Freeview Shop are Terrible to Deal With

A couple of months back I decided to buy a new PVR (personal video recorder).  The one we have is for satellite only,  low resolution, we can’t get Prime on it and so on.

So I got a Hyundai decoder from the Freeview Shop, which is an online shop selling under the Freeview brand.  I assume they have a contract with the government to do so.

Under options I got a HDMI cable and a 100GB hard drive.  Until I got the unit, I assumed this was a hard drive inside the unit i.e. builit in.  But it turns out it’s a separate, bog standard hard drive (like the ones you buy at an appliance store) that connects via a USB cable.  I complained about this but was assured it would work fine.

So I set up the unit and tried recording tv.  What I’ve done in the past is just started recording on my Panasonic dvd (via the old satellite receiver) and then come back later and watched tv via this recording so that I can zoom through the ads.

So i thought a single unit that receives the signal and does the recording would be so much easier.  You could theoretically record via the built in programme guide and so on.

The Hyundai decoder doesn’t allow you to record a programme and then watch it delayed but then keep that recording also.  You have 2 options, either record a programme in full, and watch it some time after it has entirely finished.  Or you use Timeshift, so you can start Timeshift, press pause and then come back later to start watching, you can go backwards and forwards, zoom past ads etc.  But once you press ‘stop’ on the Timeshift function, the recording is removed.

But the Timeshift function simply doesn’t work reliably.  I get these faults:

  • Playback stutters.
  • Video and audio are out of sync so for instance people’s mouths move at different times to the audio of their speech.
  • When you press pause, it doesn’t always pause.  You sometimes have to press it several times to get Timeshift to pause.  Sometimes Timeshift completely craps out at this point and you have to stop Timeshift and restart it, losing the bit you thought you had recorded.
  • You fast forward (through some ads say) and then press play and it hangs.  Again, you have to restart Timeshift, missing anything you have recorded.
  • When you first start Timeshift and press pause, you get a little bit of your last Timeshift recording session.
  • You start Timeshift and then it just kinda seems to not be going.  So I press Timeshift again, and it starts up… mysterious.
  • And a bunch of less common things which I can’t remember.

So all in all it’s just really flaky.  It’ll work fine for say 15 mins and then crap out for no reason.

Other issues I’ve had with this unit:

  • The programme guide is really unreliable and slow.  It will often show details of programmes on a Friday (if it is Friday) but then only show a couple of those, and then programmes on Sunday, skipping the rest of Friday and all of Saturday.  This is in a list so you think you are looking at the programmes on Friday night, but you’re not.
  • If you change channels quite quickly, especially to a channel that has bad reception – we have some terrestrial ones like that – the unit will completely lock up and the only cure is to turn it off and then back on again.

So anyway, I wanted to return this item.  Lars Wahlmann who is a director at Webretail Limited, the company that runs Freeview Shop, said to return the unit and they’d test it.  He said to return the unit only, not the hard drive, remote or anything else.

So I did return it.  At a small cost of $13.20.  They’re in Queenstown for crying out loud.  What a place to run an online shop in NZ from!

We then flew out to Toronto.  I didn’t hear back via email so I asked Lars where it was.  he said they hadn’t received it.  So I got my mum and dad to go to my house, find the postage receipt with the tracking number on it and send the number to me.  I plugged it into the NZ Post website and it said it had been delivered.  I emailed Lars with this.  He said “Oh that one, we didn’t know who’s it was, so we sent it off to a different customer”.  I found this pretty amazing: 1) That they would receive a unit and then tell me they haven’t received one, 2) They would send a used one that someone has said is faulty out to a customer.

He then said via email that he’d get it back off the customer, test it and get back to me. I heard nothing so emailed for an update.  He said he couldn’t get it back so he’d send me a new one.  A ‘new’ unit arrived (I took him at his word that it was a new one), I set it up, and then proceeded to get all the same problems!

So I emailed Lars to tell him this, who responded that they’ve never had anyone else complain about these units.  I’ve heard this before about various products, and then you go online and find heaps of negative reviews about problems with products.

So anyway, after more use and more problems Iasked Lars via email if he could recommend another unit.  I was thinking I’d pay a bit more money and get a better unit.  He didn’t reply.

So then I told Lars via email I wanted to send the whole lot back, and that I expected a refund for the unit, the hard drive and the postage costs etc.  There was a bit more conversation to this (I told him his service was unsatisfactory) but in the end I said that either he gave me a full refund or I’d take him to the Disputes Tribunal.  He said he wouldn’t agree to a refund which I find amazing.  Who doesn’t give refunds for products these days?  At somewhere like JB HiFi I can take an item back and they’ll replace or refund my money no questions asked.

So anyway I’m lodging a form with the Disputes Tribunal tonight.  What else can I do?  I either have to put up with a defective unit, or take them to the Disputes Tribunal.  And I’m not prepared to do the former.

So be very very careful in your dealings with Freeview Shop – they will not provide refunds for defective products.  And Lars Wahlmann’s service is hopeless.


Government Creates Inflation, then Stops it by Whacking Us!

Every now and then, Weekend at Bernies, as I like to call him, gets something right.  And he’s bang on with this week’s column:

Bernard Hickey: Rates and power bills to blame

5:00 AM Sunday Aug 17, 2014
Huntly Thermal Power Station. Photo / NZPA

Huntly Thermal Power Station. Photo / NZPA

Local governments and electricity companies are to blame for New Zealand’s inflation rate being much higher than it should have been for the past 10 years.

