Strong support for family hounded by firm

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 12:30 22/09/2012

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A Wakefield family who spoke out this week after being besieged by salespeople and voicing their contempt for one firm in particular, have nipped that problem in the bud.

However, their phone has been running hot since with calls from sympathisers and members of the public who have experienced the same hard-sell tactics by home appliance firm HRV.

Laurel Ketel said yesterday that since they went public about their recent experience having difficulty getting an HRV representative off their property, many people, including complete strangers, had contacted them wanting to share their tale.

The Ketels say they have been hounded for several years by HRV home ventilation telemarketers.

The last straw was an unsolicited visit this week by a company salesman, who finally left after being told by Mr Ketel in no uncertain terms he had to get off the property.

They were told by phone and by the rep who visited that if they cared for their children's health they would install an HRV system.

The ventilation systems work by drawing in outside air through a home's roof space, then filtering and redistributing it.

The Ketels posted the experience on their Facebook page and got at least 15 comments from people with similar experiences with HRV, including one who was also told by a sales rep she did not care about her children's health.

Fairfax reported in July after talking with former HRV staff that "aggression and pressure are part of the HRV home ventilation sales mantra".

HRV Nelson-Marlborough franchise owner David Atoa said this week that the company took a proactive approach to any complaint and was the first to admit if a mistake had been made. He said it appeared in this instance there was an "unfortunate misunderstanding between the consultant and the homeowner".

He said the consultant in question had helped thousands of families in the Nelson region through direct positive contact for many years but in this case he took responsibility for the way he delivered the message to the homeowner and the reaction.

Mrs Ketel hoped speaking out, plus their addition to the New Zealand Marketing Association's "do not call" register, would stop the problem. "I don't think they would dare call again. Even if I won a competition for a free HRV I wouldn't take it." The NZ Marketing Association operates "do not mail" and "do not call" registers, available free to consumers. Visit marketing.org.nz and click on the "get removed" black box on the home page.

Editorial, p17

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- The Nelson Mail

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