Antenna repairs

I wonder if anyone has had dealings with “Antenna Man” of “Antennas Today”. I’ve had problems with them and would not recommend them in a fit.

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Hi @Clea,

Could you identify the specific companies (web sites or addresses) and elucidate the problems you had?

editorial note: Since the companies I had mentioned re the names in the OP seem to be Melbourne Metro centric and the OP is in West Gippsland it is unclear whether there is any relationship, so I updated this post accordingly.

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Thank you PhilT for your message, and apologies for taking so long to get back to you. And apologies in advance for my post which is going to be a long one…

I called Antenna Man who advertises in our local newspaper in West Gippsland, because the picture on our TV was breaking up. I spoke to someone called Richard who said he would get back to me with an appointment. Eventually someone called Lee phoned me and came over. He was here for quite a while, climbed on the roof and looked at the TV picture and suggested we needed a new antenna and the cost would be $500. My husband and I agreed to this. I told him that we only ever watch the ABC and SBS, and we always record programmes we like so we can watch them at a time that is convenient to us. When he came down from the roof he showed us that we now had several HD channels which we didn’t have before which was all very well because we could no longer record them on our existing recorder and would have to buy a new one. He said we couldn’t get good reception from ABC Melbourne and that he had tuned the TV to receive from a Gippsland station. We were told that we would still get occasional break-up of the picture.
He presented us with a tax invoice headed “Antennas Today” for an amount of $480 plus GST, totalling $528. The invoice said that the antenna was relocated, and there were some details under amplifier, point, and cable, then service and labour. However there was no dollar value for any of these items, just the total amount. We had to pay on the spot, which we did. This happened on 7/6/21
The TV picture was clear enough for a while, but a short time later it started breaking up all over again, and at the moment it’s quite bad. We’re having to watch everything on iview and SBS on demand which although we get a good picture that way, it is a problem for us as we don’t have a high data plan and always run out about two or three weeks into the month.
On 6th July (a month later) I phone Richard’s number and the woman who picked up told me that he was unavailable and she didn’t know when we would be available. She wouldn’t give me her name. I asked her whether Antenna Man was a local company why was it that the invoice was headed Antennas Today.
She wouldn’t give me any information, starting to get quite rude towards me, however we got to the point where she was going to make an appointment for someone to come and look at the TV again. She asked when I was free, and I suggested she tell me when someone could come out so I made sure to be home - which is how it usually works with any tradespeople - and she started to get irate. Then she asked me for the job number and my address. I gave her that information and when she looked up her records said she had no. 29. I told her I lived at number 49 and she started arguing about that. By that stage I have to say that by that stage we were both raising our voices, and before we made an appointment she just hung up on me.
That’s the story. We’re $528 out of pocket and a TV/antenna that is not fixed. You can now see now why I’m not recommending them. Thank you for reading this far.

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Hi @Clea. If the signal was fine after the new install, but is now bad again, that would seem to suggest that something has happened to the antenna. We did have some serious wind events in your part of Victoria that could have shifted the antenna or loosened a lead.
As the work will be under warranty, then get them back out to fix the problem.
If you encounter a service person on the phone with an attitude problem, then keep your cool, and politely stand your ground.
You are the customer. You have rights.

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Something could have happened to the antenna, even a bird or while unlikely, a bad fitting on the feed-in cabling.

After years in our residence after digital was rolled out we started experiencing intermittent pixelation. Never had a worry with analogue service.

In spite of all the advice we did not need to do it, our solution was to replace the old antenna with one designed for poor reception areas and whilst we are not 100% pixelation free 24x7, it is a comparatively rare event ever since.

It is also possible you may have something causing interference at certain times of the day that has been newly built between your towers and yourselves.

Whilst following @Gregr’s suggestion you might be well served to note if there is any relationship to time-of-day for good and bad reception. If there is anything to this [remote] possibility a tech could get everything working 100%, yet hours later it could be poor, and even later back to 100%.

If you have an email address for the company and don’t wish to engage a potentially hostile person, citing your invoice/receipt number, you can state your case, add location corrections, and ask for the followup visit, with a few days for them to respond.

It is not as crisp as a phone call, but might be easier to do under the circumstances.

BTW, if they fob you off, without being a first party to all the details, business or technical, the Australian Consumer Law gives you rights for quality of service that are worth reading.,

Please let us know how you go, and if you don’t get offered a resolution, please be more specific about the company you dealt with (web site, address, etc), noting I edited my original reply to you. It is unlikely either of those Melbourne area businesses serve West Gippsland - but might.

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An update on my antenna problems:
As advised, I contacted Consumer Affairs and sent an email tp Antenna Man/Antennas Today. It’s nearly two weeks now and no reply. What do I do now?..
Consumer Affairs said that if I didn’t get a reply I could take them to VCAT - it sounds like an expensive proposition.
If they had a street address I’d definitely go and see them, but after the woman on the phone hung up on me I’m reluctant to call back…

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‘Expensive’ is in the eyes of the beholder, but for $528 it is probably in that category. (It appears to be $66.30 to file)

https://www.vcat.vic.gov.au/fees

You are unfortunately discovering some of the significant missing bits in our ‘consumer protections’, one being ‘Consumer Affairs’ is rarely helpful according to anecdotal reports, and the other being the laws are written without ‘teeth’ so only companies interested in obeying them need do so.

