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Fair Go: Wednesday September 5

Published: 7:04PM Wednesday September 05, 2012 Source: Fair Go

Rates rage
Reporter: Phil Vine Headingly, on the outskirts of Nelson, isn't a place that normally sees much conflict. It's a rural community with green pastures and sea views. But that lifestyle is being threatened by a Council move to rezone the area from rural, to mixed business. Residents say they had no warning that their rates would at least double. Eve is 84 - her new rates take up a quarter of her pension. Max's rates has gone up from $3,000 to almost $12,000. Serena, who's trying to give kids the idyllic rural upbringing she had, now feels that's under threat.

They say their rates are skyrocketing - but nothing has changed. The only addition is a new sewer pipe running through Headingly Lane - which is too expensive for them to connect to anyway. They're still on septic tanks. They say the Council has stonewalled their attempts to find out about the rates hike. The Mayor says that's not true, but he can't provide any evidence that it was communicated. Residents have asked for a ratings remission or postponement. Council rejected them both. But the Mayor's now considering options. He also says he has an anonymous developer interested in the land. Residents say they feel like they're being moved on.

DIY disaster
Reporter: Libby Middlebrook
Engineer Steve Clarke's pretty handy on the DIY front. When he and his wife Sharon decided to tile the deck of their bach on the edge of the Malborough Sounds, he thought he'd done a pretty good job. Until the surface of the tiles began to flake away like eggshells. They were gutted. The tiles, from Tile Direct in Christchurch, were meant to be hardy, and frost proof. Steve and Sharon went back to Tile Direct, who visited the bach, and blamed Steve's installation job. They said water had got under the tiles. They gave them 150 free tiles - but it wasn't enough to fix the job. A building surveyor Fair Go asked to check out the deck, said Steve's work was fine, and blamed the tiles.

So there's a stalemate - but we've managed to broker a deal! Tile Direct says it still has serious questions over the way Steve installed the tiles, but admits staff could have communicated better. So as a gesture of goodwill the company has agreed to yank up the tiles, balustrades and water proofing membrane, and lay new tiles. We surprised Steve and Sharon in Westport with the good news.

Tile tips:

If you're looking for an outdoor tile - go porcelain. They've become more popular than ceramic as they're stronger and less porous.
If you're tiling outdoors on some kind of waterproofing membrane, get really good advice - it can be tricky.
Make sure you're using the right adhesive products and grout for your particular job - again, get advice.

Fishing for bargains
Reporter: Ali Mau
What happens when you think you've nabbed a bargain, only to be told days later you can't have that item at all anymore? Our Facebook page was deluged with complaints from angry customers, who'd bought a children's wooden toy at an 89% discount. With an RRP of around $150.00, it was on sale for $16 - and 1200 people jumped at the bargain. Fishpond then cancelled the orders, telling customers there had been a pricing error, and that there were only 19 of the toys available. Furious customers even set up their own Facebook page to vent their frustrations.

We talk to a lawyer specialising in the internet, to suss out how and when a merchant is able to cancel a sale, and whether the same rules of offer and acceptance apply whether you're buying online or in a retail store. We also get's side of the story, and find out what they've done to make sure it doesn't happen again. And we talk the businessman who accidentally advertised a BMW on Trade Me for $1, but was good enough to honour the deal!

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