The Waters Spa: Disaster

Spa’s aren’t for regular people. They’re for people who drive bimmers, mercedes and have rich husbands.

My ‘First Spa Experience’, here’s the story:

I have never been to a spa in my life. During September I was thinking that my boyfriend’s birthday was coming up in early October and I didn’t know what to get him. I thought of doing some sort of spa treatment that the both of us could enjoy together. I started browsing The Waters Spa website (yes, I’m naming places here. I want them, and everyone to know what happened) in Waterloo, and I just ended up calling them and asking for a suggestion on what I should do for my Boyfriend’s birthday and of course I wanted in on the deal as well. I was recommended the “Couples Retreat” on The Waters Spa website.

I hung up the phone, did some searching on the website and found the couples retreat and just went with the first one I saw: Rainforest Retreat. My first mistake was calling them and booking right away and saying to the clerk “Wow, $145 is a great deal” and she agreed with me it was. I asked her what the Rainforest Retreat consisted of and she told me that we’ll be brought into a room and have a foot bath while we fill out papers, and once that was done we’d get into a bath, then have a full body scrub and a 45 minute massage after.

Sounds nice for $145 right? (See I even have a screen shot!)

Let’s cut to the chase. October 17 comes around — the day that I booked our treatment for. We go in, change into our robes and are treated like ultimate royalty. I kept thinking to myself that it was kind of pricey and I hoped that my boyfriend doesn’t find out how much I paid for his one and only birthday gift. After changing into our robes in the locker rooms we were brought into a room together with two nice leather chairs and a foot bath. We were given forms to fill out (guess in case you were allergic to something), and asked if we wanted any cucumber water or citrus water. I chose the first, boyfriend chose the latter.

After we filled the forms out, we were brought into the spa room where the lights were dim, music was playing and a bath was drawn for us. The set the timer for 15 minutes and we took a bath. After the 15 minutes they told us to get under the covers the massage bed (one each, per person) and wait for assistance. The women then came in and did a full  body scrub on us which was pretty abrasive but nice none the less. Smelled great too! It took forever, as they were really going at us, cleaning us with the exfoliates. As they finished the woman whispered into my ear telling me that her and her co-worker would be leaving, and for us to shower (dual shower heads) off the sugar scrub and come out and the beds would then be clean and they’d be ready for us to lay in again. Sounds terrific, doesn’t it? I told you — we felt like royalty! We were there laying down on our stomach and then on our backs getting massaged with essential organic oils that smelled heavenly. She focused on different parts of our body which felt like forever. I think it ended up being a 45-50 minute body massage.

Everything was going according to plan. We both felt like a million bucks! The girls were so great, and the whole experience was to die for. Clearly, I really did have a great time there for the 2.5 hours we were there. When our treatments were done, we brought out to a common sitting room and were told to help ourselves to water and the granola that was available. We did just that, and felt it was time to go back into our own dressing rooms and change. I tried to change as quickly as possible since I knew I had to go to the front counter and pay.

I went out front, fully dressed and ready to leave. I asked the girl at the desk if she had my credit card and she told me she checked and I said “Because I don’t want my boyfriend to know how much this is going to cost!” She didn’t print anything off like a receipt to show me or anything, she just said “alright. And you’re done!” The other girl at the desk handed me a gift bag filled with sample  goodies from the spa, which was a nice unexpected gift.

When we got into my car on Saturday about to head out and do some errands  …  I asked my boyfriend how he felt after his first spa experience (and mine!). Of course it was nothing but praise, but then he thought it was probably super expensive. My boyfriend and I are blatantly honest with one another and I just came right out and said “It’s not as expensive as you’d think it would be. It was just $145 plus tax for the both of us. Think of it. Like seventy bucks per person. We’ll have to do that again, sometime huh??”. He nodded.

On Tuesday while I was at work I noticed my credit card statement was available online. I viewed it. I got a little knot in my stomach when I saw the numbers. I thought they over-charged me.

This is what I saw:


Good gracious. Why does it say I owe $304.50 for the spa that I went to on October 17? They did double charge me, those buggers I thought. No problem, I’ll call them and let them know they over charged me, right?

So I called them up right away and asked really nicely if the Rainforest Retreat was $145 per couple, or $145 per person. They informed me of the latter. I felt so sick to my stomach. I seriously cannot afford that type of BIRTHDAY PRESENT for anyone at this point in my life! I’m not made of money. I have bills to pay.

I panicked.

I consulted some online friends and they suggested that I dispute it with my credit card company.

Let me tell you all just one thing before I get into this: I did not sign any receipt that said it was for $304.50.