A few clarifications

Was it in the form and content of a formal ‘Letter of Complaint’? If not it was what I call ‘idle chit chat’ of no importance legally or apparently otherwise. It needs to be in the ‘Letter of Complaint’ format with necessary content, with some sort of proof of delivery, or their refusal to accept it…

I had difficulty identifying who they might be, as I previously noted. Your tax invoice should have an ABN number; if you did not receive a tax invoice with an ABN the ATO would be interested in knowing about that omission. Could you provide the ABN and we might be able to find out where and who they are?

If it comes to ringing them, do you have someone who can do it for you?

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I could not find them on Product Reveiw but did see this one.

Perhaps you might provide them with some free publicity on Product Review.

Even if it does not motivate them to rectify the problem, it will at least forewarn other consumers.

Have you checked to see whether the new antenna is directed at the best transmitter for you location? You can check on this website. Alternatively, you could ask neighbours what their reception is like and, if good, check which direction their antenna points to.

Also do an internet search to find other reasons for poor reception. By doing your homework you will be less able to be fobbed off should the installer return to check your reception.

I previously lived in an area with poor reception. To get a good signal we sometimes had to turn off the power to a DVD player and other items in proximity to the TV. We also found that having the antenna go directly from the wall point to the TV gave better reception. These are just interim suggestions for better reception and are not long term or convenient solutions.

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Did they install a signal boost amplifier?

If they did, these usually are connected to a mains pwer supply (either wired in or power point). It might look something like this or have a jack mounted directly on the coaxial cable wall socket. They need to be turned on when watching free-to-air broadcast TV otherwise signal will break up if you are in a flacky signal area. Check your fuse box/circuit board if hard wired to check none of the switches are thrown. If a plug power point in type, check power point is working (plug something else into the point) and it is connected to the coxial cable.

Also, is there a high voltage (110kV+) or communications facility nearby (microwave, radio mast, mobioe tower etc), or not to far away and between your antenna and the transmitter tower. These can affect signals and will only do so when energised/operating. It is possible testing of signal by the installer occurred when they were switched off only to be turned on at a later time.

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The invoice does have an ABN no. - 73 950 988 003
The email was in the form of a formal letter, quoting their job number and requested that the job be fixed up within two weeks (end of July) or that we be given a refund. So far no reply.
I suppose I could get someone else to phone them, but wonder if that would elicit any better results.
I agree with the comments about Consumer Affairs, they were not very helpful unfortunately.
I don’t mind paying the $66.30 to file a complaint with VCAT but worry it would end up costing a lot more and take months to resolve the situation.
Thank you for all the responses - please keep them coming if you have any more ideas.

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That is not a formal ‘Letter of Complaint’ although it might be a formal letter. The ‘Letter of Complaint’ has required content well beyond job number and your request. Considering your posts to date I doubt a ‘Letter of Complaint’ would get any more of an answer, but for clarity this tool suggests the minimum content.


An ABN search returns

https://abr.business.gov.au/ABN/View?id=73950988003

You can see this ABN is used for many trading names in various places, all owned by Mr.Ricky Lance Hobman, which explains the confusing company names you encountered. It seems none of the addresses suggest a Gippsland location, all being around Melbourne metro, predominantly Brighton and Frankston. His business names styled including ‘Antennas Today’ in various forms all have a service address of 43 St James Park Dr Brighton VIC 3186.

Could it be worse? Nothing ventured…

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You mention the $66.30 VCAT fee which you’ll have to pony up.
Do as i did when I took Foxtel to NCAT in Sydney: I added the NCAT fee of $61 to my claim, NCAT thought it was reasonable to do so, after all I wouldn’t be at NCAT but for Foxtel’s appalling customer service and Foxtel agreed to pay it.

In my experience at NCAT, the matter does not often drag on for multiple hearings. In order to succeed you must focus, laser like on your initial application to VCAT. Give that task your undivided attention. Once the Tribunal receives your application, it is processed and a copy is either sent to the people you’re taking on or you’ll be asked to send those people (Antenna) a copy of your application.

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That just goes to illustrate how important ABN’s are in helping to sort the wheat from the chaff, and the vermin in the chaff.

The “Current Details” for this ABN Lookup.

https://abr.business.gov.au/ABN/View?abn=73950988003

And the “Historical Details” for this ABN Lookup.

https://abr.business.gov.au/AbnHistory/View?id=73950988003

Some 13 or 14 “Business Names” and 1 or 2 “Trading Names” between 2007 and 2014. Sounds like confirmation of the old saying that it is harder to hit a moving target.