Reporter: Ali Mau
IPL (intense pulsed light) and laser treatments are widely available from beauty therapists right across New Zealand, for hair removal, skin rejuvenation and removing pigmentation and sun spots. While the technology once was available only from reputable distributors and was very expensive, now cheap machines are available on the internet and there are no regulations or minimum training standards covering their use - anyone can buy and use one. Doctors are becoming increasingly worried about poorly trained therapists offering "mole removal", taking off moles that could potentially be cancerous. We speak to a specialist dermatologist who says moles should only ever be removed by a doctor, and should be cut out and sent for biopsy.
Verbal quotes, and the problems people can run into
Reporter: Libby Middlebrook
Verbal quotes may sound like a straightforward proposition, but if you and your contractor aren't on the same wavelength, things can get very ugly, very fast. The family in our story ran into a dispute with their plumber, after they employed him to connect a rainwater tank to their house. The plumber gave them a verbal price of $2000 on the spot, and the job got underway. He then agreed to take on extra work, but those costs weren't properly discussed by anyone. The final bill came to $7000. The plumber says his original price was an estimate, not a quote. Our advice: always get a written agreement.
Honour among towies
Reporter: Gordon Harcourt
You may remember the lady left screaming on the side of the road as her car was towed. The scene was videoed, and we thought Wellington company Harbour City Tow & Salvage (HCTS) acted appallingly toward Adiam from Eritrea. What was worse, her car was mysteriously damaged, with nasty big dents at the rear.
HCTS won't tell us what caused the damage.
HCTS hasn't fixed the damage.
HCTS says it's "going through the usual processes".
HCTS insists Adiam claim on her insurance before they sort it out. She can't. She's only got third party insurance, which doesn't cover damage to her own car.
Watching that story was Wellington towie, clamper and panel beater Tony Valentic. He thought it wasn't right, and he offered to fix Adiam's car for free, with help from August Panel and Spray, and with free paint from Total Body Shop.
We've heard other interesting stories about HCTS - like the unpaid Disputes Tribunal order from November. That's November 2009!! I went and had a chat with the boss of HCTS, Stephen Okeby. It was an interesting experience.
Reporter Hannah Wallis
Lionel's waterproof watch got a new battery, then stopped going again, then got a new movement and then started letting moisture in. Lionel didn't want to take it back to the same repairer, but the jeweller said yes that's the law. Lionel wanted to know who should pay for these on-going repairs. In the end, the jeweller agreed to repair the water damage done to the watch - for free. Our watch expert warned about using waterproof watches round hot water and steam - cold water is okay, hot water is a no-no.
Under the Consumer Guarantees Act
If a product or service is faulty or incorrect, the goods or service provider can choose either to repair, replace or refund, and that must be done within reasonable time. If the problem cannot be fixed by the provider, or cannot be put right within a reasonable time, or is substantial, you can ask for a replacement or full refund, or if you need to repair the item, then you can get that done elsewhere and recover the costs from the provider. But retailers will argue that if the fault is different each time then the service or goods provider should be allowed to try and correct the fault.
Sample rejection letter under CGA - Click here for a sample rejection letter
We drafted this letter earlier this year, with assistance from the Consumer Affairs Ministry.
We've been forwarding it to viewers, and several report excellent results - deadlocks broken, disputes resolved.
Make sure you delete the bits that don't apply, and keep your reasons for rejection factual and concise.
Let us know how it goes!