05 August 2009

Consumers beware! Do your homework!

Case 1: HD on analog? Blu-ray fail!

CNA was promoting an HDMI SONY BRAVIA and accompanying Blu-ray player, citing that it made DVD look miles worse in quality, and they had a comparative DVD playing to prove it!

I could even hear a passerby remarking "wow, that looks so much better! DVD looks rubbish!" and I didn't even need to get closer to tell the quality was HORRIBLE on both. Upon further inspection, I discovered RCA cables from the player to the TV, as well as HDMI - when I flipped the TV off AV1 (comp) it showed blank feeds, and HDMI wasn't working so I confirmed they were playing it on really ghastly analog cables.
I then mumbled this within earshot of a CNA rep walking past, who noticed my point, but didn't seem phased. 

I just don't get it - what's with these idiots marketing products that they don't know anything about?

Another story: Case 2: Property ignorance. Estate agents fail. 

I went house-looking with Kat over the weekend and a Wakefields agent greeted us to a sectional title unit for sale at +-R1m. 

One of her first comments as we walked into the house was "this is a fully registered sectional title unit, and there are no rules and no levies". That immediately got my back up. 

"No rules? Sectional title?" I probed. "No rules" she beamed, sensing that her hook had caught a big one. Boy oh boy if I didn't need some future assistance from these agents, I'd have let her have it right there.
A little later through our exploration of the house, she said we could extend upwards, we could have pets etc. because there were no rules. I then made it a little more obvious to her that I doubted her expertise, "I'm concerned that you say there aren't any rules because the Sectional Title Act applies and can't be de-registered". She started to choke a little on her excuses, but gunned forward nonetheless because another couple had arrived and she started reasoning herself in circles. I showed compassion and didn't prod further. 

Upon leaving, I did the sum in my head - 5% sales commission on R1m is R50,000. What do they deserve that for? Prospective buyers on that cost scale should always do their homework, but honestly, one could be forgiven for assuming a person who does this thing for a living should know a little about the product they're selling. However, reality shows a very different animal on the loose out there. 

Other estate agents know just as little about sectional title as the Wakefields example above, and in fact, the same is true for commercial agents (I can think of a very good example here... D****X).

One simply can't take risks anymore, and with this level of money on the line, and for a very long period of debt, it doesn't pay to not do your homework. 

I've found the agents' lack of knowledge about their product to be grossly negligent and in fact criminal. In my personal experience, the tenants or new buyers step into the sectional title scheme, and do their thing. When they get resistance, they try to fight the trustees, instead of the agents. Ultimately, if someone doesn't like the rules that govern sectional title, THEN DON'T DO SECTIONAL TITLE. 

In the Wakefields case above, they obviously thought the rules would restrict a sale so they tried to hide the rules, or the Scheme hasn't been registered properly in the first place. Either way, IF YOU DON'T LIKE THE RESTRICTIONS OF THE SECTIONAL TITLE ACT, DON'T BUY! MOVE ON!!

I just can't justify or accept the ignorance of many of these estate agents - it's no longer a job for the uneducated, or an unemployed family friend - property is a big deal with huge debt implications and not just any Tom, Dick or Harry should be doing it. What makes me more angry is the way some of these agents worm out with complete lies rather than admit they don't know - and that is TOTALLY irresponsible!! They can rope a family into debt for thirty years and that's not to be taken lightly!!

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