They have raised their prices between 5 and 8 per cent each year for the past decade, despite being semi-regulated and mostly publicly owned.

Although the rates have trended down since 2004, they are still much higher than the Reserve Bank’s 1 to 3 per cent inflation target. And that persistent inflation has acted like a type of plaque in the arteries of the economy, putting up its blood pressure of inflation, interest rates and the exchange rate.

Rest of Article

The electricity companies raise their prices so that they can pay a big dividend to the government…

And councils, well councils are just known for over spending other people’s money.  They have been doing it since time began.

Some Common Sense Articles on Earthquake Risk from Buildings

The government (via the now disgraced Maurice Williamson) totally over reacted with the law they’re putting into place which will require owners of older buildings to spend billions upgrading their buildings for negligible benefit.

The Herald has some good articles outlining the senselessness of this approach.




Even the experts like GNS Science and the engineering institutions say the risk in Auckland is basically zero:

Auckland Council’s submission included a report from GNS Science, which described the risk of death from an earthquake in the city as negligible. It said the estimated number of deaths was also virtually the same whether or not the city’s supposedly earthquake-prone buildings were strengthened to the 34 per cent standard. To put the risk in perspective, the council added that in the 10,000 year period between major earthquakes, the city could expect to deal with four Japan-sized tsunamis, 10 volcanic eruptions and thousands of floods.

GNS’ own submission said the blanket standard grossly underestimated the real ability of buildings to survive an earthquake. It pointed out that nearly all the older (pre-1976) buildings left standing after the Christchurch earthquakes would have failed the 34 per cent test.

GNS also argued that despite the allowance for local seismic risk, the scales were still weighted against low risk areas because of an earlier change in the earthquake design standard, which effectively meant Auckland had to be ready for a 1-in-1000 year earthquake, compared to 1-in-500 years for Wellington. The cost difference was minor for new buildings, which the standard was intended for, but became excessive for an owner trying to retrofit an old building.

Oh well, hopefully some of the people in charge of this will see that the law is indeed an ass.

A24 Rat Trap

For years we’ve known there are heaps of rats in the bush around our house in West Auckland.  Our cat has caught about 2 rats a month for the past 7-8 months.

So I’ve bought one of these:

Its a rat/mice/stoat trap from GoodNature.

It is powered by the silver CO2 cannister you can see pointing down on the left hand side.

The rodent is attracted by bait that is in paste form and sits under the black cylindrical shaped bit at the top on the right hand side.

The rodent pokes their head up in there to get more bait and gets humanely whacked by a piston.  The carcass drops to the ground and the trap resets.  They’re good for about 24 kills.

I’ll post updates here as to how and what I manage to ‘catch’.

$2 million to Put Together a Syndicate

If you’ve got rocks in your head you may be considering the offer on the Telecom (soon to be Spark) building in Auckland.

You don’t have to look very hard to see who is making the real money on deals like this:


Augusta launches a king sized syndicate with princely fees to match

Posted in Property July 31, 2014 – 05:24pm, Greg Ninness

The Telecom building being syndicated by Augusta

NZX-listed Augusta Capital (though its subsidiary Augusta Funds Management) has launched its latest property syndicate and it’s a whopper.

Augusta is seeking to raise $39 million from investors to put together a syndicate which will acquire one of the three buildings that form Telecom’s head office complex on Victoria St in Auckland’s CBD.

Augusta Funds Management will receive an eye watering $2.02 million as an offeror’s fee for setting up the scheme.




How to Use a Life

I was very interested to read Bob Jones’ article in the Herald entitled “Many Definitions of Happiness”

He says

We all have our own definitions for happiness. Putting aside family and friends considerations, mine is to wake each day with interesting and varied things to do; no more, no less.

Which I thought was a pretty nice definition actually.

And this is from a guy who has a property portfolio worth around $700 million.

And so a couple of questions come immediately to mind:

1)  Does one need a huge amount of money to “wake each day with interesting and varied things to do”?

2) Why such a simple requirement out of life from someone who has so much?  Like why doesn’t he want loads of fancy things like cars, planes, houses, clothes, attractive women around him etc. etc.

The answer to question 1, is surely, no.  You can be fairly broke and still have interesting and varied things to do each day.  In fact you can be on the dole and have your whole day to yourself to do many things as long as they don’t cost a lot of money.

But of course Bob’s simple desire does depend on a number of things such as: Living in a country where one is able to go about your business without being restricted by the powers that be, basic rule of law and so on.  There are many many countries where this is not the case.  So we’re pretty luck actually to live in a place where you can stroll down the road anywhere in the country, even stand up on a box and say the prime minister is a dick, or whatever you want to do and you will be left alone, as long as you are acting within the law.

The answer to question 2 is more complicated, but only a little.  The Lotto adverts show people leaping out of planes, quaffing expensive champagne on fancy boats and so on.  But this sort of lifestyle is appealing to anyone with half a brain for about 6 months.  If you carried on this way you’d be a 120kg miserable alcoholic.  You just can’t spend your whole life eating, drinking, getting massages or whatever.

And you soon bore of the fancy sports cars, the big pool at your  big house and all the other material things.

So what to do?  Well this of course is the eternal question…

In our westernised society you either have to find a job or start a business so you can pay your way in life.

I recently came across a couple of articles which discuss this really well.  The first is entitled “Don’t Do What You Love, Do What You Do” and is very good.  It references this article which discusses the whole “Do What You Love” fallacy in some depth.

And so I’m going to Do What I Do.


Celebrating Life's Little Achievements