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Master Geek
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Topic # 98215 27-Feb-2012 08:09 Send private message

An 81 year old neighbour of mine, in the Horowhenua area, recently got a local Electrician to adjust his
outside security lights, which he has since been billed for ... no problem.
However, during the adjustment of the lights, the home owner asked the Electrician if he might know if
Triangle Television was available on Freeview in the Horowhenua area?
"I will look it up on the Internet for you" ... which the Electrician did.
He then rang to state that Triangle Television was only available in Auckland.

On receiving the bill of $100.00 for adjusting the security lights, which the home owner has no problem with,
there was an added bill, that being for:  Security Freeview   $35.00   

Now the home owner is of such a gentle disposition, I wonder, almost wildly accuse, is the Electrician taking
advantage of the old boy by charging $35.00 to look up on the Internet to see if Triangle TV is available?

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IT Professional
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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 587203 27-Feb-2012 09:04 Send private message

If the electrician is someone well known to your neighbor, then yes - he is being taken advantage of.

If the electrician is just another trades person to him then probably not - in this day and age if you ask a trades person for information or help and they go away to research it then expect to be billed.

Probably a little silly of your neighbor to not have said "Don't worry" when the electrician said he'd go away in investigate.

Then again, the electrician *should* have probably made it clear he was going to bill for doing the research. But, as he was on a paid job then it shouldn't be too much of a surprise.

Could always tackle the electrician over the fact he didn't say he was charging for the investigation and see what happens.

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  Reply # 587208 27-Feb-2012 09:12 Send private message

There should be no charge unless previously agreed upon by the customer. Hence the electrician should have said "I will look this up if you like but it will be chargeable" to which the customer can approve or deny. This is bad business by the electrician.

gzt

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  Reply # 587315 27-Feb-2012 12:44 Send private message

keewee01: If the electrician is just another trades person to him then probably not - in this day and age if you ask a trades person for information or help and they go away to research it then expect to be billed.

Really? For example?

Personally I think the example given is shocking behavior. I would refuse to pay it. If the customer knew he was going to be charged then he would have asked someone else.

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  Reply # 587323 27-Feb-2012 12:55 Send private message

gzt:
keewee01: If the electrician is just another trades person to him then probably not - in this day and age if you ask a trades person for information or help and they go away to research it then expect to be billed.

Really? For example?

Personally I think the example given is shocking behavior. I would refuse to pay it. If the customer knew he was going to be charged then he would have asked someone else.


+1

It should be made clear by the service provider what action will be taken and what costs will be involved albeit an estimate or a quote.  This needs to be agreed with the customer before proceeding.  As he has not done this I would say he is not obligated to pay that portion of the account.

Very bad business practice.

 




Artificial intelligence is no match, for natural stupidity



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  Reply # 587326 27-Feb-2012 13:03 Send private message

what does "Security Freeview" even mean?

I mean, if the charge was for looking up the freeview coverage surely it would have said something like "freeview research time" or something. the word 'security' seems out of place if your version of events is correct.

Has the person called the sparky to actually check what the item was? Maybe it actually had nothing to do with the research?

Did he, for example, also ask him to go up on the roof to check where a freeview antenna might go,  or did he need to adjust an existing aerial because of where the security lights needed to go orsomething? 

Or maybe there was a misunderstanding and the sparky thought he was being asked to install freeview and so he invoiced for $35 as a security deposit for buying the aeriel.

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  Reply # 587327 27-Feb-2012 13:08 Send private message

i wouldnt pay it.





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  Reply # 587344 27-Feb-2012 13:19 Send private message

keewee01:

Then again, the electrician *should* have probably made it clear he was going to bill for doing the research. But, as he was on a paid job then it shouldn't be too much of a surprise.


+1

It all depends on how the Electrician needs to charge his time out.

At work, my aim is to get 8 hours billable time in.  If the electrician needs to charge in parts of the hour (say 15min blocks, or for example, lawyers can charge out in 5 min blocks) the the time he spent researching the availbity of TV channels is chargable.

It would make no sense at all to give away time and not charge for it.

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  Reply # 587386 27-Feb-2012 14:11 Send private message

gzt:
keewee01: If the electrician is just another trades person to him then probably not - in this day and age if you ask a trades person for information or help and they go away to research it then expect to be billed.

Really? For example?

Personally I think the example given is shocking behavior. I would refuse to pay it. If the customer knew he was going to be charged then he would have asked someone else.


Think about it. If you were a trades person and a customer was asking you all sorts of questions about something, wanting an answer, are you going to go and spend time researching it without payment!?  That's why I said it would depend on how well the trades person was known to the client. To think that a trades person you've never met before is going to go away and spend time researching something for you for free is naive!

If it was someone you knew well, then quite possibly it would be for free.

We also don't know all the facts around this, and what might have been said or not said. We don't know the relationships beyond client and trades person. We're only hearing from someone who is telling us second hand.

With what we know so far, I can't say I find it shocking behavior as you do. Yes, the trades person should have mentioned that it would cost. But, if the trades person wasn't well known to the client, then it should have been expected you'd probably have to pay for the services rendered.

ETA - and do we know for fact that "Security Freeview   $35.00    " is definitely for the research and not simply a mistake on the bill?...

gzt

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  Reply # 587467 27-Feb-2012 17:15 Send private message

Well, we both agree the tradesperson should have stated a cost or advised the time to google it and call back would incur a charge.

It is important to query the bill and find out exactly what is being charged for, I agree. It could well be an error.

I agree, we don't know the context. For example, if the tradesperson's business also includes antenna installation and TV setup then it would be very unreasonable to charge for something a client would reasonably expect the tradesperson to know being in that business.



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  Reply # 587489 27-Feb-2012 18:51 Send private message

The term "Security Freeview" only pertained to the query about Triangle TV.
All other items pertaining to the security lights were individually billed. The Electrician was there solely for the
security lights and the question about the availability of Triangle TV was just conversation.
However, it was the same Electrical Company that had installed the freeview and Ariel a year earlier, just a
different Electrician. The old fellow was not told there would be a fee up front for this "looking it up on the Internet"
had he known that, he would have simply had a go at typing that into his Laptop or ask me to do it.

I also can now report that the old fellow will now question the paying of this extra charge, as he has now asked the
Electrician to come and be paid in person. Of course he will pay in full, old people are like that, but he will also have
the satisfaction of displaying that he is an unhappy customer.

Also there is no research to find if Triangle TV is available across New Zealand, on Triangles Home Page it states that it is only available around Auckland.

Thanks for your interest folks.

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  Reply # 587500 27-Feb-2012 19:08

If Mr 81 has an internet connection and some spare data quota, Triangle is streamed live online.



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  Reply # 587663 28-Feb-2012 04:55 Send private message

Thanks for that further info Bung, this is helpful and I will pass it onto the old boy and bill him $40.00 and give you half *sly grin*

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  Reply # 587667 28-Feb-2012 07:01 Send private message

'security freeview' - what does it mean?







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Master Geek
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  Reply # 587672 28-Feb-2012 08:21 Send private message

The term "Security Freeview" has apparently no particular meaning, apart from referring to $35.00 for looking
up said information about the availability of Triangle TV. However "Security Freeview" may very well be a term used to show the difficulty of this task ... "looking it up on the Internet" Hope that makers sense.

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