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Old 30.04.2011, 16:27
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Is there a site for publicising rip-offs?

Does anyone know of a website for warning people of rip-off merchants in Switzerland? There have been several times when I have wished I could let off steam about some shameless rip-off or overpriced product (see recent rip-off story below). Particularly when tradesmen or professionals shamelessly take advantage of punters who are too ignorant or too soft to argue or complain.

If there is no such thing, then maybe someone should start one. Would there be any legal problem in hosting a site where people name and shame companies rip-offs for poor service?

The example I mentioned: our elderly neighbours had a problem with their electric garage door the other day. They are in their late 80s and they can't open it by hand. They don't have a car, but they keep tinned food and stuff in the garage. The electric door-opener was installed a couple of months ago by a local firm. Then another neighbour opened the door manually (not realising that the electric mechanism had been installed), and dislocated the lifting chain, so that the door wouldn't open electrically any more. The neighbours called the installers, who said they had a man in the area anyway, and he would be able to pop in and reset it for them. Sure enough, the man turned up the following morning, and was here for about twenty minutes (one minute to reset the mechanism and nineteen minutes to chat about the weather). Two weeks later he sent them a bill for CHF154. Needless to say, even though they were shocked to receive a bill, our neighbours paid up straight away and without a murmur.

I'm sure that this is very tame example, but it made me seethe.
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Old 30.04.2011, 16:32
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Re: Is there a site for publicising rip-offs?

So the neighbour broke the door, and it cost (a reasonable) CHF154 to fix...

Where is the rip off ? Why isn't the neighbour paying ?
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Old 30.04.2011, 16:35
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Re: Is there a site for publicising rip-offs?

To be honest I don't think there is much you can do about it. It sounds like a pretty standard rate; engineers seem to be charging anything between 200 and 300 francs an hour call out.

There's not much concession for the elderly, that I have seen anyway. They have to pay up the full charge, same as anyone else.

If they had charged the couple that rate then buggered off without fixing it, you would probably be within your rights to shout about it but, as far as I can see, they didn't do anything wrong apart from having high (but normal for here) rates.

Welcome to Switzerland.
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Old 30.04.2011, 16:36
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Re: Is there a site for publicising rip-offs?

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Does anyone know of a website for warning people of rip-off merchants in Switzerland? .
You can look them up all here:

http://www.directories.ch
;-)

Seriously, what you describe is perfectly normal.
I wouldn't even call it a "rip-off".
It's not that the garage-door dislocated itself. It was damaged by somebody.
Somebody else had to devote time and resources to repair it.
That has its price.
The old couple should have given the bill to the person responsible for the damage.
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Old 30.04.2011, 17:23
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Re: Is there a site for publicising rip-offs?

Sorry, explained it badly. The door wasn't damaged. These things are designed so that they can be simply clicked back in if someone opens the door manually (sensible, really). So the guy just came and clicked it in. Literally a few seconds of a job.

The point was that he had said he was in the area anyway, and would just pop in and reset it for them. And he had only installed it a couple of months previously. But then he charged them the full call-out fee and half an hour labour. I know that this particular case is not a big deal, but it just occurred to me that some kind of review site (maybe good as well as bad reviews) might make businesses sharpen up their customer service...
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Old 30.04.2011, 17:29
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Re: Is there a site for publicising rip-offs?

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Sorry, explained it badly. The door wasn't damaged. These things are designed so that they can be simply clicked back in if someone opens the door manually (sensible, really). So the guy just came and clicked it in. Literally a few seconds of a job.

The point was that he had said he was in the area anyway, and would just pop in and reset it for them. And he had only installed it a couple of months previously. But then he charged them the full call-out fee and half an hour labour. I know that this particular case is not a big deal, but it just occurred to me that some kind of review site (maybe good as well as bad reviews) might make businesses sharpen up their customer service...
A site is a good idea, but one to teach good consumerism, consumer rights and how to avoid being ripped off in general. Pitfalls and general navigation of the Swiss Consumer world. Name and shame sites would be a legal nightmare here, onus of proof etc.
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Old 30.04.2011, 17:39
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Re: Is there a site for publicising rip-offs?

Ah, sorry. Forgot about this one:
http://www.kassensturz.sf.tv/
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Old 30.04.2011, 17:41
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Re: Is there a site for publicising rip-offs?

I think it is unfortunately pretty standard. He was wrong to tell them he was in the area and maybe implying a discount.
But even here in sunny California they charge you $90 just to come look at your problem (plumbing, heater etc...). Repair is extra.
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Old 30.04.2011, 17:51
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Re: Is there a site for publicising rip-offs?

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But even here in sunny California they charge you $90 just to come look at your problem (plumbing, heater etc...). Repair is extra.
Exactly. My dad was furious with my mom once because the washing machine wouldn't wash the clothing. It just filled up and stopped working. The service man came, took one look at it and turned off the "soak" button that my mother had mistakenly pushed. It was a $50 lesson on how to use the "soak" button on the washing machine.
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Old 30.04.2011, 17:54
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Re: Is there a site for publicising rip-offs?

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Ah, sorry. Forgot about this one:
http://www.kassensturz.sf.tv/
Thanks. Had a look at the forum, but it seems to be heavily moderated (despite the big disclaimer about Kassensturz not taking responsibility for forum postings), and lots of contributions have been deleted. So maybe rather tame. Or maybe not the place to air opinions about specific incidents.
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Old 30.04.2011, 17:56
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Re: Is there a site for publicising rip-offs?

I think they, too, sometimes have 'brushes' with the legal eagles.
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Old 30.04.2011, 18:02
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Re: Is there a site for publicising rip-offs?

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Thanks. Had a look at the forum, but it seems to be heavily moderated
Don't you just hate that..!
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and lots of contributions have been deleted.
if you only knew..
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