Jun 28

Glad I don’t live in Australia.

We visited Sydney last week, for a bit of R&R and shopping. As you do. Now I do really love being able to “pop across the Tasman” occasionally for a change of scenery, a bit of a break and a massive range of shopping experiences that we simply don’t have in NZ. But every time I go there, I am reminded why NZ is the place I live, and not Australia.

This time it was seeing armed police at a pedestrian crossing in the Pitt St mall, which just seems so wrong to my English / NZ eyes

But the one thing that really shocked me on this trip was something I read in the papers – about people’s bank accounts being stolen by the government. It transpires that the previous government had enacted legislation to reduce the time before an account is deemed inactive, from seven years to three. Now apparently this was done with the “intention” of ensuring that the savings in the account were not eroded by bank fees. Apparently – it would be so much fairer to the owner of the money to just steal the whole damn lot that have them lose a few buck each months!

What I cannot understand is how come there seems to be know efforts made to check with the account holder that they are a/ alive and b/ really, really wanting to keep their money, before it gets nicked by the government.

And while people can claim back the money the government just stole off them – it is apparently an arduous process requiring that you prove you really did own that money, and you really would rather like it back thanks, and it can take many months. During which time the government is sitting on YOUR money and you have to manage without.

HOW THE HELL DID THIS HAPPEN?

And why – since there has been a change in government – has the law not been immediately ditched?

That would probably be because the new rule has netted the government about $360,000,000 in the first year = which is as much as they pulled in from defunct bank accounts in the previous 50 years! (Ive seen varying numbers for this – but all sources seem to agree that the amount for the first year equals the total of all previous years combined).

The pain this is causing people should not be underestimated. I personally think this type of law is so utterly repugnant that governments simply should not be allowed to pass them – ever. Stealing money from people’s bank accounts just because you want to and because you are the government and can enact legislation to do so is so far from being acceptable I actually struggle to comprehend it!

I’m mean seriously – why stop there? -Why not make it legal for the IRD to just bash you over the head and take cash from your wallet?? You clearly didn’t need it because if you did – you would have spent it already!

So – if you do move to Australia – whether for the warmer weather, the shopping or the higher wages – just make sure you don’t leave money sitting in an account for 3 years – because you will lose to a government that has a legal right to steal it from you.

(As an aside – apparently the UK rules that 15 years makes an account “dormant” at which time the government may be able to filch it, in NZ its between 6 and 25 years depending on the account. So the Australian government really are being a bunch of thieving bastards here!)

 

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Jun 27

Would you cheat the Immigration system???

To be clear – the answer should be “NO”.

But obviously plenty of people will, and a story that came out this week was quite disturbing to be honest. Given that the Adult Sibling category has been closed down (meaning that under current rules I would not be able to bring my Brother to NZ), people are apprently adopting thier neices and nephews to bring them in as family, and then having the adopted child apply to bring thier biological parents in later.

A 48-year-old Tongan mother, who adopted her 11-year-old niece, said she was hoping it would be “a first step” to get her only sister to New Zealand after their mother died.

“We are hoping that when the girl becomes an adult, she will be able to sponsor my sister who is her biological birth mother here,” said the woman, who spoke to the Herald on the condition of anonymity.

Ok, so accepting the “It’s alright for me” principle because I was able to sponsor my brother and so am not in the position of having to make a choice between life in NZ and my family – I feel that “adopting” a child just so that the child can later sponsor their parent (who just allowed them to be adopted out) who just happens to be your sibling, is pretty distasteful.

The policy was changed more than two years ago and there is a backlog …” Green Party immigration spokeswoman Jan Logie said the decision to close the category was a “rushed policy decision” and the Government did not fully assess its implications.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said yesterday there were no plans to reintroduce the category. “… adults make a choice to move to this country … [they] should not have an expectation that their adult siblings or adult children can join them if they do not already qualify under existing visa settings.”

Well, Ok – NZ has every right to be demanding of its Immigrants, and does have the right to choose who it wants and who it doesn’t – but you will lose good immigrants because of the policy. We would simply not have stayed long term under the current rules – but stayed long enough to get citizenship then buggered off again. (Although I’m sure there are plenty of people who would have liked me to do that!)

And given that our Prime Minister – and Mr Woodhouse’s boss has recently complained that under a proposed Labour Policy to cut immigration to NZ that he and his wife would not have been allowed to emigrate - let’s just put this down to rampant stupidity..

Prime Minister John Key says that under Labour’s proposed immigration policy, he and his wife would not be in New Zealand.

Key’s parents were from Austria and Britain and wife Bronagh’s parents were Irish.

“Under David Cunliffe, I wouldn’t be here and Bronagh wouldn’t be here,” Key said.

“Well, some people would rejoice about that, but there might be other people who don’t.”

Chortle… Anyway – I digress…

Tuariki Delamere, an immigration adviser and former immigration minister, described the practice as a scam.

“They adopt their nephews and nieces to give them a better life and free education comes with it.”

Parents who applied for residency for their children under the dependent child category need not indicate if the child was adopted, so Immigration could not say how widespread the practice was.

