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Fair Go: Wednesday April 25

Published: 4:35PM Wednesday April 25, 2012

LIQUIDATED MOTORBIKES
Reporter: Hannah Wallis

What can happen to ordinary people when a company goes belly-up - how when a business goes into liquidation, people who think they're safe from the fallout, are not. 

Shelley Bruce, Dean Taylor and Neale Beets had all left bikes for sale on commission, or on behalf, with motorbike shop Dave Anderson Limited in Masterton.

When the company went into voluntary liquidation in January this year, they discovered their bikes had all been sold but instead of paying them out, the money had gone into the company's overdraft account at the BNZ, which effectively meant that money was no longer accessible to the bike owners.

They had thought they were safe under the Motor Vehicle Sales Act, and if the company had followed the Act, they would have been.

The MVS Act says that when selling on behalf, the trader must pay the money from the sale (less any fee or commission) either immediately on demand, or if no demand is made, within five days. The money is not to be used to pay any other debts, and cannot be accessed by a liquidator. If the money in this case was placed in an ordinary bank account and the proper records kept in order to identify and trace it - it would have been safe. By placing it an overdraft account it, in effect, became the property of the BNZ, who in this case were also the primary secured creditor.

If a trader breaches the Act, they can be fined up to $20,000 per individual or up to $40,000 per company, and be banned from trading.

Given that a liquidation trumps the safety net of the Act - what else can vehicle owners do?

Lawyer John Bergseng advises getting a written contract covering the sale on behalf - this would include vehicle description and identifying information, ownership, sales price, rules for payment, that sort of thing. John also suggests registering the vehicle on the Personal Properties Security Register.

The PPSR is the register where details of security interests in personal property can be registered and searched - check it out at this website

Registering is reasonably easy and inexpensive to do and means that in the event of a liquidation, the vehicle owner would be further up the pecking order than an unsecured creditor. But John also warns that when a company gets into this sort of trouble, there may well be little left for even secured creditors - think very carefully, do your homework, before giving possession of your vehicle to a trader


DATA SHOCK
Reporter: Phil Vine

Apps on your smartphone can ending up costing you a heap in dumb data charges

Damien Christie sat down for lunch and so did his smartphone. By the time he's finished his noodles the Samsung Galaxy S2 had chewed through the rest of his data allowance and sixty bucks extra.

He discovered it was an application preloaded on his phone called AP Mobile, an American news headline service. It was connecting with the  internet and kept refreshing itself. The app came preloaded on his device. 

Vodafone says while AP Mobile is data hungry, if you switch the auto refresh onto "none" it sorts out the problem. If you want to remove it Vodafone says you need to use another app. Vodafone recommends Taskiller. The company refunded Damien his sixty dollars and told Fair Go it will show lenience on customers who experience "data shock" for the first time.


TIPS TO AVOID SMARTPHONE DATA SHOCK

1. Use wi-fi wherever you can, in the cities there are increasing numbers of free hotspots
2. Keep the software on your smartphone up to date to fix bugs
3. Download an app to keep an eye on your apps and how much data they are using eg Download Manager, Data Defender or Taskiller
4. Keep a close eye on your mobile accounts some telcos send you text reminders when you are close to your limit


PACKAGING AWARDS
Reporter: Ali Mau

The Unpackit Awards are pack as part of the Smart Packaging project run by Wanaka Wastebusters. The overall goal of the project is to help people to choose Smart Packaging so they can reduce, reuse and recycle, and to raise awareness about packaging waste. 

To get voting for best and worst packaging visit unpackit.org.nz

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