BBC Watchdog: A frosty reception...

Tony

What Consumer Founder
Apr 7, 2008
22,574
2
0
Bolton
#1
We all love sitting down to watch a spot of television so when things go wrong, it couldn't be more annoying. Ghosting, digital picture freeze, everything out of sync, it's frustrating to say the least. When it does all go wrong many people turn to the internet for help, which is where the Surrey based Television Aerial Company Ltd - also trading as TV Aerial Company and Satellites & Aerials and Aerialforce (UK) advertise heavily.





(Do you have something to say about this story? Tell us what you think by emailing us here. Don't forget to include 'Rogue trader' in the subject line. Watchdog will publish a selection of viewers' comments underneath each story, both throughout and after the programme is on air. Please remember to include your name as you would like to see it published).

Harry and Carol Kirby came across one of their adverts when they had a problem with their TV signal. The picture was pixilating and Harry knew to fix this, his satellite dish needed realigning. He called the TV Aerial Company and was quoted a £39 callout charge which included checking the alignment. Harry was at work when the technician arrived and was surprised when he received a phone call telling him he would need a new dish at a cost of £200, especially as his current dish wasn't even that old. As Harry was at work, and just wanted his TV working again, he agreed to have a new dish installed.

Harry's wife Carol was at home whilst the company did the work, she was shocked when she was presented with a final bill of £333 - considerably more than what she had been quoted. As she was alone in the house with her daughter, and thought the engineer wouldn't leave until she paid up she paid. The couple later complained and the company offered a refund of just £39 plus VAT (which didn't arrive until we got in touch with the company months later).

So it seems they are keen to replace parts, but are they always necessary? What we needed was some concrete evidence, so we set up two houses, both with satellite dishes in full working order, and both with homeowners who'd be lost if their TV's stopped working. Unfortunately for them expert Lee Mercer had been tinkering with their installations by moving them slightly so they were no longer pointing directly at the satellite. To fix the fault the trader simply needed to realign the dish by using a meter to gain a top-class signal.

The first installer, Steve, arrived at house one - a bungalow in Seaford. Barbara was playing the part of our homeowner in this house and she explained that she'd lost her satellite signal. Expert Lee Mercer who had created the fault by loosening the bolts reminded us that no new parts were needed, just a tightening of the bolts and a simple tweak of the dish. With the right equipment he said it shouldn't take more than five minutes. Steve climbed the ladder and gave the dish a quick wiggle before declaring Barbara's dish had gone and she needed a new one. He hadn't even tested it yet and we knew it worked just fine.

On a different day, at house two in Stansted, a second engineer arrived to inspect another dish, with the same fault on it as Barbara's. What would this engineer make of it? Well, he started off well by using his meter to check the signal strength, which was what he should have been doing. He asked our second homeowner Lucy if her dish had been knocked recently, also good, and that meant he may have guessed the problem. The installer fiddled with the dish and we got a picture. That's all he needed to do. But he wasn't quite finished, he told Lucy that her LNB (the receiver at the end of the arm on the dish) needed replacing because it wasn't working correctly, which wasn't true as expert Lee had tested it just moments before the engineer arrived and it was working fine.

So that's two houses, two engineers, two simple faults, two sets of unnecessary new parts fitted.

So what was the damage at house one? Steve told Barbara her dish was rotten, which it wasn't. According to our expert the dish worked fine, despite being a bit old, and if the engineer had just tested it he would have seen that. In total Barbara was charged £240, for a dish that simply needed moving back into position, a job which should have been covered by the call out charge.

But things had taken a different turn over at house two in Stansted, the engineer charged Lucy £46.80, just for the call out. For some reason the installer's decided not to charge for the new part.

So we've got one case of overcharging and one case of not, time to call them out one more time.

We set up house number three, and this time a new satellite and aerial installation expert helped us out - Keith Bail. He came up with a new problem, but it had nothing to do with the dish. Keith put a fault on the coax cable screw connector where it goes into the set top box, he took a braid off and twisted it round the middle. It was a common fault that does occur on these types of screw connectors. Keith told us we should expect to pay no more than the standard call out charge, usually between £40 - £50.

With Keith's short circuit in place, and the TV picture bust all we needed were the installers from the Television Aerial Company Ltd. When they arrived they introduced themselves and got to work, they knew the problem was with the set top box and told our actress Jean that it looked like one of the inputs had gone down, the engineer, Scott said this was serious and meant she would need a whole new box. Jean left the room to make a cup of tea and Scott sent his colleague to go and get a new box from the van. With everyone out of the room Scott fiddled with the cable and suddenly our TV burst into life. It looked like he had discovered the real problem.

