Couple baffled by insulation claim
A GRAFTON couple was left baffled after receiving a letter congratulating them on having insulation installed in their house.
What insulation, the couple thought.
They didn’t have to check the ceiling cavity to know nothing had been installed.
The letter from the Federal Government went on to say that their installer, who was not named in the letter, had now been paid the $1600 rebate for their services.
They arranged an installation, based on a quote of $2153, in July.
But the couple later decided not to go ahead with the insulation because of things they’d heard and witnessed about the company, which cannot be named due to legal reasons.
“There were a few things. Red flags were flying,” the woman said.
“We knew we could cancel up to 48 hours before the installation to avoid paying a $250 cancellation fee. It was certainly before that.”
Fast forward to mid-October and the couple received the letter mentioned above.
“I rang the Government hotline on the letter and told them about how we had not received any insulation,” the woman said.
“They told us the only way that an installer could be paid was if we’d signed paperwork saying the works had been done.
“They advised us to call (the company) and try and sort something out,” the woman’s husband said.
The woman, who kept a diary of her correspondence with the company, said the manager of the firm initially explained they had installed a large volume of insulation but only had problems with a small number.
Upon trying to get insulation installed with another company, the couple were told that nothing could be done until the wrongly paid rebate situation had been rectified.
When the woman rang the first company pressing for a solution to the situation, the manager ‘kept hanging up’ on her, she said.
Similar problems have also been encountered locally with insulators in Lismore facing phantom insulations, allegedly performed by the same company causing damage in Grafton.
“I have been called out to houses to do an insulation job and the house had already been claimed for a rebate when it had had no previous insulation done,” Geoff Hourigan of The Insulation Man, said.
Another local insulator has answered the calls of victims of dodgy operations installed by the same company mentioned above.
“I was called to a house where a man was worried about his insulation job,” The Woolmen Insulators manager Merv Hourigan (no relation) said.
“They had been overcharged for the insulation of their entire house, and when I inspected it only a portion of the house had been insulated.
“We measured it and it did not match up and they had boosted the price.
“The residents were upset at the thought they had been ripped off,” Mr Hourigan said.
Information received by The Northern Star said the company at fault in each situation was under investigation by the Australian Federal Police.
The AFP refused to confirm the investigation.
The office of the newly-appointed Environment Minister, Greg Combet, also refused to comment on individual companies facing investigation, although his ministerial statement last week indicated one company in Northern NSW was under the microscope.
“As an example of the nature of the compliance issues being dealt with by the department, one company in Northern NSW, which has claimed $9.6 million under the program, is being investigated in relation to over 100 complaints concerning electrification of foil insulation, dangerous electrical practices, damage to ceilings and roof coverings as well as phantom installations,” Mr Combet said.
The North Coast company at fault was asked if it was under investigation by the Federal Police.
“No,” a company spokesperson said.
“The Prime Minister and Mr Combet can come and audit us any time.”