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Oct 29: Repoman

Published: 3:34PM Wednesday October 29, 2008

Reporter: Phil Vine

Rhys Wade got something of a fright when the repoman arrived on his doorstep. He was told to hand over the keys to his car, a Mitsubishi Galant that was the farm worker's pride and joy. Apparently it was being confiscated because a previous owner owed money on it. Imagine Rhys's surprise when he discovered the bloke that owed the money never owned the car at all. What actually happened was that several owners ago, the car was put up for sale on TradeMe. Someone made an offer, applied for online finance through the TradeMe site, but never completed the sale. GE Money, the finance company, argued they had a sale agreement and were right to register a security against the car but, after a legal wrangle, they finally gave the car back. And since Fair Go got involved, they've also promised to pay Rhys's $1700 worth of legal fees.

Before you buy a second hand car, we strongly advise you to make sure there is no money owing on it. There are a number of private companies who will do that check for you.

The vehicle inspection report at costs $30.00

Then there's the AA's lemoncheck: That will cost you $25.00 or $20.00 if you are a member.

They also check other useful details such as whether the car has been stolen, flood damaged, its ownership history and odometer reading.

If you want to save yourself some money you can log onto the government's personal property securities register,, for one dollar you can type in the registration number and check out any securities lodged against the car.

Fraud Squad investigates Shaune Malloch
Reporter: Gordon Harcourt

On a recent programme we investigated telemarketing fundraiser Shaune Malloch.  The Auckland Central Fraud Squad is now investigating the legality of Malloch's operations.

The Companies Office is interested too. It's looking into Malloch's "Community Crime Prevention Trust Limited".  No such company is registered, and it's an offence to describe your business as  "Limited" when it's not registered.

We had some interesting feedback from donors and former employees of Malloch.  None of them was complimentary.

But the most interesting material was from Malloch himself.  On the evening our story was broadcast, he turned up at TVNZ with a large box full of letters, invoices, receipts, news clippings, and photos.

The documents do show he's been involved with organisations which have given large amounts of money.  We acknowledged he has done legitimate fundraising.

However, we've been through every single page in the box, and the most recent document is four years ago. There is nothing at all about his current operations, despite numerous requests. 

The box also included a pile of documents Malloch labelled "negative police and reporters statements to put us out of business."   It includes many other complaints and warnings about his operations over the years.  We weren't aware of many of these earlier complaints.

To remind you, Shaune Malloch is currently raising funds for the following ventures:
Auckland Volunteer Animal Rescue
Road Safety Education Campaign
Community Crime Prevention Trust

We advise you not to donate to any of them.

Funeral Update
Reporter: Kevin Milne

Last week, we asked viewers how they'd feel if they were neighbours not consulted about a funeral home getting council's ok to operate from a residential address. (An office and a viewing room for deceased.)

About 80 percent of the responses indicated they wouldn't mind at all. Many made the point that death was part of life, while others said that at least a funeral home was quiet, unlike partying neighbours, a kindergarten, gang headquarters or a P lab. Fair enough, Fair Go can't disagree with any of that.

London definitely calling
Reporter:  Ruwani Perera

Lee applied to the British Home Office for a visa under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP).  It's a points-based system that takes into account your age, qualifications and how much money you've earned in the past year.

Pay slips and bank statements for the past year are the specified evidence you must submit to prove your year's earnings.  Lee sent in her pay slips and got her bank to print out her year's worth of statements at a cost of $60.

All was going well and Lee thought she had more than enough points to be successful and sent off her application in March 2008. 

However, Lee was declined her visa on August 15 because the bank statements she sent were in black and white and were photocopies, not originals. 

Lee's bank was willing to send a letter certifying that the the copies were legitimate, but the Home Office would have considered this new evidence - and Lee would have had to pay another $1500.

In the end, Lee had to go for a two-week holiday to London, instead of leaving for good.

The British Home Office have reviewed Lee's case and have now approved her application to enter the United Kingdom under the Highly Skilled Migrant Visa.

The Home Office says the British Government is currently carrying out the biggest shake-up to the UK immigration system for a generation.  There has been a large influx of highly skilled migrants applying to enter the UK under tier 1 of the new points based system.  Staff resources have been concentrated on processing these first-time points based system applicants.  Reviews of old-style HSMP applications are being assessed as quickly as possible.

Fair Go knew about Lee's successful application before Lee did and broke the news to her.  When asked how she felt Lee said she was "ecstatic. That's fantastic, thank you so much I can't believe that happened, I just so wasn't expecting it."

Lee can now make her travels plans and finally go on her OE.

Still Hair
Reporter: Tanya Spinka

Zapping away unwanted hair - for a lot of people laser or "intense pulsed light" ("IPL") treatments are preferred to waxing and shaving.  The treatments don't come cheap - but if they work, you should be able to throw away your razor for good. 

But what if you fork out the cash - and nothing happens?  Twenty year old student, Sharleen Almond, reckons she spent almost two and half thousand dollars on her IPL treatments with consultant Lisa Stone at "Bronzed" Beauty Clinic in Drury, South Auckland.  Seven treatments later to her bikini line and underarms, she says, and no result.

Sharleen says Lisa promised her that her hair would grow back finer and lighter and then hardly at all. When that didn't happy she said "sorry - there are no guarantees".  What's more Sharleen had signed a disclaimer, she said, accepting that results could not be "absolutely guaranteed".

We argued that the "no guarantees" claim held little water under the Consumer Guarantees Act and Sharleen was entitled to a full refund.
We took Sharleen to "Exquisite," another clinic that carries out laser hair removal, to find out what went wrong.  They gave Sharleen one treatment and she found the results were immediate and impressive.

Stealing Time
Reporter: Gordon Harcourt

This is one of our occasional not-very-serious-but-really-annoying stories.  We've caught a major parking company 'stealing' time.

Reporter Gordon Harcourt was running (very very) late one morning after dropping off his daughter at child care.  He got to his regular carpark a few minutes before 10am - just in time to get the cheap 'early bird' rate.  To his shock he found the ticket dispenser, showed it was already after ten.

Yet this was before the 10.00am "pips" had sounded on Radio New Zealand.  RNZ gets its time signal from Industrial Research's atomic clock which is accurate to one second in 300,000 years.

Gordon then checked other Wilson Parking sites in the Auckland CBD.  Of 14 sites surveyed, eight were running four minutes fast or more, and only three had the correct time. 

"Wilson Parking Time" varied by seven minutes, compared to New Zealand Time.

Now if a ticket dispenser is five minutes fast, that's actually free time for you:  Buy an hour of parking at 10.00am and it will expire at 11.05am.  But there's a principle here! 

Parking is a time sensitive business and a parking company should show the correct time at ALL of its sites.

Auckland City Council says it has nearly 800 dispensers in the CBD and all display the same time, taken from the Vodafone network.

Wilson Parking hasn't bothered responding to Fair Go's emails, so we don't know what they have to say about this.

And Gordon says he is usually at his desk before 9am, so don't go thinking he slopes in to work at any old time!

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