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Fair Go: Wednesday May 16

Published: 6:40PM Wednesday May 16, 2012 Source: Fair Go

The Good Oil
: Phil Vine
We gargle our way through $35 million worth of olive oil a year. Most of it comes from Europe, though New Zealand supplies a small percentage of the market. Olive oil is said to have many health benefits, fighting heart disease, hyper tension, and Alzheimers, but those results are associated with the highest grade, extra virgin. After studies in Australia and California which cast doubt on the credentials of  extra virgin olive oils from the Mediterranean, we decided to do our own testing. We sampled 14 extra virgin bottles from 14 different supermarkets and sent samples to the Modern Olives lab in Australia. They carried out the IOC test and one more stringent test. Then we assembled a sensory panel here in New Zealand to test the oils.

-These are the samples which passed all tests: 100% Kiwi, Village Press, Select, Delmaine, Cobram Estate, Red Island.

- All seven European imported extra virgin olive oils, Olivani, Lupi, Lupi organic, Homebrand, Pams, Filippo Berio and Borges failed the sensory test for extra virgin olive oil.

-One Kiwi brand failed the sensory test, the Village Press bottle endorsed by Peta Mathias.

-Our sensory panel found traces of rancidity in every one of the seven European imports.

- All the bottles passed the standard IOC test for extra virgin olive oil

- Two Europeans Lupi and Olivani failed the more stringent Australian test.

- The sensory panel considered local brand 100% Kiwi as the best oil they sampled.

The importers have challenged our chemical tests saying they are not to the International Olive Council standard, they claim the sensory lab we used wasn't IOC approved and that Modern Olives does not have IOC accreditation. They are confident all their products are extra virgin. The Village Press says their bottles endorsed by Peta Mathias are also extra virgin and have met the Olives New Zealand standard. They say they, like the importers, have had no customer complaints.

Broadcasting Standards Authority ruling on this story - here

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Credit card charges - fair or not?
: Ali Mau
Credit card companies like VISA and Mastercard have always charged businesses a fee to accept card payments, but until fairly recently, that cost was never passed on to consumers. That all changed in 2009. The Commerce Commission was concerned at the lack of competition amongst the major banks and credit providers when it came to the fees they charge businesses for transactions by credit card. They struck a deal to increase competition in the hope that would drive prices down (good for consumers)   That hasn't happened.

The deal also allowed businesses to pass on those surcharges to the consumer, and decide how much they should be, but they had to "reasonably reflect" the cost the business has paid the bank. Business experts we speak to are worried some businesses are now charging much more than that, and say consumers need to push for tighter regulations.

We meet one Fair Go viewer who was outraged when she booked return flights for 3 people on Air New Zealand's website, and was charged a credit card fee per person, per leg, even though they were part of a single booking. Air New Zealand tell Fair Go why they charge per person, per journey, instead of per transaction.

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Boots for sale
Reporter: Hannah Wallis
Nicola Pere was very pleased to see a sign saying "ankle boots all under $100"  in one of her favourites shops, Wild Pair. But very disappointed when she was told the boots she wanted were not on sale, as the sign only related to boots near the actual sign. We asked Wild Pair why they had such a confusing sign - they said they would change the signs in their shop and would sell the boots to Nicola for $80. The Commerce Commission agreed that the sign should mean what it says, all boots under $100, and that this was a Breach of the Fair Trading Act. Consumers should first ask the retailer to honour such signage, and they can also complain to the Commission, which can impose fines of up to $200,000.


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