A Tauranga woman is warning fellow residents not to be pressured into buying a $7000 vacuum cleaner and air filter package when redeeming a free gift from a flyer-drop.
Phillipa Lewis' friend phoned the number on a flyer – which is being put into city letterboxes – advertising residents can receive a free gift if they call up.
The leaflet being dropped into Tauranga letterboxes, which offers a free gift but has the purpose of sending a salesperson pitching a sales-pitch to sell a vacuum cleaner and air filter package worth $7000.
Instead Phillipa's friend found themselves on the receiving end of a two-hour long high pressure sales pitch for a vacuum cleaner and air filter combo costing a total of $6980.
“After nearly two hours she told them they could pack up and go; they never gave her the free gift.
“The vacuum cleaner my friend was quoted was $3990, and she was told if she would like the air filter to go with it that would be another $2990 – totalling nearly $7000.”
Phillipa is concerned some people may feel intimidated by the sales pitch and be pressured into buying the products.
She took her concerns to Tauranga Police, who told her to tell SunLive.
Police also warned her people may also find toll calls charged to their phone, from ringing to receive the gift.
“Often people give phone numbers and find a lot of toll calls wrapped up on their phone,” says Phillipa.
“I'm just a bit afraid the elderly people might be taken in and be intimidated.”
The vacuum cleaner is an Envirotect brand. The importers have previously been warned by the Commerce Commission about their sales techniques, and Consumer Magazine regards the vacuum cleaner as the worst.
The Auckland-based sales company HAP Ltd has an office in Papamoa.
When SunLive rang the number on the flyer, the call-taker said a representative would arrive to deliver the free gift – and at same time seek feedback on a portable air quality system called the xcaliber, designed to help with dust pollution and allergies.
When asked if it was a vacuum cleaner the call-taker repeated they were seeking opinion and feedback on an air quality system, and the sales representative would be carrying a couple of large bags.
The sales representative's large bags did contain the portable air quality system – and a vacuum cleaner.
Consumer NZ tested the Envirotect vacuum in 2012, ranking it near the bottom of more than 50 machines.
They reported it the $3000 vacuum performed no better than one bought for $100.
As a result Consumer NZ complained to the Commerce Commission on what it considered a breach of the Fair Trading Act.
From Consumer NZ the vacuum managed 5.9 out of a possible 10 points for removing dirt from carpet.
A top-rated cleaner scores 8.3 out of 10 and sells for less than a quarter of the $3990 price-tag of the Envirotect. The only task the Envirotect performed well was picking up pet hair.
Consumer NZ says their tests show claims the Envirotect is a top performer are false. The vacuum is grossly over-priced “and we think consumers are being ripped off”.
When Consumer NZ tested the Envirotect vacuum in early 2012, misleading claims were being made about the manufacturer's ISO qualifications by stating the vacuum cleaner is certified ISO 9001 ‘for quality in manufacture' and ISO1401 for ‘design of environmental systems' when they are certifications for business processes and cannot be given for specific products.
Consumer NZ complained to the Commerce Commission about a breach of the Fair Trading Act.
A warning was issued to a company selling Envirotect vacuum cleaners in 2012, says Commerce Commission communications and external communications manager Diana Price.
Despite this the near-$4000 vacuum cleaner is still being sold door-to-door in Tauranga in a $7000 combo with an air filter.