HRV under scrutiny

WILMA MCCORKINDALE IN DUNEDIN
Last updated 11:47 28/11/2012

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A raft of complaints about home ventilation company HRV has sparked a Commerce Commission investigation.

A commission spokeswoman has confirmed HRV is under scrutiny but declined to provide details of the complaints while the investigation was continuing.

''Yes, the commission is currently investigating complaints made about HRV. The complaints relate to alleged misrepresentations under the Fair Trading Act,'' the spokeswoman said.

"The investigation is based solely on Dunedin complaints.''

D Scene was swamped with feedback from readers after running a story about a customer who felt the company used high-pressure sales techniques. Most criticised the company, although some were happy with their HRV systems.

D Scene spoke with local home-owners unable to get rid of HRV salespeople they invited into their home for a consultation about the ventilation system because of perceived aggressive sales techniques. Others were unhappy with the product and had problems trying to get it uninstalled.

Former Dunedin Citizens Advice Bureau volunteer Noel Angus, who dealt with many complaints against HRV while working at the bureau, is celebrating the investigation.

''I'm delighted. I've been trying for at least seven years," Mr Angus said.

''I feel as though I've achieved something.''

Mr Angus had also dealt with complaints of HRV salespeople claiming the company's system could do things it could not actually do, such as heating the home.

The product was in itself a good ventilation system but was not designed for heating, Mr Angus said.

He was concerned HRV salespeople were pushy and would not leave people's homes when asked, according to complaints.

Dunedin HRV branch owner David Simpson and national spokesman John Boyd declined to comment but Mr Boyd did say the company was unaware of the investigation.

D Scene reported in July the Commission had received 53 complaints about HRV (Cristal Air Limited trading as HRV) since 2009.

Complaints nationwide were mostly about pressure sales tactics and alleged misrepresentation of the heating benefits of HRV.

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- The Southland Times

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