Be very careful in dealing with this company.
I have had them looking after an access control system on my building at Papakura, Auckland for the last couple of years. This system controls the unlocking/locking of doors when people pass a swipe tag over a sensor. You know a credit card or swipe tag thing. It’s like a small computer which just waits for these signals, opens doors etc.
And it turns out, they’ve done a really poor job. Which has cost me quite a lot of time, money and hassle.
This system was installed by a dodgy operator called Reuben Roberts from Edge Security Professionals Limited. I’ve blogged about him here, he’s basically a crook who didn’t know what he was doing. So the system was almost certainly poorly installed.
Over the last 2-3 years this system has randomly gone down which has meant that all the doors lock, which allows tenants to get out of the building, but not back in.
Some time ago they replaced the main board in this system at a cost of $1200 or so. And away it went for some months afterwards. 6 months in fact. And then crapped out again… in fact it started doing exactly the same things it was doing before.
The symptoms were that the system would crash but if you just touched (with the back of a pen) or moved the main board slightly it would all come alive again and work perfectly fine… until the next time, which could be a year, or it could be a day.
And this carried on for some months before I decided to get someone else in. And you know what? The new guy found the fault that had been causing the problems all along – in 10 minutes!
Basically the whole power supply was wired up incorrectly. The Lan devices (which I take to be the magnetic locks at the top of the doors holding them closed) were being powered form a battery charging circuit. Which meant all sorts of bad things would be happening like the batteries continually having to be charged, the doors suddenly dragging a whole bunch of power (as they do when they lock and unlock) from a circuit they’re not supposed to and so on.
Precisely the sort of thing that would cause a system to crash at random intervals. And it was an easy fault to find. The new guy simply turned the power off at the wall and the whole system powered off – it’s not supposed to – the batteries should kick in and keep it going. But he did this a number of times and sometimes it would stay powered up and sometimes it wouldn’t, so clearly issues…
One thing Fortlock Security Systems have said is that they replaced the power supply (towards the end of my time in dealing with them) and that this was a subsequent fault to the main board. But this was just absolute bollocks. They didn’t replace the power supply at all. All the power supply bits look original (dusty, grubby etc.) and as I’ve described above it was wired incorrectly, they didn’t invoice me for it (and I can ensure you guys, these people invoice for EVERYTHING) and weren’t able to produce an invoice for the parts from their supplier. Also, one of the batteries was at the end of its life, you’d think if you were replacing a power supply you’d notice that!
So anyway I have told Patrick Shields, a representative of the company that I’m unhappy with the service, that parts have been needlessly replaced and that service calls have been unnecessarily incurred and that I want a refund. The total is $2006.58. He has been quite intransigent and so I said via email I was lodging a claim at the Disputes Tribunal.
And so Patrick and someone else from the company came to my house today for a sit down meeting. And tried to convince me that I didn’t know what I was talking about, that because I had authorised the parts to be changed, that it was therefore on my head and so on.
No idea why he requested the meeting because he wasn’t prepared to shift his position at all. So, we’re off to the Disputes Tribunal. And I’ll update here with how I get on.
Update: Court date is set down for 9th December, 9:15am. Will update back here with the results.