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Fair Go: Wednesday August 15

Published: 5:10PM Wednesday August 15, 2012 Source: Fair Go

A carpenter taking aim at his own clients
Reporter:
Libby Middlebrook
People we do stories about on Fair Go react in all sorts of different ways, but none quite like Steve Bird, the owner of Hampton Gates.
He first featured on Fair Go in early July, following criticisms from his customers about delays in getting gates, poor workmanship and abuse.
Later, he responded to that story by threatening some of those customers with the release of abusive flyers, to their surrounding neighbours.
In a statement, Bird told Fair Go he had no intention of releasing any material about them.

Yet, in one case, it appears Bird has circulated information about a customer. The client received a flyer from Bird a few weeks ago, falsely accusing him of being a "sexual deviant". That same note was then posted to the client's employer, and posted into ten of his neighbours letterboxes. Bird declined to comment on the flyer, or its release.

Hampton Gates manufactures wooden gates and fencing. Bird wouldn't comment on the details of the disputes in our story, saying they would be resolved through the Disputes Tribunal.
He says he's been in business for 20 years, supplying thousands of happy customers.

Power Jockey Revisited
Reporter:
Phil Vine
When experts at AECS in Hastings saw Fair Go's last programme on the Power Jockey they needed to find out for themselves how dangerous or not, it might be. The invention is advertised as a miracle cure for flagging hybrid cars. AECS trains the country's top automotive technicians in hybrid batteries. They bought a Prius that had left the Battery Clinic two months ago. This is how Peter Leijen described it: "An accident waiting to happen." The biggest safety concern: live terminals with the full battery power of 250 volts sitting behind the carpet in the boot. And if someone touched it? Peter says "they would die".   Good news for Power Jockey owners though. Take your cars into a Toyota dealer and they will do a health check and install a brand new battery for less than half the usual price.

The Power Jockeys inventor, Patrick Phan, told Fair Go he applauds Toyota for finally offering replacement batteries at a reasonable price - and asks why isnt available to all Prius owners, not just people who installed a Power Jockey? He says the Power Jockey was designed to fill a void left by Toyota. It was designed and manufactured by reputable engineers with safety as the utmost priority. Being a new invention, there are no published standards to adhere to.

Pets and Vets
Reporter:
Hannah Wallis
Norma and Sasha were both shocked to discover how much their new rescued cats were going to cost for basic treatments at the vets. Fair Go's survey of a bunch of city vets and out-of-towners showed for instance, that prices for a cat or dog dental clean could range from around $90 - to upwards of $500. Vets told us this could be to do with location, number and training of staff, and the type - and cost - of equipment on site.
We say definitely shop around before going to the vet that just happens to be closest to you. Check out your local SPCA or animal rescue centre, and also specialist cat and dog clubs - they often know about the cheaper vets and cheaper options.
You are able to buy animal medication on line - you'll need a vet's prescription and you may be charged for that - but Fair Go found for instance, two medications sold on line for 30% and 50% less than what a vet charged.
Extra tips from Dr Wayne Ricketts (NZ Vet Assn) and Dr Alex Melrose (Vet Care , Auckland):
Do your homework before getting the pet - remember an older animal is likely to have accelerated vet needs
Pet insurance may well pay for itself, especially with an older animal or one that is accident or fight prone
Have an honest discussion prior to any treatment with the vet about what you can afford - and always ask what the worst case scenario might be and how much that might cost.
Vets will try and find lower-cost options for your pet, find ways to safely cut corners, and ways to reduce price. And if you do hit financial difficulties, be upfront and ask your vet to help work out a payment plan.

No sign
Reporter:
Ali Mau
When you park your car. do you always check for tow away signs? If there are none, do you feel pretty safe in the knowledge that your car will be there when you get back?

Rudy did, when he parked outside his new office, in the very spot he'd been parking in without trouble since he'd moved his marketing business in the week before.  When he came out again, his car was gone; towed away by the owner of the liquor store downstairs. A sandwich board had a customer parking only sign taped to it on a bit of A4 paper. Witnesses say it had been placed outside after Rudy parked his car.

We were surprised to find that there are no laws or regulations requiring private property owners to put up signs warning that you might be towed away, or provide details of the towing company to help you find your car once it's been towed! The AA and others have been campaigning for a long time now to have the law strengthened in this area - Fair Go supports that campaign.

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