I cannot believe it! I actually agree with Mr Delamere!!! It is a scam, and I do feel that if the child is given up for adoption – for the sole purpose of scamming the system, then they should be barred from sponsoring the parent who gave them up. I think its disgusting. And while the child might not be listed as adopted – hopefully the updated INZ computer system will be able to match the child now as somehow having 2 sets of parents later on.

This reminds of an earlier case where a family appear to have deliberately left their daughter off their residency application because she has a congenital heart condition, and their application would likely have been denied. Now, having been denied residency in her own right (as she still doesn’t qualify under health grounds) and having overstayed previous temporary visas, the family have complained to the media that their daughter couldn’t now get a visitors visa and was getting sicker and that INZ were splitting their family up.

Now its tragic – I wouldn’t wish ill health on anyone, and I cannot imagine the difficulty of having to face that kind of illness in your child. But I also cannot comprehend the kind of parent who denies the existence of that child just so they can get residence in NZ because the child would prevent the parents getting something they want.

No matter how much I may have wanted to emigrate to NZ – I would NEVER disown (even on paper) a member of my family to do so.

 

 

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Jun 25

Update (finally) on Richard Martin Immigration

Well, that took long enough – but Richard Martin has finnaly been in court and pled guilty to 93 charges relating to giving immigration advice while not licenced and not exempt. He used to be a lawyer, but was not at the time, and therefore should have been licenced.

 

A former lawyer has pleaded guilty to 93 charges related to legal advice on immigration.

The charges included providing immigration advice when neither licensed nor exempt, forgery and supplying false or misleading information to an immigration officer.

Richard James Martin had previously surrendered his practising certificate, so was therefore unlicensed to provide services.

The Auckland District Court was told on Monday that between May 2009 and September 2010, Martin provided advice to 10 families, forged lawyers’ signatures and used licensed immigration advisers employed by his company to sign off visa applications of clients they had never met.

Hmmm. So who exactly were the licensed advisers who were signing applications for people they never met and have they had their licenses revoked????

How can they keep their  licenses when they were prepared to sign paperwork for clients they didnt know -  something which is clearly unethical?

And if we arent told their names – how are potential migrants supposed to know that these agents acted unethically and should not be used?

Back in August 2013, many months after charges were first laid, Richard Martin Immigration was advertising for licensed agents. Look like he may have found some. But it begs the question who on earth would ever have worked for the guy knowing that he was due in court on immigration charges????

Honestly – this entire situation with immigration advice in New Zealand beggars belief!!!

And annoyingly, you don’t seem to able to search the IAA database for the Richard Martin company to find out who the licensed agents were who chose to work for him. Not really good enough is it?

 

 

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May 05

Migrant Banking in New Zealand

Comment from Rich:

hello… i was scanning your blog but didn’t seem to see much on immigrant banking – i.e. what is your recommendation for the bank with the most immigrant friendly policies/offerings? and your general advise on that. i’m presuming it won’t be easy for an immigrant to get a car or house loan immediately, for example… thanks for all the valuable insight. we are one step closer, but not there yet!

 Ok, so at the end of the day the best Migrant bank will be the best non-migrant bank. Now obviously this is a matter of opinion, even if there was a body that claimed to have voted one as better than the other, I take that sort of thing with a pinch of salt.

ANZ put a lot of advertising up in their branches about how good they are for migrant banking, but as those adverts all appear to be in Chinese, I find it a bit insulting: both that “Migrant” seems to equate to “Asian” as far as they are concerned, and also that non chinese migrants aren’t worthy of their advertising efforts.

But I guess this comes down to for me at least – the fact that I personally bank with ASB, ANZ and Westpac, and have found over the years that ASB far outstrips the others. By miles.

I have had 3 personal managers at ASB since I came here, and when they have moved on and changed, I have been introduced to the new manager, invited in for a chat, and have had a great relationship with all of them. I have lost count of how many people have come and gone at both ANZ and Westpac, and I only ever find out when I try and email the old one to find out I’m 2 managers behind!

A case in point on the differences last week:  I am rearranging and re fixing mortgages – an extremely painful event at the moment. On Monday I emailed ASB, ANZ and Westpac. By Tuesday morning I had all the refixing taken care of at ASB, with nice discounts of around 0.5% offered on everything, plus a couple of extra items sorting out that were due to come up for renewal in the next few months, and some standing orders altered while we were at it.

By Tuesday evening I had an email from Westpac with the rates, and an offer to confirm those rates once I chose which I preferred and it went to the Loans team. (It’s still with them by the way, so that isn’t sorted yet).

On Tuesday evening I also got an email from ANZ – asking how long I wanted the rates for. I mean – “Please could you let me have some fixed rates options” wasn’t enough, I had to actually email the manager back and lay it out: 6 months, 1 year, 18 months, 2 years, 3 years, 5 years. It took another 24 hours to be told the standard rates I had already looked up on the internet and be offered a pathetic 0.1% discount on any of them. Why they couldn’t have told me that in the first email I have no idea. But hey – ANZ have made record profits – yet again, so I guess I should be lucky that they can afford to offer a paltry 0.1% discount. In fact, as long as I have been here – ANZ seem to be unable to get past 0.1% as a discount. Which wouldn’t still be insulting – but given that – I really don’t see why it takes the staff 3 bleeding days to tell me that – not when ASB are getting the whole shebang and more sorted out in less than 24 hours!

