Sales pitch an­noys woman

Em­bar­rassed, hu­mil­i­ated by pur­chase

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KARO­LINE TUCKEY

A Ranui res­i­dent says she has been left feel­ing hu­mil­i­ated and bul­lied af­ter a door-todoor pres­sure sales pitch saw her part with more than $3000.

Shirley Na­jbert, 72, has been told there is a no-re­fund pol­icy af­ter be­ing sold a $3050 vac­uum cleaner in a three­hour sales talk she feels she was pres­sured into. The com­pany, how­ever, says ‘‘the cus­tomer has re­spon­si­bil­i­ties’’ and Ms Na­jbert told them she is happy with the agree­ment.

A sales­man from Liv­ing Longer New Zealand phoned her in late May, of­fer­ing a free gift, which she ini­tially de­clined. The sales­man per­sisted in ask­ing when he could call in to see her with the gift and she re­lented.

Ms Na­jbert says she was given a ‘‘$2 Shop’’ set of dis­pos­able plas­tic con­tain­ers and a sales pitch that lasted from 1pm till 4pm on June 1. She was left feel­ing ‘‘ as if I had never cleaned my house . . .

‘‘They sort of talk down to you as if you were a lit­tle kid who has never used a vac­uum cleaner and I thought ‘crikey, I’ve been us­ing a vac­uum cleaner since be­fore you were born’.

‘‘ They make you feel in­fe­rior and stupid and he didn’t give you a chance to say any­thing. He just kept on and on and on and if you started to ask a ques­tion he’d just talk around it as if he didn’t want to an­swer it.’’

The sales­man per­formed sev­eral demon­stra­tions with the vac­uum cleaner and with her own vac­uum clean­ers – Ms Na­jbert has five that work, as well as a car­pet sham­pooer – in which sub­stances were ef­fec­tively sucked from the floor by the new ma­chine but not hers. She was also shown the amount of dust in her car­pet.

‘‘I didn’t re­ally need a new vac­uum cleaner and you feel quite pres­sured by the time they’ve fin­ished talk­ing, you feel obliged to say yes. Any­thing to get rid of him.’’

Mrs Na­jbert asked if she could drop in to the shop the next day to pay but was told the deal, dis­counted from the full price of $4349 with her five trade-ins, was only avail­able now. She was ac­com­pa­nied to the bank by the sales­per­son in her car to get cash. She was asked to sign three doc­u­ments to seal the deal, dis­cov­er­ing later that she had only been left with a copy of one of them.

Af­ter talk­ing over the pur­chase with her daugh­ter, Mrs Na­jbert was hor­ri­fied to learn do­mes­tic vac­uum clean­ers usu­ally sell for 10 times less than the price she paid.

‘‘They’re charg­ing ex­or­bi­tant prices and [tar­get­ing] old peo­ple. It’s most hu­mil­i­at­ing when your son or daugh­ter has to tell you [that they feel] you’ve been ripped off.’’

Liv­ing Longer rep­re­sen­ta­tive David Lord says the con­tract made with Mrs Na­jbert states the deal is fi­nal.

‘‘She has pur­chased a prod­uct and we have come to an agree­ment. She’s very happy.

‘‘I know as a busi­ness per­son I’m re­spon­si­ble and the cus­tomer has re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. We’ve done ev­ery­thing hon­ourably, as I’m a gen­uinely hon­ourable per­son.’’

Af­ter call­ing the com­pany’s new Kenepuru of­fice to ask for a re­fund for the vac­uum cleaner, Mrs Na­jbert was of­fered a $ 550 dis­count be­cause she wasn’t sat­is­fied, and says she was asked to keep quiet about it. She re­ceived this money last week.

‘‘I should have known bet­ter, and there’s plenty of other peo­ple that have been suck­ered in, but I’d like to try to stop them from [pres­sur­ing] some­one else.

‘‘They are out there now and go­ing around Porirua and try­ing to suck peo­ple in.’’

While the deal may be legal, in her opin­ion it’s not eth­i­cal, and she should be given a re­fund be­cause ‘‘it’s not fair’’.

‘‘They should have taken the whole thing back and given me back the old vac­uum clean­ers, and be done with the whole thing.’’

Sucker or sucked in? Shirley Na­jbert says she is ashamed to have been pres­sured into pay­ing more than $3000 for a vac­uum cleaner, but wants to warn oth­ers not to get caught out.

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