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May 7: Roof Claims; Water feature?; Junk pay

Published: 12:05PM Wednesday May 07, 2008

Roof claims
Reporter: Kevin Milne

Zoe and Jon Adams are told by a real estate saleswoman that the house they're looking at has a new roof. After buying the house, there are leaks and they discover the roof was only part-new. They complain to the firm LJ Hooker Jo Loe Real Estate of Greytown that the roof was misrepresented to them but get nowhere. They take the matter to the Real Estate Institute who find LJ Hooker Jo Loe Real Estate guilty of not making it clear that it was just the vendors claim that the roof was new. They had presented it as fact. They were fined $500. But none of this went to Zoe and Jon. And still Jo Loe refused to compensate them. So they wrote to Fair Go saying the wanted $7,500, half the price of a new roof.

Jo Loe told Fair Go she believed she had no obligation to compensate Zoe and Jon at all. Her saleswoman had merely conveyed to them in good faith what she had been told by the vendors. It didn't matter that the Institute had found against her firm.

We contacted LJ Hooker Head Office who had discussions with their Greytown franchise holder, though they told us they could not force her to do anything as she was independant. However LJ Hooker got back to us and said that they themselves would pay $7,500 to Zoe and Jon, and sort things out with their franchise holder at a later date.

Zoe and Jon were delighted with the actions of L J Hooker.

Junk Pay
Reporter: Ruwani Perera

There aren't many job opportunities for a 13 year old in Dargaville, so Cassie Cocurullo has been delivering unaddressed mail for the past 4 years.  It's always been a low-paid job, but since she began, her pay's actually gone down - for delivering a bundle of 100 average-sized circulars she earns around 50 cents.  She used to get paid four times that for delivering the same amount of product.

The company Cassie works for, Reachmedia, is the result of an industry merger in March this year. It's half owned by NZ Post.

Cassie and around 5,500 others are independent contractors for Reachmedia.  They're not employees and therefore not entitled to receive minimum wages.

But the problem isn't just with low pay; some contractors aren't being paid by Reachmedia at all.

Matthew Warner, who delivers around east Auckland has been waiting 9 weeks to get paid, having only received one payment of $25 since Reachmedia took over in March. He's owed around $300.

He's turning 16 in a few months and thinks he'll look out for another job as soon as he can.  Once he is 16 years of age he'll be entitled to be paid the minimum youth rate of $12 an hour.  At the moment, he estimates he's on about $6 an hour with his delivery round.

Both Cassie and Matthew spend hours before and after school folding thousands of flyers and delivering them.

Reachmedia say they are a fair and ethical organisation and think that their pay structures are appropriate for the work undertaken.  They say they will look in the future at how we can remunerate their distributors differently.

They say since the merger, around 20 percent of walkers who've joined Reachmedia from the previous organisations have seen a reduction in their base rate.

Darrell Simpson update
Dodgy roofer Darrell Simpson, who featured on fair go in 2007, has been jailed for four years for fraud.

Our story featured two of his victims, June Wynn and 89 year old Arthur Norris.

Simpson drove Arthur to his bank to get $3000 upfront for roofing work he never carried out. Arthur got his money back after his family complained to police.

A similar thing happened to June: Simpson got her to pay him $3000 of her holiday savings to "fix" her roof after inspecting it uninvited; June never saw a day's work out of Simpson.

June never got her money back.

Following our story, police got involved leading to Simpson pleading guilty to four counts of obtaining by deception. He got four years for each count, but will serve his sentence concurrently.

Water feature?
Reporter Hannah Wallis

Lindi and Guy Marrett have been in dispute with their local City Council, Manukau, over a swimming pool. The Council says they've got one, says an inspector's been round to check it out and has found that they don't comply with safety standards. They have charged them $85, and have been pursuing them over the matter for a year. The Marretts don't actually have a pool, they have a raised garden where the pool is supposed to be - they've told the Council this, but the bill for the pool inspection just keeps coming in.

Manukau Council's chap in charge of the pool inspectors, Kevin Jackson, has now explained that the inspector went to the right house, with a pool, very close to the Marrett's house, but put the Marrett's street number down by mistake. That house, and that pool are now fully compliant.

When the Marrett's called Council to say they didn't have a pool, the staff member didn't send the information through to the right Council staff, so the bill kept being sent out. Kevin Jackson apologised for the year-long problem the Marretts have had, and he has since been round to apologise to the Marretts in person.


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