Also, the Westpac and ANZ online banking systems are awful. ASB is pretty brilliant – with the proviso that ASB have a stupid security system called Netcode which they charge for. I feel any bank that charges for its online security should hang its head in shame.  It should never be an optional extra!

As for loans and mortgages – that depends more on your visa than the bank to be honest. It has always been the case that if you have residency, you are treated as any Kiwi, and as long as you meet the bank’s lending criteria (Stable income, ability to pay, debts at a reasonable level) then you are fine. On a Work visa you would probably be required to stump up more of a deposit.

Be aware though that recent changes made by the Reserve Bank mean that you may well need a bigger deposit than previously – even with residence. The banks are required to limit the number of High Risk loans (I.e. to people with less than a 20% deposit for a mortgage), although at the moment the adverts for “low or no deposit” lending are on the up.

I realise that doesn’t exactly answer the question, but my overall experience is that most banks will make a fuss over you when you arrive, and they want your business. The test is how they treat you once they have you as a customer, and in my own case, ASB is the only one that has treated me as if they value my custom. As a result, they have earned a LOT of my business and they really are the only ones I would recommend.

I hope that helps – and I sincerely apologise for mot responding sooner – Ive been away on holiday!

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Feb 28

Do you know how much your coffee costs?

over the past several months, I have noticed that my Flat Whites have been getting more expensive. A Lot more expensive. In fact, the result of this has been that I actually don’t have coffee out in a cafe very much these days.

faintRather than increase my coffee budget to take into account the price increases, I just end up going out for coffee less – especially now I’m back in the Wop Wops and “going out for a coffee” requires a 30 minute round trip drive as well. I also decided that I really didn’t want to go to cafes that charge $4 for a tulip cup.

So in the end I have been frequenting the Columbus Coffee shop at Mitre 10 Mega in Masterton – especially since I seem to live in Mitre 10 Mega Masterton at the moment! I love the coffee, and I get my Flat White in a decent sized cup. And Ive been in there more than normal for a few weeks because I have to tidy up one of my rentals. Again. And frankly, as I am sick to death of cleaning up after people too lazy to clean up after themselves, large amounts of coffee were requires.

Here’s the thing – I am still getting charged $4.60 for a Flat White – $4 for the coffee and 60c extra for the decaf. 2 years ago that would have cost me $3.50 – $4 at the most.

And I got to wondering – do people actually know what their coffee is costing? Often, our bill is for 2 drinks – one for me, one for hubby, who will sometimes have a cake. And while i always get the eftpos receipt – I don’t often get the till receipt for something like that. So do people actually ever see the cost of their coffee? Especially people who use these “pay and go” swipe cards?

A few months ago I had breakfast at Sierra Cafe in Wellington. When I got home and was putting the receipt through the accounts, I realised I had been charged a whopping $5.80 for my Americano- which is basically the cheapest espresso coffee anyway: $4 for the coffee, 90c for decaf, and 90c for about 10ml of cream !

EekI have never been back to Sierra Cafe.

And to be perfectly honest – I really don’t see why I have to pay extra for Decaf! When I buy it for home its never more expensive – so if cafes are genuinely being charged that much more for their decaf – and I sincerely doubt it – maybe they need  get a different supplier!

SO my home coffee machine gets a fair amount of use these days!

coffee

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Feb 27

Even licenced advisers don’t think much of the IAA.

This was a comment left on an old post from 2011.Because of the length of the comment – and my response, it was easier and clearer to re post the whole thing separately.

DONT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ!

Dont hate me – I am a Licensed Immigration Adviser. I have 18 years experience, began in law firms, have been studying law at Canterbury University, have a solid reputation with no complaints against me and yet – based on the self directed bias of the Tribunal Chair of the Immigration Adviser Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal (IACDT) – I would be described as one who got into the industry because of the “very low entry threshold.”

The responsibility for the notoriety given to Licensed Advisers lies with three parties.The IAA who licence Advisers.; the IACDT who discipline Advisers and the small proportion of Shonky Practitioners who are allowed to practice because the IAA licensed them! The outgoing Registrar admitted that he didnt really know how to assess our competence so he concentrated on business administration aspects! The IAA has therefore allowed a percentage of incompetents to be licensed. However, we should’nt all be condemned. The IAA licensing regime is a complete “botch job.” Where is the protection of migrants? How about ensuring that it is a requirement for employers of licensed Advisers themselves to be licensed? Cureently the company that employs an Adviser, sets all the fees, controls the funds etc etc is completely free from any action by the IAA. In these cases, innocent Advisers who have no control over those issues are being persecuted by the IAA and IACDT, because they cant go after anyone else! The Adviser loses their licence, job and livelihood and the employer hires someone else!

Wow – you have changed your tune considerably since March 2010! Good on you! However, With all due respect Ms Shadforth, this is what I have been saying ever since you got your licensing system in place, and I have faced bitchy  and snotty comments from you as well as other advisers because of it. So while it is nice that you have finally woken up to the reality of the situation, I find your “blame everyone else” stance to be frankly laughable. The fact that the threshold was laughably low (ie non existent) is not news, and it’s not just the IACDT who have said it. The Notoriety of Immigration advisers is nothing to do with the IAA, the IACDT or a couple of shonky advisers. It is because over many, many years (pre and post licensing) immigrants talk to each other about their experiences, and most experiences with agents are that they are frankly a waste of money and not very good. Licensing didn’t change that very much, it just cut down the number of agents and seems to have given some of you an over inflated sense of grandeur to be honest.

