Following on from Part One, ways to spot a rogue aerial installer. If you haven't read part one please follow this link and do so now. http://smartaerials.co.uk/blog/smart-aerials-first-blog-post .
DISCLAIMER Please note that I’m not saying that anyone who is guilty of the points I raised here is automatically a Rogue Trader. For example there must be thousands of skilled traders and good guys who only use a mobile phone and have a naff website or none at all. (Points 2 and 6) I’m sure you get my point.
10) No test equipment
To be specific to aerial and satellite dish installations a spectrum analyser. I have started with the one because in my opinion this is the big one. I have encountered stories where “installers” have referred to these as glorified alignment tools. The installer who made this comment was either too tight to purchase one or didn’t understand his job properly. Unlike the analogue days, for digital TV it is almost impossible to identify a problem by looking at the TV picture alone. As the picture becomes something that is almost perfect in appearance or something that breaks up and becomes unwatchable. Referred to as the “cliff effect”. Without appropriate test equipment your installer would effectively be doing the installation or repair blindfolded and EVERYTHING becomes guesswork, be extra careful when said installer is also on an hourly rate as you will be paying for his guessing. Good test equipment isn’t cheap to buy so consider this when comparing quotes. Having state of the art test equipment ultimately saves our customers money as we are able to quickly diagnose a whole host of problems and perform installations with no guesswork, resulting in less come backs and installations that last. Regularly before I connect the cable into the TV the customer says. “The moment of truth” and I can confidently explain that I know the antenna to be working already through use of my test equipment.
11) Lack of identification
This could be anything as simple as a uniform or sign written van, or for larger companies perhaps an ID card. In our opinion this is very little effort to reassure the customer you are who you say you are. When I personally attend jobs. I introduce myself as being from “Smart Aerials” and I’m “Tom”. The customer sees the uniform, the sign-written van and an ID card produced upon request.
12) Where’s my paperwork?
If you have received nothing in terms of writing regarding your work, you have a right to be cautious. For larger jobs you should expect a written quote or estimate before the work begins. For smaller jobs it isn’t always financially viable to do so in which case a verbal agreement should suffice. After the work you should receive an invoice and/ or receipt for your payment as often also this could act as your guarantee. If terms and conditions are in place you should receive a copy a copy of these also.
13) Payment today, cash only
Unless you have an arrangement where payment is agreed upon completion or work. Otherwise for smaller amounts I would suggest payment terms within 7-14 days to be fair. The trader should never ask for cash only and if they do make sure you get a receipt. Cheques, BACS payments and card payments make for more secure methods of payment as these effectively act as proof of payment. Not always commonly known but most card payments come with so sort of payment protection, so if you do not receive the service you felt you should or have been scammed you may be able to get your money back. Please also consider for smaller companies and traders the cost of processing fees so they may not offer this method of payment.
14) Poor workmanship
Ok so if your new aerial is leaning over or if the satellite dish is blown offline it is not always easy to see poor workmanship so here is a few examples specific to the aerial and satellite trade for you to take away:
Aerial has been drilled into the chimney stack- should be secured with a lashing wire which goes around the chimney.
Aerial bracket spacing less than one sixth of the overall mast height – If you have a 6’ pole, you should have a minimum 1’ bracket size or spacing to ensure it can take the wind load.
Satellite dish or aerial has been drilled into the mortar or cement rather than directly into the brickwork.
Cables loose flapping over roofs, rather than taken through lofts or secured under roof tiles.
And loads, loads more. If in doubt ‘The Confederation of Aerial Industries’ (CAI) are the most respected trade organisation within the sector and you could do far worse than seeking them or their members advice.
15) Overuse of technical jargon
The engineer should at least try to explain things in a manner that people can understand. You should be cautious if your installer is attempting to do this as they could be trying to confuse you intentionally. In practice however it isn’t always as easy as it seems as often the installer in required to summarise something in simple terms something that has taken them years to fully understand themselves so please take this into consideration.
16) Post installation support and advice
If things aren’t working quite the way as you hoped or expected. The installing company should help and advise you after the installation and if it is their fault and under guarantee put right free of charge. If you just need advice, the company should be grateful that you are contacting them and not someone else. If you just can’t contact them or they are not returning your attempts to contact them then this could be cause for concern.
17) Hiding behind their terms and conditions
Be extra careful here as this is how often the rogues get away with it and there is very little you can do about it, especially where you have signed a contract. Very rarely do people read through every last detail of the fine print – if you can see it that is! If you feel that you are being pressured to sign without reading refuse to sign altogether. I have encountered stories where the installers have verbally agreed something completely different to that in writing and in the eyes of the law the one in writing is the one that exists. There is a difference between protecting the company’s best interests and downright criminality. If you do sign, are unsure or want to cancel be aware of the 14 day ‘cooling off’ period that existing for consumers to cancel.
Anyway I hope that this helps you avoid the bad guys!
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