can say what you want but we’re not accepting it, thank you,” and then abruptly HANGS UP on me! Seriously!

I was stunned. I’ve never had a salon be so rude about something like this. I tried calling back and she claimed she didn’t hang up on me (she clearly did) and said, “I was just saying you can say what you want but no matter what, we’re not accepting it.” I told her I couldn’t believe how rude they were being about it and that I would definitely let people know and she just said, “Absolutely, go ahead.”

Since she gave me the green light, here you go folks. Don’t go to James Corbett Studio in Union Square. They obviously don’t know the first thing about customer service. The end.


Oh and PS, just made an appointment at Francky L’Official salon in the UES…their event was also months ago and they’re happily honoring the gift certificate I got from their launch party…just sayin.


Recent Comments


  1. Nada wrote:

    lol juicy. send this to their website. and realbeauty. let everyone know whats up

    Posted 11.23.10
  2. shyema wrote:

    Have you tried using your gift card from the event? Wondering it was just a one-off experience with me!

    Posted 11.23.10
  3. Sarah wrote:

    watch, all of a sudden they’ll be bending over backwards to pamper you. lame.

    Posted 11.23.10
  4. Samar wrote:

    That’s pretty awful but great that you have a blog to expose them on! Is the beauty event where you got the certificate annual? If so you should let them know as well!

    Posted 11.23.10
  5. shyema wrote:

    It wasn’t an annual event unfortunately, it was a launch event…but couldn’t imagine they’d want to work with them again either!

    Posted 11.23.10
  6. Maleeha wrote:

    That sounds awful, but it’s a good thing we live in NYC and there’s no shortage of great places to get your nails and hair done! Thanks for letting us know about this — it’s been on my list of salons to try and now I won’t bother.

    Posted 11.24.10
  7. Stephanie Caleca wrote:

    I think that waiting a year to use a gift card is stupid as well as not saying you have a gift cert when you make your appointment is also lame (you noted that you didn’t say that until you were called back – shady) If the manager (or whoever you spoke to) said that the gift cards were copied don’t you think that maybe they’ve received a ton of old, suspect copies and that means no money for the small business owner? I find it really sad that you are so upset that you couldn’t get a freebie. Maybe you should investigate Real Beauty and how they got so many ‘free’ gift cards – or did they really make a COLOUR COPY (that happens you know). Or maybe you should try PAYING for a service and see how a company treats you. Anyway good luck with your smear campaign.

    Posted 11.24.10
  8. Stacie wrote:

    I’ve frequented this salon and I’ve had the exact oppisite experience. They are amazing!
    In addition James brings cancer patients from Hope Lodge NYC twice a month to get free services in the spa and does this out of his own pocket.
    Sorry but the gift certificate you pictured above is over a year old and clearly looks like a color xerox copy.

    Perhaps you should stick to writting about a salons services insted of what your able to get out of them for free. It really makes you look bad.

    Posted 11.24.10
  9. Hajera A. wrote:

    If a gift certificate is meant to expire, its hard to forget to mention that on the certificate. Its probably the first thing you think about when writing one out!! That lady sounds so bitter and rude! She just gave the entire salon a bad name and should be fired!

    Posted 11.24.10
  10. Stephanie Caleca wrote:

    The gift cert was given out by Real Beauty – they receive blank gift card from the salons for editors only usually, not gift bags. Real Beauty are the ones that ‘authorize’ the gift card and clearly they misrepresented how thesy were going to use these and in turn caused a hardship for the small business owner. This sounds like Real Beauty screwed James Corbett Studio and STILL don’t have to answer for it.

    Posted 11.24.10
  11. Stephanie Caleca wrote:

    I’m just hoping that the salon calls Real Beauty on this and gets to the bottom of this because clearly there are a ton more out there.

    Posted 11.24.10
  12. Lola wrote:

    I’ve been a long time customer of James Corbett’s and I’ve never experienced anything remotely like this type of poor service. I have found them to be warm and inviting – like hanging with friends while you get your glam on. Maybe they had a temp filling in for the day? Just completely shocked because I know that James would never ever allow someone with such a bad attitude work for him. He also happens to be an AMAZING colorist, who has corrected mine, and many other of my friends and colleagues color disasters. I recommend him often! I would give them a second chance, I’m confident that is was a fluke situation.

    Posted 11.24.10
  13. shyema wrote:

    Just to answer a couple of comments, it wasn’t shady to assume an unexpired gift certificate WOULDN’T be honored. And I called this salon in particular BECAUSE I had a gift certificate. It’s less about “getting a freebie” and more about the convenience of having a gift card I can actually use at a time I needed it. More than that, I wrote this more because of the incredibly rude service I experienced (WHO hangs up on a customer? That’s just uncalled for and terrible service). I just felt like whatever bad experience the salon had with this whole fiasco they ended up taking it out on a customer and that’s just not cool. And like I said, I DID end up using a gift card at Francky L’Official which is about a year old and they honored it with no problem…had a phenomenal experience there, they treated me so well!

    Posted 11.24.10
  14. shyema wrote:

    And PS, I am sure there are many great stylists and services at James Corbett, but again it’s about the service…maybe they need to just change who answers the phone? Really, I’ve never had to deal with this ever in my life. Like I said, I’m sure people are abusing and photocopying these gift cards, but how is the customer supposed to know these internal issues? Why would a salon take that out on a customer completely removed from the situation? That’s my issue with this whole episode. Many of you sound like you’re from the salon itself anyway.

    Posted 11.24.10
  15. winyan wrote:

    that’s horrible! sorry to hear that. it’s too bad you didn’t get to talk to the manager or James Corbett himself!

