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Chemical Burn Beauty Treatment Injury Claim Case Study

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We were contacted by our client, a 15-year-old girl, in relation to an incident at the cosmetics department in a House of Fraser store which caused her to sustain burn-type injuries to her eyebrows following an eyebrow wax and tint beauty treatment.

The background

On 14 August 2017, Bernadette Bishop, attended the cosmetics department at House of Fraser, Glasgow for a wax and tint treatment to be performed at the Benefit Cosmetics counter.

Although the appointment had been booked in another person's name, once our client had provided her own details the staff appeared to be happy with the situation and took her, and her two friends, to the treatment room where our client was asked to complete some forms. At this point our client had to remind staff she was not the person who had originally booked the appointment, but staff seemed unconcerned. There was no discussion of a minimum-age policy.

Miss Bishop's friends stayed with her during the treatment which should have lasted around 20 to 30 minutes, but lasted closer to an hour, with the eyebrow tint being left on our client for around 15 to 20 minutes.

The consequences

Almost immediately after Miss Bishop left the store, her friends noticed redness around her eyebrows. In the days following the treatment, she developed significant swelling, blistering and redness around her eyes.

Three days after the appointment, our client was still suffering from painful symptoms so attended her GP's surgery where she was given a topical cream to treat the chemical burns. Our client eventually attended hospital as she could not open her eyes and was suffering from blurred vision which continued for six weeks. She was forced to miss a week and a half of school as a result of her injuries.

The settlement

Miss Bishop contacted Thompsons beauty treatment injury solicitors and we intimated a claim against Benefit. However, they advised that the defendant would be House of Fraser as although the staff employed behind the cosmetics counter provide services for Benefit, they are contracted employees of House of Fraser.

Liability was admitted by House of Fraser. However, they maintained that the claimant presented as the friend who originally booked the appointment and had they known she was under sixteen they would not have performed the treatment. However, this was contradicted by the claimant as well as one of her friends who provided a witness statement. Both Miss Bishop and her friend stated that the technician did not perform a patch test.

We obtained an expert witness statement confirming that Miss Bishop had suffered chemical burns to her eyebrows and upper eyelids. After receiving this evidence, the defender offered a beauty treatment injury settlement of £1,145.20 – this included a 10% deduction for contributory negligence.

However, our client was not satisfied with this offer so instructed us to reject it. Around one month later, the defender made a second offer of £2,250, again with a deduction for contributory negligence. This was also rejected Around seven months later, on 22 February 2019, House of Fraser's legal representatives made another offer – this time for £3,300.

However, House of Fraser then went into administration and was therefore unable to meet the damages award. The claim was then redirected back to Benefit who shortly afterwards offered £2,000. Again, this was refused.

As such, court proceedings were raised against Benefit. Their insurers then advised Thompsons' beauty treatment injury claim solicitors that they would be willing to accept our counter offer of £4,000. Miss Bishop advised us that she would be happy to accept and on 21 November 2019 the case was settled.

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