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11 posts

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Topic # 185186 12-Nov-2015 22:01
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Hi All

A mate of mind got a product from the USA and understood that it was setup 110v system, so he thought that using an 240v-110v with the appropriate adapter was going to work with the product when he got it the country. He found out the product needed an earth to function in the correct manor after speaking with the supplier in the USA and with this in mind he then approach the external electrical that comes into his work about the earth issue.

When talking to the Electrician at work he asked if there was a solution to this issue and the electrician said that it might be able to be replace the transformer in it for it to work, so he took the item to get a cost to do the work if it was possible.

They then came back advising that it could be done and provided a cost to do the conversion, my understanding is that he paid money direct to the electrician and then conversion was approved to done. What happened next is this external supplier somehow didn't do the job correctly and the unit has been damaged from the work they have done.

The electrician called and explained this, which was great. The bug is that he hasn't got the item back, hasn't been offered the money back and the electrician is saying they can't do anything as they didn't own the item and suggesting that my mates issue is with the electricians external supplier. And after may communications between them it’s gotten no were and now they are now suggesting that he’s unlikely to get anywhere if he was to proceed in small claims court (I feel they are trying to put him off ).

This morning when driving to work this thought popped into my mind (because before this I was thinking this was a business to business transaction being perform with his work paying for the work to be done and him fixing work up, which it hasn’t been) and I think because it's between my mate and the electrician and not the external supplier, and so then i wonder if this has a chance to fall under the consumer guarantees act?

I am not going to hold anyone to anything here (meaning legally of course! just seeking another opinion), so let me know what you think? Am I on the right track? or is there another way to approach this?


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738 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 236

  Reply # 1427275 12-Nov-2015 22:46
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That is a very confusing/badly defined description of your problem.

No one will understand what you are talking about, unless you simplify it.

Eliminate everything except the facts you can support.

I wouldn't think you have a case IMO.

But, I am not a lawyer.

Get a real opinion.


9814 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1427276 12-Nov-2015 22:47
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Start by beginning a discussion with the external supplier and see what comes out of that.

Call directly or visit.

1844 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1427281 12-Nov-2015 22:54
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I think a large part of this will hinge on whether the friend actually engaged the company to do the work, or a "mate" who just happened to be an employee of the company.

The rest will depend in the verbal agreement that was reached between the two parties.

Location: Dunedin


1798 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1427287 12-Nov-2015 23:07
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The CGA only applies to "consumer" transactions, which are transactions that are "services of a kind ordinarily acquired for personal, domestic, or household use or consumption". I'm not sure that complicated electrical manufacturing would fall under this. Rewiring a plug might. 

In any event, I suspect the comeback would be against the supplier/technician who did it, not the guy who was just trying to help out by dropping it off (though there might be more to it than that?).

There might be an oral contract in there somewhere, but it would be pretty difficult to prove.

What sort of money are you talking? If it's only a couple of hundred, small claims is probably more trouble than it's worth.

3583 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1427290 12-Nov-2015 23:08
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I think this is covered by the CGA.   Your friend contracted a professional to make a 230v->110v stepdown transformer (or something like that). Regardless of whether the electrician was doing the work under his company/employers name or under his own name, he is providing a service to a consumer in a professional capacity.


The electrician stuffed it up (most likely but you cannot be 100% sure), so in my view I'd say your friend is covered by the CGA. But , just my opinion maybe i'm wrong. 

The electrician should have liability insurance so there should be no issue right? 

He pays out, the insurance pays out, all good. 

Messy though. 

Call citizens advice, or contact consumer mag who give advice. 

2963 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1427295 12-Nov-2015 23:29
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surfisup1000: Your friend contracted a professional to make a 230v->110v stepdown transformer (or something like that).

Which is not a service of a personal or domestic nature ordinarily performed for a consumer. CGA may not apply. In which case you fall back on FTA and SGA instead, which changes the colour and location of the bar a bit.

6397 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1427298 12-Nov-2015 23:58
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What was the item?
I'm kind of thinking about a $2.99 stick blender from Amazon on one hand, and a $20,000 custom hand-wired guitar amp on the other.
A little technical business I get involved with, we get asked to some stuff.  Out of the goodness of our hearts, sometimes we feel like we could help with >90% probability we'd be heroes.  The 10% chance that it would bite us in the bum, we wouldn't get paid, then the person we tried to do a favour for would sue us through DT/CGA and post about what ratbags we were on social media. For that reason, we say "sorry - can't do".  Shame really.

4283 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1427345 13-Nov-2015 08:37
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Very confusing OP.

Can't you just say what the item was? Was it originally a 110v Item, and they also purchased a Step-Down transformer?

I don't understand why the item needs Earthing? Most US appliances have no earth pin do they (I thought US plugs were two pin only?). Step down transformers may not provide clean enough power for this mystery item, and that could have damaged it? for example, I buggered the charger for my electric toothbrush by plugging it into a cheap 12v Inverter last year on holiday. I can't go at the seller/manufacturer of the inverter - I did it, I cop it.

2694 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1429304 17-Nov-2015 01:23
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Alot of US items need earthing. And yes there are US earthed power sockets. Also Jaycar sell stepdown transformers with earthed sockets. But what is the device? As some devices won't work properly on the 50Hz mains frequency in nz. They need the US 60Hz. Main examples are devices with motors and non switchmode stepdown transformers. The lower frequency causes them to overheat.

1235 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1429670 17-Nov-2015 14:09
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As I read it:

1. Person imported 110v device
2. Person [after convoluted path] contracts local business to swap out the 110v primary (input voltage) transformer inside the device with a 240v primary transformer that has the appropriate same secondary (output voltage)
3. Reading between the lines, local business' supplier sends local business a transformer with incorrect secondary
4. Local business installs incorrect transformer without checking it is correct, powers device on, and magic smoke escapes

If that is right, your dispute is with local business, and you should take this to the disputes tribunal if it is worth it to you, you would almost certainly win causing the local business to repair the device or pay for it's replacement.  If the local business chases their supplier for costs is up to them.

James Sleeman
I sell lots of stuff for electronic enthusiasts...

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  Reply # 1429892 17-Nov-2015 19:36
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Thanks all for your replies, my apologies if my way of trying to explain the issue it did come out clear, guess I was trying to put to much into in it.

What has happened since my post, is that my mate went to the local community law and has been advise his dispute is with the company that did the work (not the in between person). Also they have also suggest small claims court, so he has a decision to make on this.

561 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1430429 18-Nov-2015 14:49
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" What happened next is this external supplier somehow didn't do the job correctly and the unit has been damaged from the work they have done."

He could try the Disputes Tribunal. It's not a CGA thing.

5061 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1430615 18-Nov-2015 20:01
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Having done things like this in the past, am I to understand:

- you / whoever gave the electrician the item
-  the electrician passed it to a 3rd-party
- 3rd party (says) it's damaged - too bad.
- You / whoever have NOT got the (supposedly damaged) item back?

Why would you not get the item back? It's yours.

I can't see any justification for not returning the item - working or not. 

....unless they liked it and decided to keep it. (That's theft)

Write them a letter demanding the item be returned or you're calling the police to investigate a theft. 

I'm on a high fibre diet. 


High fibre diet


9814 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1430744 18-Nov-2015 22:32
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Just head to the DT that is where it will end up anyway CGA or not. If they settle before the case comes up that is good.

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