What can a $3000 vacuum cleaner do that can’t be done by cheaper vacuum cleaners?
Alf would like to think such a super gadget not only can suck up every bit of dust in your house, but can grind coffee, send e-mails, play your favourite DVDs, massage your feet and roast a lump of lamb for good measure.
He raises the issue on learning of the warning being sounded by a widow who felt pressured into buying a $3000 vacuum cleaner.
Joy Peffers, 70, of Lower Hutt, bought the vacuum cleaner about two weeks ago, after a saleswoman came to her house in the guise of delivering a thank-you gift for completing a phone survey.
Now her family is preparing to lay a complaint with the Commerce Commission, saying the company – Living Longer New Zealand – pressured her into the sale.
Alf is bound to say the gadget has a wonderfully enticing name – it’s an Envirotect vacuum cleaner.
The woman nevertheless is now saying she feels foolish and embarrassed.
“I didn’t tell my family because I felt scared – I did something stupid which is something that I just don’t do.”
People needed to be warned not to let these people in – and not to give away personal details to telephone surveys, she said.
A spokesperson for the company refused to comment on the woman’s complaint, but…
Consumer New Zealand chief executive Sue Chetwin said the agency had received numerous complaints about the company as it operated under different names throughout New Zealand.
A request for a Commerce Commission investigation in 2008 was declined, but she would be raising the matter again.
Chetwin had good advice for people badgered by buggers like those who sold the vacuum cleaner in this case: if a salesman refuses to leave, you should call the police.
As for the widow who feels embarrassed about her $3000 purchase, she might take some solace from knowing how easy it is to become a sucker.
An embarrassed TVNZ has been forced to apologise to viewers after it was duped into running a live-to-air interview with a pro-whaling lobbyist who turned out to be a fake.
The man – pretending to be Commercial Whaling New Zealand spokesman Jay Pryor – was invited on to Breakfast yesterday morning, where he was interviewed by host Paul Henry on the benefits of commercial whaling.
But it was all a hoax. “Pryor” was comedian Guy Williams, who was working for a rival network.
Breakfast is reviewing its set-up interview procedures and has apologised to viewers.
Vetting procedures and checks may be reviewed.
But the real hoot is that front-man Paul Henry is saying he was immediately suspicious because the bogus group had a valid, but weak argument.
“Talking to the guy on air, it was like shooting fish in a barrel.
“You couldn’t have a decent argument with him because he didn’t have a reasoned, thought-out argument himself so there was nothing you could really counter, there was no opportunity for intellectual debate.”
With Paul Henry?
Maybe the widow’s $3000 vacuum cleaner should be dragged into the studio – if it can’t drive itself there – as a suitable subject for matching wits with and testing the intellectual powers of the pompous Paul.