My TV service isn’t working properly, so do I have to pay?
I have been a Vodafone customer for some time: internet, TV and mobile.
Recently I upgraded my Vodafone Sky TV plan to the Vodafone TV box that has been out for some time. I was experiencing issues with the decoder with picture quality and other things. I rang Vodafone customer care a few times requesting a technician to have a look, all I got basically was ‘‘we’ll monitor it and if it gets really bad we’ll send someone around’’.
One night I had enough of the quality so I rang customer care again. This time I was told, ‘‘if you upgrade to our new Vodafone TV box this will eliminate the problem’’, at a cost of an extra $9 a month. The new box arrived, I plugged it up and away we went. However, not long after, the screen froze for five seconds, then it did it again.
I rang customer care the next day and the response I got was, ‘‘this has been an ongoing issue we have been experiencing since starting this new box and we have technicians working on it’’.
I have had this box for nearly three months and the TV at times still freezes and loses connection to the service. If this service was faulty before I even considered signing up shouldn’t Vodafone have advised me first? Should I be paying full price for a service that isn’t working properly?
Head of Vodafone TV Hamish Sansom said there had been intermittent freezing for ‘‘some weeks’’.
‘‘I wanted to personally apologise to any customers who have experienced this. We recently undertook a major upgrade to the Vodafone TV platform to enable us to launch new features in the future that customers have been asking for, such as visual fast forward and rewind.
‘‘The freezing issue began following this upgrade. We now understand what is causing the freezing, which is a key step to resolving it. In the interim, you can fix the freezing issue temporarily by changing the channel up or down, or switching the power on and off. I want to reassure customers that the team are working on a permanent solution to this as an urgent priority, seven days a week. We apologise again for any disruption to your TV viewing.’’
Jessica Wilson, of Consumer NZ, said consumers had legal rights when services did not perform as promised or were not fit for purpose.
‘‘If the company can’t or won’t fix the problem, or it’s substantial, the Consumer Guarantees Act gives you the right to cancel the contract and get a refund or request compensation for the reduced service you’re getting. Your options include requesting a reduction in the price you pay for the service.
‘‘Where you believe the company has misled you about the service, you could also rely on the Fair Trading Act to claim compensation. Where disputes involve a telco, you’ve got the option of taking the matter to the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution scheme. All major telcos belong and the scheme is free for consumers to use.’’
I live in a block of five units in Papatoetoe. We do not have a body corporate so rely on the honesty and co-operation of each owner. We have shared drains so are all responsible for any repairs. We have had a major drainage repair which cost $4000. All other owners agreed to proceed and between the five of us it should be $800 each.
But one unit owner has not paid and is not answering any emails nor phone calls. One of the other owners did have communication with him and he was well aware of the repairs that were required. We provided quotes and he said he would provide the same but never did. We went ahead as the problem was serious.
We are working to take him to the Disputes Tribunal. However, we do not know his residential address, so cannot serve him with the court summons.
Thomas Biss, director of law firm Henderson Reeves, said setting up a body corporate could stop this happening again in the future.
‘‘A formal body corporate would have authority and power to deal with this issue and recover the costs. The Disputes Tribunal is a really good forum and can resolve a lot of disputes. So hopefully that will deal with the problem. Less formally, sometimes a change in personnel might help. Sometimes two people just react badly to each other, and so asking one of the other neighbours to see if they can succeed might be a good idea.’’
I sold a house last year that was conditional subject to sewerage connections being completed by me. There was a quote done which the buyer agreed to, and a clause added to the sales and purchase agreement stating that the buyer was to pay the cost of the work and I was to organise it and have it completed by settlement date.
This was all completed on time but after some unexpected discoveries along the way, the quoted work went over by $2000. The drainlayer stands by his work, as do I. The clause states that the buyer is liable to pay for the sewerage work (it does not say only the quoted price).
On settlement day the buyer refused to pay the extra and my lawyer suggested the only way to get the sales and purchase agreement over the line that day (I had already bought elsewhere) was to just agree and maybe take the case to the Disputes Tribunal later. I have written to the purchaser reminding them of their obligation and included a copy of the clause. I gave them 30 days to respond but have not heard anything at all. What should I do now?
The Real Estate Authority said the next step was probably to try to enforce the contract. ‘‘I’d suggest having one more go at trying to contact and negotiate with the buyer, perhaps mentioning they are thinking about the Disputes Tribunal. And if not, taking legal advice, and looking at the Disputes Tribunal as an option.’’
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Vodafone has apologised for the freezing problems its TV box has suffered since an upgrade.