 Innocent Advisers??? You are the ones with the license, and you are the ones wholly responsible for the work you do with it.  You want to be a profession – well – act like one for crying out loud. No employer could or would ever dictate to me what actions I took while practicing as a Pharmacist because it’s my Certificate, and my responsibility (legally and ethically) to act within the law, no matter who I work for. And If I failed in those obligations, then I lose my professional membership and get struck off.  The fact is you are not a profession, and no amount of licensing or course work is going to change that.

(I note after your comments on Mr Bell that he has done the course and says that a 6 months course is a Level 7 NCEA equivalent – ie a Bachelor’s degree level. As someone with an actual Bachelors degrees – I am offended!)

This exact scenario happened in the middle of 2013, when a Christchurch Adviser was found to have charged excessive fees (charged by the EMPLOYER). The IACDT called her “dishonest” and a “liar.” The Tribunal claimed she deceived clients by dishonestly claiming the fees were in line with industry standards and that she did so for her own financial gain.

What the Tribunal didnt say was the the Adviser provided proof that the IAA had endorsed the fees as within industry standards! The Tribunal didnt say that shw was paid a SALARY so there was no financial gain! The Tribunal described the Adviser as having entered the profession under the very low thresholds, because she did not undertake a 6 month online Polytech course which the IACDT hold out to be the Holy Grail. The Tribunal did not ask what her qualifications were – had it done so it would have learned that she holds a BA (hons) in Law and Psychology!

I can’t find a current published list of fees at the IAA – there’s a shock, they seem to have hidden it from potential immigrants, but there was a published list in January 2011 that I blogged about. Looking at the IACDT file Geldenhuys Vs Yap, the fees quoted while staggering and ridiculous do in fact come in at less than the Maximum quoted back then. Which isn’t saying that much to be honest.

And frankly – the fact that someone has a degree in Law and Psychology is not actually relevant to whether or not they should have been given a license. I have a degree in pharmacy – hand me an immigration license please? I assume that would be met with a big fat “sod off”. I don’t for one minute really think that applies in this case, my reading of this situation is that all Ms Yap is really “guilty” of, is working for a company that took advantage of her license and  not fully understanding her responsibilities in taking care of who she worked for. At  the end of the day The Migrant Bureau is only able to operate and charge outrageous fees because it has licensed agents willing to give them their names and licenses. At the end of the day it was 100% Ms Yaps responsibility to be aware of her obligations and she chose to work for a company that clearly has issues with its fees and charging policy.

The Adviser was named, shamed, labelled a liar, who dishonestly exploited clients. This was published repeatedly on news media, blogs and social networks. This Adviser is a married woman with a teenage daughter – who have now all been scarred by the LIES and INCOMPETENCE of the IACDT.

The story as reported in The Press in July 2013 can be seen here. I didn’t blog about it, and actually this is the first I’ve heard of it. The fact that Ms Yap is married and has a teenage daughter is of no relevance whatsoever. Married Mothers actually do break the law sometimes.

IACDT Files here:

I can say this because the Adviser CHRISTINE YAP was found by the District Court to not have been dishonest and to not have been responsible for the issues!!! CHRISTINE YAP is innocent but will forever be damned by the IAA and IACDT incompetence.

Again – I suggest you follow the proper channels and take this up with the IAA –there is absolutely nothing I can do about this, and this is not the channel to use. If the IAA are doing as you claim, and they are refusing your attempts to rectify the issue – then I suggest you contact Lincoln Tan at the NZ Herald who writes on Immigration issues, and I am sure would be happy to help publicise the issues you raise. And preferably do it without SHOUTING at him ;)

However, as regards your assertion that it is all the employers fault – I respectfully disagree.  Ms Yap is responsible for her place of work, and it is up to her (any of you) to ensure that you re comfortable working for an employer that engages in standards that meet your own – including the fee structure (Mr Macleod was being quoted £479 (yes that’s £ – which is currently about $958) an hour for an ad hoc consultancy rate. I mean – really???? My very expensive Senior Associate Lawyer only costs me $350 an hour!!! ).  [Yells at Hubby]: You’re in the wrong job Hunny!

Some of the fees quoted in the files are eyewatering!  $1950 just to sign on as a client??? Are you kidding me??? In what universe do you think that is any way acceptable??? Why on earth would any of you charge that – or work for a company that charged it??? The mind boggles – it really does! (You don’t happen to be in the market for a set of pans do you?)

Here’s how it works: you do work – you charge the client for work. If you want some of the money up front, you ask for it, but for the work you are going to actually do – not for some trumped up “sign on fee” which you are then oh so kindly going to credit as a “complimentary credit” to later work.  The fact that the IAA did or did not sign off on this has stuff all to do with the fact that’s frankly disgusting, and any adviser charging such a fee should be ashamed of themselves.

