Salon Charges Customer Extra Five Dollars Because She's Fat

Michelle Fonville said a salon discriminated against her because of her weight.

August 23, 2010, 12:27 PM

Aug. 23, 2010 — -- A nail salon in Georgia, worried that their expensive chairs might break, charged a customer an additional five dollars because she is overweight.

Michelle Fonville, 40, said that she was "humiliated" when she discovered she had been overcharged because of her weight at Natural Nails, a salon located in Lithonia, Ga., where she lives.

"I was letting my nails dry and was looking at the pricing list and realized that I had been overcharged," Fonville told ABC News. "I said to the clerk that I thought I had accidently been overcharged, I honestly thought it was an error."

"But when she came over and wrote out the prices she then said, 'I charged you five dollars more because you're overweight,'" said Fonville.

Fonville, who had been at the salon getting what she described as a burnt orange color painted on her finger and toenails as well as an eyebrow wax, said that she was preparing for a family reunion that was held last weekend in North Carolina.

Now she says she'll never go back to the salon after the owner drove her to tears.

Employees who answered the phone at Natural Nails declined to comment on the allegations to ABC News, and said that Kim Tan, the manager Fonville says charged her the fee, was not available.

But Tan told ABC News' Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV that the chairs in her salon can only hold 200 pounds and cost $2,500 to repair.

"Do you think that's fair when we take $24 dollars and we have to pay $2,500 [in repairs]?" Tan said. "I said to her I'm sorry, but next time I cannot take you."

Tan also said that she charged Fonville extra because it took longer to do her nails.

Fonville said that Tan, who returned her five dollars, told her not to come back to the salon anymore because of her weight.

"Then I couldn't believe that another human would treat someone like that. She had such a matter-of-fact attitude," said Fonville. "And I'm sure that other people have been treated like this and have no idea."

Customer Charged Extra for Being Fat Plans to Picket Salon

Fonville plans a protest outside the salon later this week, hoping to spread the word about what she calls "discriminatory practices" by Natural Nails.

"Something needs to be done about this. You can't discriminate against someone because of their weight," said Fonville.

Fonville, a mother of five who is studying psychology at Clayton State University, said that at 6' 2" she is a larger woman but is not "sloppy."

"[Tan] does not understand the kind of person I am," she said. "I am a wonderful person to be around."

Fonville said she has not yet decided whether she will file a lawsuit against Tan and the salon.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events