Do you have a pressing problem, annoying anxiety or community conundrum? Jasminda Featherlight, our resident roving Agony Aunt, is here to help. Jasminda will be responding to questions from our News Of The Area papers on a rotating basis. Send your concerns to Jasminda care of email@example.com and include your title, initials and suburb.
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I have a community anxiety. Recently I was given a written quote for “tinting” on my sunroom windows. I accepted the written quote and went ahead. I was suspicious at the time as the “guy” said: “I like to use my brain to work out the amount required to cover the windows”. I accepted the quote. After the job was completed, by the daughter, dad disappeared. On return dad said: “I got into trouble from the boss for not using the calculator instead of my brain.” Ho! ho! did I see him coming? He doubled the amount. How often does this happen to women? And do we need to pay a little more? Why are our local tradesmen crooks? Does it happen to men so often?
SA, Fingal Bay
I’m going to try and merge my Netflix binging with some good advice. Recently, I’ve been watching Cosmetic Surgery Disasters (or some equally captivating title) which is hosted by the same guy who does the Embarrassing Bodies show (as an aside, who in their right mind would allow their infected anal fistula to be broadcast to the world?). Bear with me, SA. I know this appears to be an even wilder segue than I usually take, but bear with me.
Let’s take the common boob job. Surgeon A says it will cost $14,000 plus the anaesthetist ($1,500) and then a couple of grand for any unforeseen issues that arise. Surgeon B says you can look like Jessica Rabbit and they’ll throw in return flights to Thailand, five-star accommodation, a round-the-clock medical team and some carafes of lime-green alcohol that you can sip, poolside, even though you’re attached to a drip and swaddled in bandages. The thing is, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
In relation to your particular issue with tradesmen, I would suggest that you always tell them that you work for the ATO. This scares the bejesus out of them. You watch how quickly their conversation moves from ‘do and charge’ to ‘verified quote’ when you start throwing in a line about Nigel from the tax department and how his current focus is on window tinting experts (following last year’s crack down on hair tinting professionals).
On a more serious note, if you have a written quote, say: ‘Look Mr Tinter, I don’t want to get between you or your boss or your calculator or your brain. It’s not my fault that you can’t do basic calculations, that’s your business. I’ve accepted the quote and that’s what I’m paying.’ He doesn’t have a leg to stand on.