It’s not always easy – I’ve walked away from my share of Jobs over such issues – because at the end of the day the buck stops with the Licensed person.  Hubby has also had to walk away from some contracts because he is not comfortable with the charge levels, the company, or aspects of the contract and will not put his name, his reputation or his qualifications to it. You don’t get to sit there with a license claiming that you’re better than someone else and then say “nowt to do with me mate” when it all turns to custard. Quite simply – you need to get your head around this and grow up and be the professional you claim to be.

The case against Ms Yap by Mr Macleod, the IACDT states:

The minute observed that it is not possible for a company to hold a licence, and the Code of Conduct makes it clear that it is necessary for a licensed immigration adviser to be identified, and hold written authority from a client (clause 2.1(h) of the Code). The Code does not leave open the possibility of a licensed immigration adviser providing professional services without personally holding a written record of their authority from the client. That was important, as licensed immigration advisers are personally responsible for dealing with client funds, fees, and all professional obligations under the Code of Conduct. They cannot avoid personal responsibility for these matters by pointing to an employer or other party. Accordingly, Ms Yap should have been in a position where she had control of these issues, and ensured that if she was to conduct her practice in association with Oceania, that the company respected and preserved her professional control over all material financial and professional matters in relation to clients.

And no – I actually hadn’t seen that before I wrote what I thought!

Having been shamed in the District Court Judge who turned to counsel for the IAA and said ” You have been charged with defending the indefensible”, the IAA is now trying to save face by appealing to the High Court. Their argument is that it wasn’t fair that the District Court Judge said the Tribunal was “plainly wrong” because he should not have been able to investigate that far!

How much is an innocent person expected to invest in clearing their name? $16K so far only $20K to go.

Do you have links or a transcript to back that up?

The answer is I don’t know – how much are potential emigrants supposed to be scammed by immigration agents who charge thousands for a bit of form filling, or even $1950 just for the privilege of becoming a client? While I do understand that if Ms Yap is actually innocent, then she should fight that all the way,  I hope her reasoning is a bit better than “it’s all my bosses fault” to be honest. It’s a pity that the migrants scammed out of equally serious sums of money by licensed agents who were fined by the IAA and told to make reparations won’t see a cent of it.

I suggest however that if you want to help, a better way of doing so, than coming on here and leaving a comment on post that has nothing to do with what you want to rant about,  would be to set up some sort of Legal Fighting fund to help Ms Yap out. I did exactly that for a fellow migrant when faced with similarly high costs for action bought against him by Sanitarium. However – let me be clear – while I blogged at length on the issue (and received a great deal of vile abuse from some kiwis for doing so)– I did so on my own blog,  and promoted the fund on my own blog. You should do the same. Especially if other agents feel the same way – you need to stand together.

The IAA and the IACDT need to be accountable for the unlawful manner in which they have and are operating. The IAA flip flop over instructions to Advisers. I was told by the IAA Registrar that I HAD to make my fees non refundable!! Protecting migrants my Ar..!

We do at least agree on one thing – the IAA is a waste of space. It’s a pity you only seem to have developed this new understanding now that it has gone after a friend of yours. You were no where to be seen on here when it was Migrants being let down and fobbed off by a  useless IAA who still claim that by using someone with a license they will be able to get their money back. In fact you were highly unpleasant about me and to me when I was saying these same things back in 2010. As you say – protecting Migrants – My Arse. They never have and as I have pointed out many times – they never will.  All the IALA ever did was cut competition in the industry and criminalise migrants. So please forgive me if I do not wear my sympathy hat today.

Professional Advisers have made representations to the IAA, and government for years over these problems. Finally a complete review of the IAA is underway and the previous Registrar is gone. However if they still refuse to listen to those professionals in the industry who want to be RECOGNISED as professionals, there will not be any improvement.

Jay Shadforth
Licensed Immigration Adviser (200800094)

Oh Puleese!Thhbt

The IAA also refused to listen to the migrants it was supposed to be protecting – and turned us into criminals overnight – with not a jot of sympathy or understanding from you, so please cut the crap as they say.  Sorry – but it is up to you Advisers to improve. Why should anyone recognise you as a professionals if you refuse to behave like professionals? Seriously stop SHOUTING! (I know I do it on the blog – but hey – it’s a blog, and I am not sitting here making out that I am a professional when I’m blogging.)  I also would never slink off to write such comments on other people’s websites when I was not prepared to put them on my own. Once again you are being frankly underhand. If you have a problem with the way the IAA, IACDT or other agents behave – say it on your own website. I find it quite offensive that you think you can come on here and use my website to spout off on when you don’t have the guts to do it on your own.

I have also made representations to the government and the IAA.  So frankly if your nose is out of joint for being ignored – get in line. You too poured scorn on me for doing so, although you clearly seem to have forgotten your snotty and condescending attitude now that the shoe is on the other foot.

So no, Ms Shadforth, I certainly don’t hate you! But I have to be honest – I really don’t think very highly of you either.

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Feb 22

That wasn’t what I meant Mr Sparky

Hot on the heels of my comment yesterday about the Mobile Phone Companies:

 Anyway – I do hope my tale of crapness has brought a little amusement to your day. Unless you work at Vodafone, 2 Degrees or Telecom – in which case grow up for crying out loud and stop trying to beat each other at being the crappest bunch of crapsters known to man. Or woman. Cos – ya know – we do actually count!

Well, at least we know Telecom doesn’t read the blog!

