MANY top hairdressers and beauty parlours will no longer take bookings without either a credit card number or a deposit as a guarantee that a customer won't cancel at short notice. And if customers don't give 24 hours' notice of cancelling, the full bill may be put through on their card.

Gail Murphy of Sitstil hair salon in Dublin, said her decision to take credit card details had made a big difference, while upmarket beauty salons such as Therapie and Nue Blue Eriu have similar policies.

Carmel Foley of Consumer Affairs said the practice was not illegal, but advised people to "change their hairdresser".