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Security Cameras

Published: 8:16PM Wednesday October 14, 2009 Source: Fair Go

Reporter: Hannah Wallis

Cynthia and Wayne of Tauranga and Ron from the Bay of Plenty both bought home security camera setups from Secure Vision / Smartway Security. In both cases, they wanted the camera system for both day and night coverage, and say they specifically told Secure Vision they wanted to be able to identify people on their property at night.

Both say the day vision was okay, the night vision was not clear, and neither day nor night coverage gave the sort of clarity with which you could identify, say, a prowler, at any further than a couple of meters from the camera. Ron actually did have a theft from his house; the thief was caught on camera, but no identification was possible.

Cynthia and Wayne say they were so unhappy with their system they de-installed it, but were persuaded to re-install it and give the company a chance to give them better coverage.

Ron has de-installed his system and has tried to send his system back to the company and get a refund - but, no luck. Both cases tell us they do not feel the system delivers what was promised.

The Secure Vision salesman was Tony Tuhoro, and this company is part of the Hamilton-based Smartway Security company run by Roger Bull.

Roger Bull says he doesn't believe the salesman oversold the abilities of the cameras. He says in both cases, the cameras were set up to get wide-angle coverage which is not going to give the same clarity, he says, as a narrowly focused camera. With these sort of cameras, apparently, you can't get both clarity and wide coverage.

Roger says he has gone to great lengths in both cases to supply a system the clients are happy with.

But Ron, Cynthia and Wayne are all still unhappy - they are adamant the salesman didn't tell them about the wide-angle stuff.

Bruce Young of Zone Technology - a company which supplies gear to security companies - confirmed that our complainants wouldn't have got the coverage they wanted with the cameras they had. He said you'd need to spend about $20,000 for a system which gives wide coverage and great detail.

He told us that security lights and a security camera should work well together - when the lights are triggered, the infra red camera should revert to daylight mode (colour coverage) - which gives greater clarity. Cynthia and Wayne's security lights just caused a flare which made identifying anyone very difficult.

Bruce Young also warned that the market is being flooded with unbranded product - mostly Chinese imports. He says just be aware that this means there may be little or no after-sales service.

Both of our cases also wanted to warn about buying under a high-pressure situation - they bought the gear and signed up for Q Card payment pretty much immediately, and without talking to other security companies, checking prices, or getting a demonstration of the cameras at night.

They also thought they were covered by the Door To Door Sales Act - but the security company says they weren't. The Act does give you a 7 day cancellation clause - unless you pay cash. If you think you are dealing with door-to-door sales, make sure you get a contract which specifies the cancellation clause - and if you do cancel, do it in writing, and either hand deliver it or send by traceable courier.

Security guards, security installers or security companies all need to be government registered.
How to check:
Go to www.courts.govt.nz/pisg.
Go to the right hand side of that page - click on forms, that takes you to the private investigator and security guard licensing page. At the bottom of the page you'll find the security guards listing - click on that, and you'll find whose license is lodged, whose is new, whose is pending.

For security companies - the licencees - they're listed just under the guards listing - open that - to check who's got a licence.

You may want to check if the security company you're planning on using is a member of either of these professional associations:
New Zealand Security Association
ASIS

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