Yesterday, it hit the news that Telecom’s latest “improvement” courtesy of it’s new CEO (Presumably trying to justify his job), is that – wait for it …

They are going to rebrand.

To Spark.

Which apparently is the name of the silly squiggle logo they came up with a few years ago.

telecom logoI think it’s more of a SPLAT – but there you go – what do I know? I guess you have to pay $20,000,000 to get someone smart enough to realise it was a Spark not a SPLAT.

Apparently – they want to move away from Landlines – perhaps thats why they want to screw us out of $65? Its not actually for anything – it’s supposed to put us off opening an account with them. Apparently “it’s all about digital services: the “cloud”, “data” (Pronounced Darta of course), apps and the amazing stuff this does..”

As long as you don’t want to pay your bill online or decide for yourself where you want to shop with us. Maybe thats just too boring and not “sparky” enough for the CEO?

I couldn’t finish listening to his waffle, so no idea about the rest of it. I’m sure it was fun and groovy and with it though.

And the IT business will be re-branded from Gen-I (which split off from Telecom ages ago), will now be rebranded Spark Digital Solutions. No comment.

 

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Feb 21

Crap, Crapper and Crapest: Part 3 – Back to Telecom…

Hubby happened to be working near the new flash Telecom store in Wellington, so popped in a spare few seconds and had a chat about this weird “ we need your husbands permission to speak to you” crap. Nope – on a joint business account they are more than happy to treat me like a human being. So we chat and decide on the account we want – which is now a similar price to 2 Degrees, with more free minutes included in the base price. So all good.

Then it goes Tits Up.

First problem is that when Hubby went in to sign up he and went through all the details required, including the name of account (a business name), and having to do it twice because the guy hit the wrong button and lost all the information – it was only then that he was told – opps sorry – that’s a business account – we can’t open that here you have to go to the business hub.

Great – that’s half an hour of work he just missed.

Next was that the Business Hub was over the other side of town, so it was actually another 2 days before he had time to go. When he got there, he was told that they couldn’t open the account because we live in the Wairarapa – not Wellington and its another franchise that has the “right” to deal with us.

I’m sorry – let’s get this straight. YOU will determine where WE have the RIGHT to shop because YOU decide that what we will do and when we will do it????

frownAre you for sodding real????

I guess the “I am seriously piised off ” look on Hubby’s face said it all. Evidently the fact that he works in wellington was enough of a fudge factor for the Franchise to ever so kindly allow us to open an account with a store of our choosing. Which was nice.

Now we already knew that in order for  me to have full access, Telecom need to sight my Drivers License. This is fine, and actually 2 Degrees had also had to do this – although in their case it seems to be been a total waste of time. Only of course I AM in the Wairarapa most of the time, and don’t have time to go to Wellington just at this point.  So at the weekend we popped into Masterton, and went into the Telecom store with my Drivers license, and the name of the person in Wellington who was looking after us.

Guess what – Masterton don’t want to deal with us, because we “belong” to Wellington.

confusedF.F.S.

There was the usual justification about franchises and bollocks like that – and he was “just trying to explain to us… Blah Blah Blah…” Listen mate – let me explain to YOU. I am trying to give Telecom Money and you are all being a bunch of twats making it difficult. I don’t give a bloody stuff about your bloody territory and pissing contests and the fact that for some reason you think that you have the bloody right to insist we only do business with you in a way that is convenient to you and your sodding franchise sodding agreement. I want you to look at my driver’s license – pick up a damn phone (you know what one of those is I take it) and use it to call wellington and tell them you have seen said license and OPEN MY  ******* ACCOUNT.

Mad

It says telecom logoon the door.

It does not say “Telecom but only for people who bought their phone in this shop – if you bought it elsewhere then we are not Telecom and you can piss off and bother someone else… because we won’t get the commission and you know – that matters.”

Good Bloody Grief.

Anyway…

That being done, phone picked up, photocopier used, grummpage at high levels, we leave.

Phones change over on Monday Morning, and low – we have Telecom Phones enabled.

Not only that – but we had a lovely surprise in that we actually found we have a good signal throughout the whole house, whereas on 2 Degrees you have to have your phone in one of 2 places in the house to get a signal. So – ya know – we figured well at least Telecom had something going for it. In the war of which telco is the most useless bag of excrement – we take what we can get.

Not having learned our lesson yet – we are actually so impressed with the fact that we can actually USE our mobiles at home for a change, we decide to look at swapping our home phone line to Telecom – which is currently still with Vodafone.

Why. Do. We. Bother?

Apparently we need to pay a $65 connection fee. WHY??? There’s nowt to do, all the “connections are there, we are changing companies not asking you to run a new wire down the bloody road.

They haven’t responded to that yet – so stuff it – we are actually still with Vodafone.

And then we get to today. When I decide to pay our first bill. I need to set up an online account (which is usual) and can do that using my phone number, and will now get the bills via email. All good. Then I try and find the online Credit Card payment system. And try again. I can’t find one. I can only find a “How to pay your bill” option but no “Pay your bill” option. I find this a bit silly. But ho hum – most websites are crap. Its only while actually reading the “How to Pay your bill” page hoping to find the magic “Pay Here “ button that I find this:

Currently, we can not process payments through our website but it is something we are working on.