Scott's colleague came back with the box and saw the television was on, he asked Scott if it was working again but Scott completely ignored him and switched off the TV quickly, just before our homeowner Jean came back into the room. He quickly installed the unnecessary new box. Jean asked Scott to leave the old box behind so she could show her son and Scott started to back track slightly, he told Jean that the old box might sometimes work as it could have an intermittent fault. He told her that if she can put up with it turning off and on constantly then she could still use it. It looked like Scott had covered his back there by saying the old box might still work. Time for the bill, we were charged a whopping £407.97 in total.

Keith examined Scott's handiwork after he left and confirmed our suspicions; we could clearly see that all the braid had been pulled back together, well clear of the centre. So Scott had found and fixed the problem but continued to tell us the fault was with the box and then went on to sell us a new one. A job that should have cost us £45 ended up as £407.

We wrote to the director of the Television Aerial Company Ltd, James Barnes. He wrote back and said he could not comment on our allegations without seeing the footage, but did say he was concerned the second engineer was giving away free stock. He also said all his engineers have a minimum of five years experience in the industry and adhere to strict guidelines. If they're found not to have followed correct procedure they are likely to face disciplinary action. He's also now sent Harry and Carol Kirby their refund (£39 plus VAT). He's also told us that Scott no longer works for the company.




A frosty reception...
 

DZVINNY

New Member
May 22, 2011
2
0
0
www.digitalsmart.co.uk
#2
Aerial force AKA the television aerial company limited have many websites and use many trading names.

It can be a nightmare for internet users looking for an aerial or satellite company to avoid these rogue traders, they seem to be using the internet for their main source of customers/victims.

The following is a list of websites which I have managed to identify as theirs there could well be more.

Websites include.
Obviously don’t want to promote these rogues in any positive way so the following are not links.

.ww.tvaerialcompany.co.uk

.ww.aerialforce.co.uk

.ww.satellitesandaerials.co.uk

and wait for it

.ww.eastlondonaerials.co.uk

.ww.maidstoneaerials.co.uk

.ww.redhillaerials.co.uk

.ww.southerncoastaerials.co.uk

.ww.readingaerials.co.uk

.ww.harrowaerials.co.uk

.ww.westlondonaerials.co.uk

.ww.northlondonaerials.co.uk

.ww.epsomaerials.co.uk

.ww.guildfordaerialsolutions.co.uk

.ww.camdenaerials.co.uk

.ww.batterseaaerials.co.uk

.ww.sloughaerials.co.uk

.ww.kentishtownaerials.co.uk

.ww.barnesaerials.co.uk

.ww.essexaerialsolutions.co.uk

.ww.witneyaerials.co.uk

.ww.didcotaerials.co.uk

.ww.ilfordaerials.co.uk

How to spot these rogues.
None of the websites controlled by aerialforce AKA the television aerial company limited carry the RDI-LB logo only registered digital installers can display the pink digital tick and or the digit-al robot.

So if you need an aerial installer and choose the internet to find one look out for RDI-LB installers they are licensed, qualified, insured and safe to do the Job.

Rogue traders have a page on their website for reporting rogues or surrey trading standards will add your complaint to the pile, the main company office is in Bourne House, Whyteleafe Surrey, aerialforce AKA the television aerial company Limited advertise nationally many of the above sites use mail forwarding services to hide the true identity.

P.s the picture on the rogue traders website is not actually James Barnes, not surprising really, the staff are so good at hiding who they really are they seem to forget their names.
 
#3
I have just started my own aerial and satellite company 'Doddington Aerials and Satellites' based in Sussex. I really work hard to ensure that my service is of the highest quality and that all my customers are happy with the work I carry out.

As in every industry there are companies in the aerial and satellite installations industry that are only out there to make money. But I think its also important to remember that there are good and honest traders too.

I hope this has not tarnished the aerial and satellite industry as the majoirty of us pride our seleves on offering a good service. With the digital switchover happening as we speak, I advise everyone to do their research if they are looking for any aerial or satellite work. A good company will offer to visit for free and quote for free. They should offer you a number of solutions to your request too.

Doddington Aerials and Satellites prides its self on a good quality service and I can only hope that others in the industry also do.
 

DZVINNY

New Member
May 22, 2011
2
0
0
www.digitalsmart.co.uk
#4
As in every industry there are companies in the aerial and satellite installations industry that are only out there to make money. But I think its also important to remember that there are good and honest traders too.

I hope this has not tarnished the aerial and satellite industry as the majoirty of us pride our seleves on offering a good service.
I agree but there is nothing wrong with making a profit, I don't think anyone minds this, it's when its made dishonestly that its wrong.