    Posted 11.24.10
  16. Mrsjones wrote:

    Wow – I’ve been a long-time customer of James’ and I can’t believe this would happen! I have never experienced anything but top-notch service from everyone at the salon – whether it’s in person or over the phone – and that has been the experience of everyone I know who has gone there. If things transpired as you say they did, first, James must not have been aware of it and second, there had to be some kind of miscommunication over the phone. Besides James being an amazing colorist, and having a talented staff of beauty and hair wizards, the salon is known for its outstanding customer service. I make it a point to give the salon gift certificates to my friends/family for birthdays or the holidays and no one has ever had an issue – in fact, they always return for more! There must be a missing piece to this story…this salon would never leave a customer (or potential customer) with a bad experience – I know that for sure!!

    Posted 11.28.10
  17. priya wrote:

    there’s no excuse for poor customer service. i avoid such places even if they have the best stylists in the city.

    Posted 11.28.10
  18. Anne wrote:

    I want to add my voice in support of this salon. I became a new customer this year, and this is the warmest, most welcoming salon I have ever been part of. This sounds like a case of miscommunication at best. But yes, who pursues a freebie this doggedly? Lame . . . and embarrassing for you!

    Posted 11.28.10
  19. ny wrote:

    Thanks for calling them out – it’s always good to know what salons have bad customer service in the city so I can avoid them. It also doesn’t look good on the salon to be leaving defensive comments on this post instead of apologizing for clear bad behavior.

    Posted 11.28.10
  20. Tam wrote:

    to all the people stating that a yr old gift certificate should be expired – um no. if there’s no expiration date, in my eyes, as well as most publicly educated adults, a gift certificate w/ no expiration date should be honored. it’s not that fucking complicated.

    given that there are/were claims of rampant abuse, compromise is always an option, as i’m pretty sure the author would have come to an understanding had the receptionist taken time to discuss the matter.

    no knock on the salon, as i’ve never been there nor care to, but i’m just saying – the situation’s a little fucked up.

    Posted 11.29.10
  21. Nada wrote:

    James Corbette needs to print gift cards that have a space for an expiration date and/or look more legit if they take themselves seriously. Real Beauty included many other gift cards and things that DID have expiration dates on them. This gift card was not xeroxed, it was hand written. Also please note that it indicates WHO at JC authorized the gift certificate.

    If it was worth your time to do some digging (which it’s really not, for a mani/pedi from rude people) You could call James Corbet (praying you don’t get hung up on) and ask for confirmation from whoever authorized the gift certificate and how many they authorized for Real Beauty. That way you could find out if Real Beauty was being shady with their gifts, or if JC was handing out useless gift certificates with no intention to honor them. Like Tam said, if there’s no expiration date, it should be honored.

    Gift certificates are a great way for companies to bring in new customers. This certificate brought Shy to their phone lines, but their employees pushed her away.

    If you’re a receptionist, it’s your job to pick up the phone and play nice. Corbett should hit this lady over the head with her phone until she gets that

    Posted 11.30.10
  22. jeanie wrote:

    Thank you for letting us know how you were treated by this establishment. Its very important that people working in customer service handle things appropriately. Its clear by hanging up on you this woman handled the situation poorly. Regardless if you mentioned a gift cert or not you scheduled just fine. At the time of service youd provide them with the certificate anyway. Also you really can tell the difference between copy and real alot of times, especially if someone wrote on it. Such a shame that you were treated that way. I definitly will not be going there.

    Posted 12.3.10
  23. jeanie wrote:

    and another thing “who pursues a freebie this doggedly” (ANNE) —- REALLY?! I actually commend her for pointing out someone being rude to her. This receptionist unfortunately represents the salon, sorry for them. I really think it was more than her just being denied using her gift cert and recieving a FREE service, I think it was more of how she felt bad because the person had absolutely no regard for informing her correctly and coming to a resolve, but quickly dismissed her like she was very unimportant… so anne rather than cut her down why not try and put yourself in her shoes hmmmm.

    Posted 12.3.10
  24. samantha wrote:

    Clearly, the staff of the salon are the ones commenting. I would personally never go to that salon again (despite rave reviews) if I was treated that way. Customer service reps are the FRONT LINES for the business and if they are disrespectful, they make the entire establishment look bad.

    To make the situation right, they should have told her to come in so they could check the gift certificate. And she wasn’t “doggedly pursuing a freebie.” Come on now. I’m sure if Sheyma loved the service she got at that salon, she would put it in her blog. Too bad it turned out the opposite.

    Posted 12.8.10
  25. Kassia wrote:

    @Stephanie Caleca and @Stacie…If the salon had very simply put an expiration date on the certificate this whole incident could have been avoided. No matter what though hanging up on a potential client is inexcusable. Perhaps had the receptionist been kinder, Shyema might have wanted an appointment even if she had to pay for it. She’s relating her bad experience, and allowing others to comment about great experiences at the salon. It is her blog folks, and she could have deleted comments that praised the salon if she wanted to start a smear campaign.

    Posted 12.11.10
  26. Sabs wrote:

    James Corbet is known for his unprofessionalism and sloppy hair coloring.I was directed to this site randomly by a friend and got my hair colored and cut this summer.James did sloppy random highlights and when he washed my hair it was so agressive I thought he was pulling hair out. I had water running down my back too. The girl who cut my hair was really nice and I liked the cut but it only looked good for 2 weeks. I waited for half an hour and the service took about 3 hours. The whole time I was there I had to listen to the annoying dog bark and the whole time I had to listen to James make fun of his clients especially “hooker Amy” who he took grat pleasure in letting everyone know had a john that didn’t want to sleep with her, offer her $500 to leave. I was left with such an unpleasant feeling by James that I will never return. WEather or not all of this is true about people not being able to use there gift certificates his salons horrible atmosphere is a place to definitely be avoided.

    Posted 12.30.10

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