The CC company initially told me that they couldn’t do anything for me because the website states clearly that it is NOT for couples, but it also states NOT per person. A mis-understanding on both the spa and my part. We both assumed we knew what we were talking about. Their (The Waters Spa) argument was saying that this happens often as husbands book appointments for spouses and they don’t want them to know how much it costs, so they never sign anything. They said it happens on a regular basis so it wasn’t out of the ‘norm’ that I didn’t sign anything.

Um, so?

Maybe that’s what they do on a regular basis. I’m just taking their word for it, but I’m pretty sure that’s not allowed. You would think as the credit card holder I would have every right to tell the spa to f^%k off since they don’t have my signature. Having a signature means I authorized the charge. They do not have my signature. I did not authorize the charge of $304.50.

I was on the phone for the better part of three hours the other day calling the spa and the credit card company trying so hard to dispute this. Everyone wins in this situation but me. The owner of The Waters seemed really apologetic and suggested that if I do ever go back for a visit at The Waters they’d help me choose a differently priced treatment such as a pedicure for the both of us,  but since the treatment was done already she said there isn’t really any disputing to be done as I didn’t confront the staff about the price in the first place. Wow, great – thanks a lot. There’s absolutely nothing that she can do for me except that she said she’ll be sure to update their website to be more informative about pricing and that I did choose  one of the most expensive treatments they have at their Spa. Well – I certainly didn’t know that. Especially since it said $145 for all, on their website!! Argh!!

I am an upset, un-returning first and last customer, and I have already told co-workers and friends about this “mis-communication” that has happened.

I wanted to write this entry about The Waters Spa, in Waterloo to make sure that everyone knows what indeed happened in this situation and to make sure you or anyone who plans on going to The Waters, that they get their prices told to them, per person — before making any purchases. I’ve basically lost out on $145 + tax because of their advertising on the website.

Oh and MasterCard just told me I was basically shit out of luck and I should pay my credit card if I don’t want any interest on the card. Awesome, right.

My boyfriend tried to console me as he makes more money than me, offering to pay for all the groceries for a month. He said he didn’t want to upset my “delicate budgeting” scheme. Which was so kind of him to even think about doing that for me. But it was his birthday present, he shouldn’t have to be involved with any of this whatsoever. I’m just upset that absolutely nobody did anything for me, the confused customer. I am not happy with PC Financial MasterCard about closing my “dispute” and I am certainly not happy with The Waters Spa and I will let everyone know so. In fact, I’m going to e-mail out this blog post to some colleagues and friends. Not a bad idea if I do say so myself!

I’m hoping the google bots will cache this website and will pop up when you google search “The Water’s Spa” and this will be the only review (however, it’s both negative and positive) for their website. I notified the spa that I will not be going back to The Waters Spa because quite frankly I just can’t afford it. As I stated above — It was a fantastic once in a lifetime experience and that’s just that. Once.

I feel sick to my stomach.

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  1. I agree!! This is totally uncalled for, unprofessional, and unnecessary. You clearly have a screen shot and they should be ready to reimburse you for sure! Is there anything we can do to make the google bots pick this up?


  2. I’m glad you wrote this. Even though I knew most of what happened from following the thread, reading this gave a good continuous account.

    The dirty assholes..

  3. You should post this on , and also craigslist or whatever you have there. Find sites with reviews about the spa and post it there as well. ;)

  4. I wish you could do anything on the in order to get YOUR money back. Have you talked to some lawyer friend of you? In Spain some of them give free advice for this kind of conflicts. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  5. This is ridiculous. First of all, you signed nothing. For all they know, some random person claiming to be Nancy walked in with your card and ran up the charges! Second of all, you called them and told mastercard you did NOT authorize these charges. If they were a reputable company dedicated to customers, they would have removed the charges from your card at once. Your credit card company is just as much to blame as the Spa for failing to do that. I would consider transferring my balance to another card with lower interest and see how they like that, won’t get any $$$ or business from you then.

  6. wow if you called stating that you did not authorize the charged and did not sign anything I would of assumed that they would refund the money even thought you did go thru with the whole thing.
    At least they changed the now says “per person”

  7. I feel terribly for you getting hit with that unexpected bill, but you described the experience so nicely that I’m tempted to go to a spa myself haha… Not The Waters Spa, of course. Boo them…

  8. I am in the business of body care as well. It is in the best interest of the practitioner/therapist to ensure repeat customer flow. The Waters Spa should have sincerely apologized and offered you a similar value session of your choosing, to be used at your convenience. There is no excuse for sub standard or manipulative communication in advertising.

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