I think the public realize we are not all rogues in our industry but should be aware there are rogues out there, especially when the size of Aerial force.

Good luck with the new business,

Paul
Digital Smart Ltd.
 
#5
Hi Paul,

I completely agree with you! After all we all have to make a living! Thanks for wishing me luck. I have had a look at your website and it looks like you guys have done some really interesting installs, I particularly like the one with the gherkin in the background!

I noticed a cherry picker in being used in your photo’s, if you ever want to discuss a cost effective solution all round, my company specialises in abseiling to do installs, we find this does not only benefit the managing agents but all the end user too! Best of luck for the future!

Chris Doddington
 

symmetry

New Member
Mar 16, 2012
2
0
0
#6
The Tvaerialcompany just lightened me of 144 for the installation of a wfav 425 amplifier and diagnistic check, which took in all about 3o mins. The enginner said the amplifier cost £85. Infcat they are £20 on the internet. Not
 

symmetry

New Member
Mar 16, 2012
2
0
0
#7
The tvaerialcompany just lightened me of £144 for about 30mins work and a WFAV 425 aerial amplifier that costs £20. The engineer claimed the unit cost £85. Essentially I feel ripped off and would advice anybody else not to use them, as they are likely to perpuate much larger rips offs on unsuspecting consumers.
 

robbie.k

New Member
Nov 10, 2012
1
0
0
#8
I used this company only 2 days ago to install an aerial to receive free view in swindon. He produced a 12 element UHF aerial and eventually pointed it to the Seagry transmitter. Which is fine but only serves swindon and has 32 channels. The basic ones. He said that is need to buy a mast amplifier to receive the missing channels at a cost of £110 additional to the aerial and installation. I said I'd look into what other people in the are have done and make a decision from there. I wish I had done that before I called them. I should have been provided with a wideband aerial and pointed to either Men dip or Oxford transmitters in order to recueve the missing channels. May work without a mast amplifier if I'm lucky. If the engineer was local he should have known this, it only took me 5 minutes on Google to see what I needed. I was told the aerial I purchased cost £85. I found the exact same one in a shop for £9.99. And is only to be used in areas with strong TV signals. Its big sister cost £45 and is wideband and is to be used in weak areas.... that's me! So I've paid £120 for kit I could have got at maplins for £20. I'll be calling them tomorrow, see if I can get it sorted, not hoping it'll work tho. I'm really disappointed, I trusted their knowledge. I would have honestly done a better job myself had I known what I needed.
 
Oct 13, 2014
1
0
0
#9
i used this company in the last few weeks and have been gobsmacked by their unprofessional attitdue and incomptence.

i've just moved in to a new proprty and wasn't getting a great signal from one aerial to the living room. one of the aerials in the loft worked fine so i knew what needed to be done, connect the existing living room cable to the good aerial.

the visit got off to bad start as the first thing the engineer did was take himself off to my bathroom for a dump for 10 minutes and subsequently broke my toulet seat (snapped). I explained the problem to the engineer who said that the existing tv points were useless and i needed new points (without testing them). i agreed to the new points and a disto box in the loft.

once the engineer had finished i paid the £150 and was told all was sorted. he didn't retune my tvs or check any of the signals despite this being listed in the invoice. i tried to tune both TV's and found out only one was recieving all channels but still with a sketchy reception on some channels and the other was getting no signal. i went up to the loft and found the distro box just hanging in mid air and the one TV point not even connected or with a coaxl end on. i contacted the conmapny and asked for them to return and a visit was arranged for 2 days following whereby i had to wait in again for a day for them to arrive. The engineer didn't show up! i emailed the cusomter services department saying that i wanted a refund and they quickly rang me sayign that unfortunately the engineer had ben held up and couldn't make it today and would i like to rearrange. i pointed out that i'd emailed 30 mins previously requesting a refund, which they didn't acknowledge.

cutting to the chase i've now been passed around by 3 different people at the business over a three week period who have tried to convince me to rearrange the appointment and said that a refund can only happen if they can come in a retrieve their kit, which i've said is fine. i' m still yet to hear from anyone....... if anyone has the MD's contact details it would be much appreciated.
 

funnygirl

New Member
Nov 27, 2014
1
0
0
#10
Yup, I am another victim of ignorance really. I checked reviews for this company and they were all good. I wanted a satellite cable moved to a different corner of the room. The guy said it was blah blah per cable x 2, so many feet of cable, +vat. I agreed and the work went ahead. He didn't check to see if it was working and scooted off, job done within about 30 minutes....with £144 of my money.

