Barbershop in Malaysia Under Investigation After Allegedly Overcharging Tourist for Haircut

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Malaysia’s Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry (KPDN) is investigating a claim that a tourist was overcharged for a haircut at a barbershop in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. 

A viral video on TikTok showed a couple from England in an argument with the barber after being charged RM120 (US$27) for a haircut. According to the tourists, locals later told them that the haircut should have cost RM50 at most.

In the video which has garnered over 700,000 views, the barber is seen explaining that there are cheap haircuts for locals but not in the area that the tourists had visited. 

The New Straits Times (NST) reported KPDN Minister Salahuddin Ayub as saying on Tuesday (Apr 11) that officers from the ministry have been instructed to look into the allegations. 

“When I learned about a foreign tourist who had to pay RM120 for a haircut, I immediately ordered the officers to investigate.

“If it’s true, let’s ensure that those involved will be strictly dealt with. Not only did they charge excessively, but the action tarnished Malaysia’s good name,” Mr Salahuddin was quoted by NST as saying. 

“As a tourist destination, we should offer the best services and reasonable prices.” 

Mr Salahuddin also stressed that businesses should not take advantage of any situation to “make excessive profits”. 

“We are continuously advising that all traders must abide and ensure that services provided to Malaysians or foreigners must be reasonable, and do not over-charge or take the opportunity to make excessive profits,” he told reporters, according to Bernama. 

He added that if the allegation was true, stern action would be taken under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011. Under the Act, it is an offence to take excessive profits on goods or services. 

According to the ministry, if convicted, individuals are liable to a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both for the first offence. For a second or subsequent offence, individuals are liable to a fine not exceeding RM250,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both. 

On Tuesday, Kosmo reported that following an investigation by KPDN, the barber had confessed to the high charges imposed on the tourists. 

“The Algerian man, believed to be a part-time worker, has verbally confessed regarding the high charges imposed on tourists,” Kuala Lumpur KPDN director Ariffin Samsudin reportedly said. 

He added that no price tags were displayed on the premises for the services offered.

“We have contacted the 

 business owner and they will be called to the office for further investigation,” said Mr Ariffin, according to Kosmo. 

He also said that the barber, as well as another Pakistani worker, have been asked to give their statements.

Source: Channel News Asia