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Fair Go: Wednesday, March 6

Published: 4:23PM Wednesday March 06, 2013 Source: Fair Go

LANDSCAPER

REPORTER: LIBBY MIDDLEBROOK

PODCAST: A dodgy landscaper and the customers who fought back and won.

Every week at Fair Go we get complaints from consumers who've been ripped off, but feel powerless to do anything about it.

This story revolves around a bunch of feisty gardeners who fought back and won.

Landscaper Guy Silcock advertises under different company names in community papers around Auckland, focusing on paving jobs.

The people in our story paid him large deposits up front for landscaping jobs - but Guy never showed up and did the work.

Those clients managed to get together, and seek help through the police. Guy's now been convicted on four fraud charges.

KUMARA CHIPS?

REPORTER: HANNAH WALLIS

PODCAST: Should a company making chippies out of Chinese-grown sweet potato, in a Chinese factory, be marketing them in New Zealand as Kumara chips?

Up in Dargaville they produce 90% of New Zealand's kumara crop - it's is a treasure, a taonga, and creates hundreds of jobs in an area with near 10% unemployment. They're furious that a product called Kenny's Kumara chips is being sold in Kiwi supermarkets - made of Chinese-grown sweet potato, in a Chinese factory. They say the packaging looks local, that using the word kumara instead of sweet potato is misleading. Fair Go's "peeps in the street" survey backed that up - most thought the Kumara chips were home grown, most missed the small "product of China" label on the back of the packet.

The chips are made by Auckland company Nutritious Foods who say they're made in China because that's where the factory is so it's cheaper. They're called kumara chips because that's what Kiwis call them. And they point out that under our labelling laws, they're not legally obliged to put country of origin on the packet at all.

By the way - what we think of as "our kumara" the little red or purple one - actually arrived with the American whaling ships in about 1850, replacing the much smaller Kiwi kumara which, it's thought , originated in South America, via the Pacific Islands.

CHAIN

REPORTER: AMY KELLEY

PODCAST: Do you carefully check you're paying the right amount before you put your pin into the Eftpos terminal? We reckon you will after seeing this story.

Do you carefully check you're paying the right amount before you put your pin into the Eftpos terminal?

We reckon you will after seeing this story.

Whitianga couple Keith and Anne Finch went browsing for jewellery while on a trip to Auckland.

Keith fell in love with a gold necklace at Pascoes, and so began a very unfortunate 'chain' of events.

The Finches say the saleswoman gave them a price of "$489"; but when they later checked their bank account, almost 10x that had been deducted from their credit card.

When Keith rang the store, the saleswoman told him it was no mistake; the chain cost $4899 and it was a legitimate sale.

Keith and Anne feel they were misled and they want a refund.

Pascoes strongly disputes that its saleswoman gave them a shortened price and say the couple had plenty of opportunities to check it, including looking at the price tag and Eftpos screen.

Tips:

- Check price tags

- Look closely at the price on the Eftpos screen before entering your pin

- Always accept a receipt, and ask for it to be handed to you (not put in the bag). Check it before leaving the shop.

TREES

REPORTER: MARK CRYSELL

PODCAST : What do you do if the trees next door are causing your property pain and you can't find the neighbour?

Phil Long-Taylor lives on a perfect patch of paradise in rural South Auckland but every time the weather packs up he worries. A stand of spindly pines on the next door neighbour's place creaks and groans and more often than not falls across the power lines on the driveway leaving Phil and his family without electricity for days. There's no house next door and his neighbour doesn't live on the property and for the past four years Phil's tried unsuccessfully to contact him. An aborist has priced the job at around $15,000 but Phil can't go onto the property without permission. He can trim the trees at the boundary but if he crosses the fence Phil could be charged with trespass. The power company has offered to put the cables underground but that will cost him thousands. What can he do? Fair Go has found a solution.

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