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Nov 19: Not in the Navy

Published: 3:42PM Wednesday November 19, 2008

Not in the Navy
Reporter:  Ruwani Perera

The Navy says that if Layton Fraser still wishes to join the RNZ Navy, they are prepared to pay for him to have an independent medical specialist review his condition. 

If Layton's nut allergy is not serious enough to rule him out, then so long as he meets all of the entry guidelines, the Navy would be happy to re-enlist him.

The Navy currently have four people serving with nut allergies.  Three of the four are fit for sea and are 'seagoing' because they only have very minor reactions (e.g. they don't even have a skin reaction).  One of the four has developed a more serious reaction and is presently classified as 'unfit for sea' until he or she can be medically reassessed.

Four Navy personnel carry an EPI Pen.  Originally the Navy told Fair Go  that one of the red flags that showed how serious Layton's allergy was, was the fact he carries an EPI pen.

In January 2008, just days after he joined the Navy, Layton Fraser was medically released, all because of a nut allergy the Navy said he didn't declare.

But as part of the application process Layton had to fill out an initial medical questionnaire, where he stated he had an allergy to nuts, and the medical notes he supplied to them stated he tested positive to nuts.

Layton is considering whether or not to take up the Navy's offer.

Double Jeopardy
Reporter:  Tanya Spinka

Fair Go doesn't usually go into bat for people who break the law - but in this case we've made an exception.  An elderly Nelson couple were caught speeding.  We're not arguing with that, and neither are they.  They were speeding and they agree they should pay a fine.  But the question is - is it fair to make them pay twice?

Terry and Alison Kelso were driving down Main Rd Stoke when they were pulled over by a police officer.  Turned out they were speeding - 66kms in a 50km zone and a $120 fine.  When the fine arrived in the post, they dutifully sent off their cheque.  But then, only a few days later - another ticket arrived.   This one was for the same day, on the same road and even in the same minute!  They figured the police must have made a mistake. But, a little investigative work on their part uncovered what had really happened.  They'd been snapped by a speed camera just seconds before they were pulled over.  Terry never saw the camera and hadn't even realised he was speeding.  That's certainly no excuse - but the issue here is whether this was one speeding offence or two.

Terry and Alison wrote in to the police, only to be told that this was "two separate offences" in "different areas" and they had to pay up.  "Not fair" they said - and wrote in to Fair Go.  Finally, with our intervention, the police concede that the tickets were in fact too close together to be considered two offences - and they agreed to waive the second fine. 

Don't think that this will always get you off though - it comes down to the order of the tickets.  If a police officer pulls you over and gives you a fine - and then you speed off and get snapped by a speed camera just up the road, then the "too close together" excuse probably won't do you much good. If you're snapped by a speed camera though, and you get ticketed again only a few metres away, before you even know you've got a fine, then we think you've got a fair point. 

Cashback - What Cashback?
Reporter: Hannah Wallis

Fair Go has had a lot of complaints about cashback deals on computers and printers - this is where, say, a computer manufacturing company offers a $1300 computer with $200 cash back.

But the cash offer isn't immediate - you have to apply for the money through an Aussie-based marketing and promotions company, and it's been taking weeks, even months for consumers to get their money back, and often only after lots of emails and phonecalls.  One of our complainants was told her paperwork had gone missing, and when she re-sent it, she was told she was too late; the promotion was over, no cashback.

Fair Go contacted the retailers involved, Warehouse Stationery and Noel Leeming - both said if the customers were really getting no joy chasing up their cashback with the computer company, the retailers would step in to try and sort things out.

The computer company involved, Hewlett Packard, says it might take up to 75 days for the cashback but that should be the maximum time - and its re-jigging the system to try to speed things up. Its Aussie-based marketing and promotions company, Chemistri Marketing, says 75 days would be unusual, but can happen if the customer doesn't send all the info, or there's some other processing delay at their end. Our complainants say the problem's definitely at the receiving end.

We've had cashback complaints involving other retailers - Harvey Norman, Dick Smith, Office Spot - and other manufacturers - like Acer and Toshiba. We're chasing those complaints up too.

Fair Go says 75 days or more is a ridiculous length of time to wait. We'd say be very careful with cashback - be sure you know how long it'll take to get your money - before you buy the goods. From what you're telling us, some of the retailers could do a much better job of warning customers about the time delays, and the Commerce Commission also warns retailers that they have a responsibility to make sure their customers get the cashbacks.

Watch Out
Reporter: Phil Vine

If you're thinking of getting some lucky person a watch for Christmas then pay close attention. That is, if you want to get something they can go swimming in.

A lot of watches these days have "water resistant" written on them, often followed by a number of metres: 30m, 50m etc.

Judging by a little poll that Fair Go carried out the vast majority of people thought that meant you could go swimming in water resistant watches. And if it said water resistant to 30 metres they thought you could go swimming to a depth of 30 metres. Wrong.

According to international standards both of these types of watches will potentially let in water if you take them swimming. If you want to wear a watch while swimming you have to go for water resistant 50, 100, or 200 metres.

It all sounds rather misleading but there is a science behind it. A water resistant 30 metre watch refers to the static pressure that exists at 30 metres underwater. So if you carefully lowered it down 30 metres and brought it back up the seal would be fine. It's just that once you start moving it around, even when you're swimming at the surface of the water - incredibly - the pressure on the watch is far greater than if it's still at 30 metres down.

Phil put Gordon's watch to the test and it survived. But given the number of watches that keep ending up in the repair shop Fair Go reckons that watch companies should do something about this potentially confusing labelling.

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