What else can go bad?

Well, sometimes I wonder whether there’s a black cloud up there with my name on it. I have four serious things on the go at the moment, and things are looking a bit tough.
1. Bloody banks. I thought I was applying for a simple overdraft to get me through the house sale period. That’s what I asked for – a line of credit.
Certainly Mr Croft, how much would you like? Oh, no more than a few thou, I said.

OK, no problem, the minimum is $10,000 (later, actually the min is $20,000). OK, fine I said.

So a card turns up last week and I activate it and get a PIN. But every time I try to use it, it’s DECLINED. Embarrassing. What’s going on?

After phone calls to the bank not answered and not returned, I’m eventually told the paperwork has to be signed and was sent last Friday. This was Wednesday. Nothing had arrived.

Yesterday the papers turned up (wet, 5 days later) and I find it’s actually a Reverse Mortgage Application! I have to sign a declaration that I’ve sought and taken independent legal advice. No way! That would cost me about $350 at least, and I’m not signing it without doing it.

So I phone the guy, get his answering machine and he hasn’t returned my call since yesterday.

As well, I find that the fees to set this up amount to about $1300 and interest is charged from day one.

Bloody hell! So that avenue is ruled out. A credit card is cheaper. Grrr. They’re going to lose my business over this. I already have another credit society account.

2. You may remember my torturous experience with the Carpet Call company, where a gorilla carpet layer forced me to leave my furniture outside all weekend in July and mistreated Minnie.

And an advertisement that said “Carpet your whole house for $2,000” turned out to be near $4,000.

It turned out an utter disaster. Of course I documented it all, photographed it all and have four witnesses to the rotten way I was treated.

I wrote a VERY restrained (on advice) letter of complaint and sent it on 21 August. After two weeks I got a phone call from the local manager I’d dealt with asking me to submit the documentation again (i.e. he’d lost or binned my originals).

I heard no more, so last week I emailed asking why, and saying if I didn’t hear from him before the end of this month, i.e. today, I’d go to the Department of Fair Trading.

Still no response until today, when I got a phone call from a bloke called Jacob at Carpet Call head office.

He accused me of having “an altercation” with the carpet layer, not having the house 100% cleared as required in the contract and said there will be no compensation. That’s it.

Bloody hell! I thought the treatment I’d got was bad already, but this is bad upon bad.

OK, mate. You underestimate me. You don’t know who you’re dealing with. I said I had photos, documentation and witnesses but he wasn’t interested.

So, Carpet Call, prepare yourselves. I don’t give up. I’m full of ideas.

3. You may remember I wrote about the Malaysian Chinese guy who took my $12,000 investment in his company in 2003, and similar or bigger amounts from other “friends”, and has done nothing with it except maintain his patents and pay himself a salary.

Well, it’s a public company with shareholders and comes under the supervision of ASIC. As a shareholder, I’m entitled to information about the company. He’s required by law to answer my requests.

Four letters since June have gone unanswered. Emails are blocked as spam. Text messages are not answered. He’s blocked me out. He’s in breach of the law.

So I’ve lodged a Breach and Misconduct report with the ASIC. They’ve phoned me asking for copies of correspondence, which I have, of course, so now they have it all.

One interesting point is that the former company secretary told me in writing that he resigned his position several years ago, yet he is still listed on ASIC’s web site as holding that position. Huh? And all the company directors now reside at the same address as the man himself.

This will be interesting. As I told him in my last letter, I don’t give up. This is a substantial sum of money that he’s taken from me and his other investors. I would suggest that he keep a bag packed, as I strongly suspect he’ll have to make a hasty exit back to Malaysia.

That shouldn’t worry him, because he’s told me in emails that he hates immigrants, especially refugees, how superior Chinese people like him are over “white people” and that he is above us. In writing. I have it all. Silly man.

4. My other substantial investment has also gone very bad. Regardless of right or wrong, my funds are locked up for a long time and for legal reasons, I can’t access the investment. I very much doubt I’ll ever be able to. In this case, I may as well walk away.

I can’t say more at the moment. I’ll know more in a couple of weeks.

All I can say is, trust your instincts. Listen to your inner voice. If it’s ringing the warning, heed it. I thought it would be OK.

5. Finally, my back fence neighbours have a backyard wood fired pizza oven and although I’ve complained in writing about having to breathe their smoke, they are taking no notice. They like loud parties and bright lights shining in my eyes. Very unpleasant people. I think a sprinkler will be required next time, but I hate it!

So all in all, life seems to get harder rather than easier. It’s lucky I’m feeling so chipper.

And in the supreme irony, after 12 years of unsuccessful attempts to get high speed land line broadband internet, including three letters to ministers, the last one unanswered, a flyer dropped into my letterbox a few days ago.

It’s from Telstra. “We’ve upgraded our equipment in your street. Now you can have high speed ADSL2+ broadband.”  Only $105 per month.

Aaaaargh. Just when I’m planning to move. Anyway, I can’t afford those fees. There’ll be huge setup and connection fees as well. Too late for me.

Oh, nearly forgot, I also got a letter from the Transition to Digital TV Switchover people offering me a free digital set top box.

They must be joking. I’ve spent around $1400 since 2000 on three set top boxes. The first was a Thomson HD model in 2001 with physical switches for all the different standards of the time – $720. The second was a computer plug-in card (never really worked) so that I could get digital TV on a big screen from my PC, about $150; and the third was a Philips HD type with HDMI connection, $240 in 2007, now sitting in a box on the floor. It might get used if I could get a decent antenna feed!

Then there was the first Panasonic Digital HD recorder in about 2001, but only with analogue tuner (given away to a friend); then a new one in 2005 to get digital channels, but only SD and only one channel (now sitting idle with a faulty DVD drive); and now this year the third, a Panasonic dual HD tuner model bought especially for the Jubilee and the Olympics.

All in all, that’s about $2,200 for recorders, $1,400 for STBs and $1,500 for successive LCD TVs since 2007.

Oh, and the guv’ment are offering to ensure I can get digital reception on my antenna. That’s good, I said, because I had no reception at all for about 5 days last week., including while I was on the phone to them. No signal. It’s back now, ironically due to the big winds we’ve been having.

An antenna company is supposed to phone me to arrange a good solid connection. That’s good, I said, because although I’m a tech, I can’t physically do things like that any more. And this location is the black hole, the Bermuda Triangle of TV and wireless internet reception!

But I’ve had no call, and I bet I’ll be walking out the door of this house on my way to St Ives before they do call. Just like ADSL.

What else can go wrong? More heart trouble? Probably be my luck. Uh oh.


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