We recommend Direct Debit, online, phone or mobile banking because they are convenient, hassle free and do not incur a surcharge.

smash computerOh. Dear. God.

I can pay by walking into the Post office with my bill though. Which is Nice. For the middle ages. Won’t cost me a “convenience fee” AKA the obnoxious Credit Card Surcharge Scam fee, but will require time effort and 15km drive. I can also set Telecom up as a Bill Payee at the bank, and use online baking to pay my bill. Which is no effort – but – colour me stupid – it should really be up to ME how I pay, and as ever – I should not be charged a fee  in order to do you the courtesy of paying you the money you want for a service that so far is as craptacular as all the alternative providers of crap.

So there we have it.

I really don’t know which is the worst of the bunch. I think I am going for they are equally pathetic and have no concept at all of just how utterly shite they all are at providing Mobile phones. Any phones come to that. or internet.

 Anyway – I do hope my tale of crapness has brought a little amusement to your day. Unless you work at Vodafone, 2 Degrees or Telecom – in which case grow up for crying out loud and stop trying to beat each other at being the crappest bunch of crapsters known to man. Or woman. Cos – ya know – we do actually count!

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Feb 20

Crap, Crapper, Crappest Part 2 – The 2 Degrees Years.

So, having had a gutsfull of Vodafail,  about 18 months ago we got offered a deal with 2 Degrees. Now these are the local Minnows of the Telco world – trying to take on the might of Telecom and Vodafone and significantly reduce the rip off charges we have to pay for the privilege. Although it’s worth noting that this came about because of a frankly ridiculous claim via the Waitangi Tribunal that the government of the time could not sell the 3G network as it was Taonga (essential a treasure).

In 1999, the New Zealand Government auctioned off 3G spectrum radio spectrum licence. Rangiaho Everton claimed that the auction breached the Treaty of Waitangi because she believed radio spectrum is taonga and the government has no right to sell it. Everton lodged a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal, which was upheld. It was not until Labour won the 1999 election that Māori were allocated one of the four 2 GHz 3G spectrum licences at a discounted price plus $5 million to develop it

For this reason I never really wanted to deal with the company; while I have a fair amount of patience for the Tribunal process and the righting of historic wrongs, things like this take the piss and make a mockery of the system, as well as causing a great deal of tension and frustration throughout the country. . However, one really good thing they did was stop the higher charges for calling between different accounts. You see Telecom and Vodafone both charged different rates depending on whether you were calling another of their customers, or a customer of their rival, and overall their prices were a helluva lot cheaper, but then they had a big discount in buying the licenses – but at least they passed it on. With 2 degrees, it didn’t matter who anyone’s carrier was, the call price was the same. It makes a huge difference. Of course it’s worth noting that 2 Degrees are also using infrastructure built and maintained by either Vodafone or Telecom, and have a tendency to whinge about having to pay Vodafone / Telecom for the privilege.

Anyway, we could also set up a Business account, with both phones on one bill. This was a significant improvement on our Vodafone account where we had a bill each.  And our first bill with 2 Degrees was about $30 less. So I was a happy bunny.

And that’s when it all started to go horribly wrong.

I actually cannot remember why I had to phone 2 Degrees, but it was probably something to do with paying the bill. Only they couldn’t talk to me. Without Hubby’s permission.

grrrrRed. Rag. Bull.

Now we have had this before.  It happens when the account is in his name, and I am trying to sort something out because – let’s be honest here – he earns money and is working , and I am not – so it’s a waste of his time and our money for him to prat around trying to sort out issues with bills. Which is clearly not something we considered when we set up the accounts. But it’s an easy fix – either we set up the account in my name, or I get added to the account as an authorised person. Which works really well until someone doesn’t read the file and offends me by telling me I’m not authorised when I am, or like ANZ tells me I not the account holder, my Husband is, when it is in fact my account.

Only in this case – it is a JOINT account. MY phone is on the account, its half MY bill and MY details are all on the account. So I do NOT need me husband’s permission to discuss the account. And I made this clear. And told the guy on the phone he was NOT to bother my husband. He went away and came back again and said that this was fine and he could deal with my query.

I did not find out until later that evening that the lying little shit had – behind my back and expressly against my wishes – phoned Hubby to check I was his wife and could access the account.

MadBoth of us were furious.

And as luck would have it – I was then asked by Colmar Brunton to fill in a survey about Mobile Phone companies.

So I did. At length.

blogging3

In this survey, I clearly laid out the issue, which I consider to be highly misogynistic and outdated. And in the section where it asked if I would like to be contacted about my comments, I expressly stated that they should do so, but ONLY if they called MY number, and did not call Hubby first to gain his “permission” because it would not be granted and I refuse to deal with such appalling and insulting behaviour.

So a couple of weeks later, while sitting in a café with my parents, I get a text from Hubby stating that 2 Degrees had called and as agreed he did not give permission. Then, and only then did I get some guy from 2 Degrees calling me about the survey.

I told him that I was already aware he had called my hubby first despite my explicit instruction not to, and that this was clearly unacceptable and stupid. He made some crappy attempt at justifying this on account of blah blah blah – permission, not authorised blah blah blah. Really? Did anyone read my survey comments? Is comprehension of English an issue at 2 Degrees??

