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Fair Go: April 27

Published: 12:02PM Wednesday April 27, 2011 Source: Fair Go

I WANT MY MONEY
Reporter:
Gordon Harcourt

Why was Richard Jones standing on a North Shore street corner holding a billboard?
Why were Jade Gifford and her mum literally shouting to the rooftops?
Because they both had their day in court (or three days in Richard's case) and won, but they didn't get their money.

Accountant's bill
Richard is owed a relatively trivial amount of money - $877.50.  He reckoned he'd been overcharged by his accountant, so he went to the Disputes Tribunal (DT).  He won.  The accountant appealed, and Richard won.  The accountant appealed again to the District Court.  And Richard won again. NC Armstrong & Co Accounting Limited must pay up forthwith!

Now there's a lot of back story here - the accountant Neil Armstrong says he got Richard more than $50,000 in refunds, and he strongly disagrees with the original Disputes Tribunal orders, saying it's "flawed" and "factually incorrect".  But the facts are clear - he had his days in court, he lost, and the orders haven't been paid.

And they're still not paid.  It's a company debt, and the accountant says that company has ceased trading and has no funds.  The accountant isn't obliged to pay personally.  Now that sounds like he's just thumbing his nose at the courts, but it's the law.  Directors aren't personally liable for company debts, except for things like reckless or insolvent trading.

Car conversion
Jade Gifford bought a flash Subaru WRX from a yard in Manurewa.  She paid cash and got a trade in.  The paperwork was all good, especially the bit where it says "There is a security interest over this vehicle - NO".   

Then one day last year there was a knock at the door.  It was a bloke called Kevin Burnett, sole Director of Great South Financial Services Ltd (GSFS).  He said there was money owing on the car - but if there was it certainly wasn't Jade's problem.  The law is VERY clear: your car is yours if the paperwork says no security interest.  It's not your problem.  Mr Burnett went away, but in December the repossession man turned up and the car was taken.

Jade went to the DT, she won, and the order is scathing - in taking the car, GSFS "committed the tort of conversion".  Basically that means the car was stolen from Jade.  GSFS owed her $11,990.  It hasn't paid.

Not only was the car taken, Jade says she got no paperwork from the repo man or GSFS.   The law is very clear about what you should get from the repo man and the creditor.

Kevin Burnett is now in Thailand, I'm told, but he's still an owner of a car lot and a holiday house, and does come back to the country now and then.  I emailed him via the people who look after the holiday place in the Coromandel, and he got back to Jade's family saying he'd return the car.  They don't want it - it's five months since it was taken and who knows what's happened to it since.  They want the money. 

Advice
The Credit & Finance Institute has various debt collection companies in its members.  David Young is the President. 
- seek personal guarantees from Directors of Limited companies. If they won't give it, are they worth the risk?
- if the repo man does turn up, co-operate.  You're paying for his/her time.
- if you believe the asset is being taken wrongfully, negotiate a third party to hold it
- ask to see the repo warrant, a letter showing they do act for the creditor (the finance company owed money), and some ID.

And you must be given a Post Possession Notice (PPN) by the creditor within 21 days of the asset being taken.


SMELL THE COFFEE
Reporter:
Phil Vine

New Zealanders spent an estimated 129 million dollars last year on coffee from cafes. That might explain why the do-it-yourself alternative, a domestic coffee machine has been one of the fastest growing electrical lines during the recession. Question is, can this new breed of kitchen bench machines hack it when you put it up against a fifteen thousand dollar commercial beast. Phil thought he would find out. We won't spill the results now but they are interesting. It even had an international barista championship judge guessing. There's also an added extra for those with domestic machines as Nick Berry, veteran barista takes us through a little video tutorial on how to get the best out of a domestic machine. The best tip we got was from Jess Godfrey the coffee judge though. Before you spend thousands on a domestic coffee machine get yourself a decent coffee grinder. A handheld burr grinder costs as little as $65 and with fresh beans that will improve your plunger, stovetop or espresso coffee out of sight.


Customer service - Best and Worst
Reporter:
Ali Mau

First of the blocks, a place we're all familiar with -supermarkets.

The Colmar Brunton poll tallied up all the experiences voiced by the people it polled, to give a net score once the negatives were subtracted from the positives.

New World came out on top with a positive score of 35%. Coming in second was Countdown with 25%, then Pak 'n Save with 20%.

Fourth was 4 Square with 15%, while Foodtown came in 5th with a score of 13%.

Woolworths was 6th with 10% and Supervalue scored 7%.

Bottom of the list was Fresh Choice, with 1%

It is possible to score zero or less, if the negative experience outweighs the positive.

We visited one of the winner's stores to see what makes  them top. It seems that New World in Green Bay, in Auckland's west, has happy staff and even happier customers.

We spoke to new mum Tracey, who ventured out of home to do the shopping on a foul rainy day a few months ago - the first time she'd been out since her baby Daniel was born. By the time she reached the check out with a crying baby, Tracey was at her wits' end. She says she was astounded when the checkout operator closed her station, grabbed an umbrella and took Tracey, Daniel and the groceries to the car and loaded them all in, then took the trolley back for her.

Store owner Todd Leathem says his staff know they always have permission to help the customer in just about any way they can.

Our next Colmar Brunton poll will be looking at Home Appliance stores, and if you have an example of exceptional customer service, let us know!

The Nett Experience Score

The % of people who shopped there in the last year who had a particularly good experience -  the % of people who shopped there in the last year who had a particularly bad experience

We spoke to 2000 people, sample was weighted to reflect the population in terms of age, gender and location.  Maximum margin of error at the 90% confidence level is +/- 1.8%.

Supermarket Nett Experience Score

New World 35

Countdown 25

Pak'nSave 20

Four Square 15

Foodtown 13

Woolworths 10

 


 

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