Stupid or bullied?
It appears David Lord and his vacuum cleaner salespeople have been busy.
Kapi-Mana News’ story on June 14 about Ranui resident Shirley Najbert and the aggressive tactics from Living Longer New Zealand has seen more than 40 comments posted below the story online at kapimananews.co.nz, with a number of phone calls and people dropping into our office to share their experiences.
Mrs Najbert was sold a $4349 vacuum cleaner on June 1 after a threehour sales talk she felt she was pressured into.
She traded in five vacuum cleaners she owned as part of the deal, which saw the salesperson accompany her to the bank to withdraw the cash.
Mrs Najbert later received a $550 discount after threatening legal action, but was refused a refund.
Among the comments on the KapiMana News website are links to stories from TVNZ, Hawke’s Bay Today and Consumer magazine, outlining the practices of Mr Lord and Living Longer NZ.
Bert Meinders, who says he sold vacuum cleaners for a time, said he was instructed to show highly magnified pictures of dust mites to ‘‘ stress how harmful they were to people’s health, particularly children’s, health . . . Don’t let these people in! If you want whatever it is that they are pushing, go out and find it in a shop, and decide for yourself whether to buy it.’’
A common tactic appears to be a telephone call asking a resident to take part in a survey.
The next night they are called again, and told they have won a prize.
The catch is that a ‘‘representative’’ must come to the home to deliver it, which is where the sales pitch starts.
One man who came to our office says if you pay by finance, the ‘‘extra fees’’ add about $1000 to the total bill.
Don Phillips, who lives in Porirua East, says he and his elderly wife had a Living Longer NZ salesman in their home from noon until 10pm recently.
‘‘He went on and on, we got very hungry but he wouldn’t listen to us when we say we’re on a benefit and can’t afford this [ new vacuum cleaner]. He didn’t want to know, just kept pushing and pushing.’’
He says they paid $ 5250 and although they received a $400 discount, they traded in a three-monthold vacuum cleaner that was ‘‘working perfectly’’.
Although most of the comments on our website were supportive of Mrs Najbert, some had no sympathy.
‘‘Just because you’re a little old lady doesn’t give you an automatic ‘feel sorry for me because I did something stupid’ card,’’ said one.