Anyway – not willing to deal with this bullshit any longer, I told the guy that I did not give HIM permission to speak to me, and he should bloody well bugger off.

And put the phone down.

We resolved to cancel out contract at the end of the 12 months, and that we would never again call 2 Degrees, or contact them except via email – where I can write the email and sign it as Hubby. Seriously – these companies are idiots.

As it happens, we didn’t actually cancel the contract. Life got in the way, and we were too busy to look at alternatives. That all changed a few weeks ago. We decided that I needed data access on my phone. (While most people are paranoid about various government agencies spying on them, those same people often  have GPS tracking on their phones, and tell anyone who cares to know where they are and what they are doing every 5 seconds. I’d rather not to be honest, so have Data switched off ). Now, I refuse to deal with 2 Degrees, because I am not allowed. So Hubby rang them, and lo – without needing MY permission, was able to make a significant change to MY phone which could result in higher charges on MY bill.

furiousSo now I was pissed.

I raised this issue on 2 Degrees’ Facebook page, and was asked to give them some details. So at least they want to talk to ME now. The upshot of that was that no, I was not authorised on the account, but Hubby could send them an email and authorise me. Apparently this has something to do with – wait for it –SECURITY.

Seriously?

Sod. Off.

It has stuff all to do with security. It’s MY phone. If your company can’t tell from a phone number, birth date, pin number (which Hubby has to ask me for to access the account), security questions and the fact that the bloody account has my bloody sodding NAME on it – then your security system is a pile of sticking horse manure and who ever wrote it should be sacked. (And BTW – for a suitably outrageous fee – Hubby can fix you up with a sensible system ;) But only if you ask my permission first!)

Now, the person I was dealing with tried their best. After being told that this was never gonna happen – like – “Over My Dead Body Sunshine!” never gonna happen  – they offered a “goodwill payment of $39 for my troubles. And authorised me on the account. Only this was too late. I had decided enough as enough. You had one chance – you don’t a second. It is not our policy to deal with companies that do not treat both of us as equals. We are both directors and shareholders of the company, and if it’s good enough for the IRD, the Government and for us, then its damn well good enough for the mobile phone company.

I was asked if someone could phone me to discuss. I said thanks but no, I wish to move on.

So someone rang me.angry no

I tried to be as polite as possible, but did emphasise that this was not OK, that we did not want to be troubled again, that we were leaving the company, and not to ring again.

So they rang Hubby.

Repeatedly.

angry no

angry noangry no

Yep – still not accepting that what I say goes, they tried to go behind my back like a 5 year old after sweeties having being told No by Mummy, tries to see if Daddy is an easier mark.

Are these people for real?

Do they really think Hubby is going to pick up the phone to deal with this crap? Well, he didn’t. However I did send a message back to the 2 Degrees via Facebook telling them to get lost. I was not terribly polite about it. On saying that – I was a whole lot politer than Hubby would have been had they actually managed to get hold of him.

And this is where telecom comes back into the tale.

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Feb 20

Crap, Crapper, Crappest. Part 1 Telecom to Vodafone

I am talking New Zealand Mobile Phone providers. Bloody hell what a craptastic choice we have. Vodafone, Telecom or 2 Degrees. All varying degrees of crapness. At this point I am not sure which of these 3 paragons of crap is actually the Crap one, the Crapper one or indeed the Crappest. It’s a tight contest.

dizzy

So, in a (very long and wandering) nutshell.

We started out on Telecom – basically because Hubby worked for them when we first came here, and he got a (fairly crap) employee discount. We switched away from them when we bought our house and they wanted $800 to let us have a second phone line and a staggering $30,000 (initial estimate – could be anything really – please sign here) to get broadband internet to us. Evidently we were expected to pay for the entire Infrastructure down our road.

We haven’t been a customer since.

We switched to Vodafone (a company that originates in the UK) for our home phone and mobiles and stuck with them for years. They weren’t great, but they weren’t terribly offensive either. Until we moved to Smartphones and internet in town and then we had to deal with their “Customer Service’ department.  We have already blogged some of the more colourful interactions with Vodafone:

 

During all this, our home phone was with Vodafone, and we once again experienced mind boggling incompetence and stupidity when my parents moved into town and wanted to do something as spectacularly complex as taking their phone number with them. Which depending on who we spoke to was either: easy, no problem, technically challenging but possible, like asking to be taken to the moon for a slap up brunch.

 

Needless to say the result was that: we ended up with no phones anywhere for a time, 2 new phone numbers for a while, someone else’s phone connecting to our line and eventually the required result of 2 phone numbers at the correct addresses and a large collection of empty wine bottles.

ms_drunkNow due to the problems with Vodafone over the time we have been customers, and their revolting overcharging scams, we have had several “goodwill payments” from them. Which doesn’t even remotely cover the cost of the time wasted trying to get someone (anyone) to do their damn jobs properly. We have also passed on some of the more serious issues – particularly the TimWe Text scam over to the Commerce Commission who are frequently investigating the company for various bad practices.

But the result of all that was that we did indeed end up eventually ditching Vodafone for mobile and switching to 2 Degrees.

Next: Crap, Crapper, Crapest Part 2 – The 2 Degrees Years.

 

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