I realised afterwards that it was only one cable (twin, welded to each other) so I had paid double the price. I am going to have a go at complaining but I don't hold out much hope. It would be helpful if anyone has the name of the CEO to post it up here. Thanks
 
Apr 18, 2012
4
0
0
#11
I have just started my own aerial and satellite company 'Doddington Aerials and Satellites' based in Sussex. I really work hard to ensure that my service is of the highest quality and that all my customers are happy with the work I carry out.

As in every industry there are companies in the aerial and satellite installations industry that are only out there to make money. But I think its also important to remember that there are good and honest traders too.

I hope this has not tarnished the aerial and satellite industry as the majoirty of us pride our seleves on offering a good service. With the digital switchover happening as we speak, I advise everyone to do their research if they are looking for any aerial or satellite work. A good company will offer to visit for free and quote for free. They should offer you a number of solutions to your request too.

Doddington Aerials and Satellites prides its self on a good quality service and I can only hope that others in the industry also do.
I'm in the same situation as yourself but I've spent 10 years building my well respected business, I'm now getting complaints about not turning up and shoddy & overcharged work, I googled myself "Long Buckby Aerials" and found this lot using my registered company name with their phone number to advertise, so people were booking them thinking it was me and then complaining to me! this is ruining my reputation.
 
Apr 18, 2012
4
0
0
#12
Yup, I am another victim of ignorance really. I checked reviews for this company and they were all good. I wanted a satellite cable moved to a different corner of the room. The guy said it was blah blah per cable x 2, so many feet of cable, +vat. I agreed and the work went ahead. He didn't check to see if it was working and scooted off, job done within about 30 minutes....with £144 of my money.

I realised afterwards that it was only one cable (twin, welded to each other) so I had paid double the price. I am going to have a go at complaining but I don't hold out much hope. It would be helpful if anyone has the name of the CEO to post it up here. Thanks
Domain name:
aerialforce

Registrant:
Gary Manning

Registrant type:
UK Individual

Registrant's address:
TV Aerial Company
Office 20-21
Bourne House
475 Godstone Road
Whyteleafe
Surrey
CR30BL
United Kingdom

Data validation:
Registrant contact details validated by Nominet on 10-Dec-2012


Relevant dates:
Registered on: 14-Dec-2007
Expiry date: 14-Dec-2022
Last updated: 13-Nov-2013

Registration status:
Registered until expiry date.




--
 
Apr 18, 2012
4
0
0
#13
It now appears their latest trick is riding on the reputation of honest businesses, I spent 10 years building my business, I have an excellent reputation, all of a sudden I've started getting calls from angry people saying I've not turned up, or the job I did was a mess, or I ripped them off! these people I've never spoken to or had dealings with.
Someone tells his neighbour "Oh you should call (My business name) they did my aerial and I'm very pleased" the prospective customer googles my business, finds the business name at the top of the page and calls me, unfortunately they don't get me they get "The Aerial Company" still thinking they're talking to my staff they book the job and get either let down or well & truly stitched up, then they find the correct number and call me thinking I did the job! Insisting it was my office they booked with.

The Listing on the internet is

(MY BUSINESS NAME) same/next day service

ww.aerialforce etc

In effect they are imitating legitimate honest businesses in order to steal their work.

They don't care about their customers, they don't care who they tread on and if you complain to them they fob you off with excuses and lies. I would strongly advise customers to ask questions and ensure the van that turns up has the livery of the business they intended to book on it.
 

MKSV

New Member
May 25, 2015
1
0
0
#14
My business has just had a run in with Aerial Force.

We were contacted by a prospective client on Friday afternoon to install a TV on the wall. We discussed the price over the phone and the client agreed so we arranged an appointment for the next day. I then told the client to visit our website and submit his details (which never arrived).

The following day my client rang me to ask what was happening and is somebody coming or not? I said yes ofcourse I have your appointment booked for 2pm in the afternoon. My client then told me that ever since our conversation on Friday he has been receiving calls from a woman in my office telling him that our engineer is running late but he will be with you soon. My client was confused because the appointment was booked for Saturday @ 2pm - not Friday! Anyway, the engineer never arrived on Friday and the calls started again on Saturday morning which is when my client called me. I explained that we do not have a women working in our office and he must have arranged something with another company. My client was adamant that he only spoke with me and he knew my voice, he said he had no reason to call any other company. I then advised my client to ignore the other caller and I re-confirmed that I will arrive at 2pm as agreed. However, he should submit his details via our website as I have not received them. My client respond that he did it 100% yesterday. I told him that they never arrived so could he do it again today and he agreed.

So, the day progresses and I arrive at my client's address at 1.50pm. My client greats me at the door and proceeds to tell me tat he has been receiving endless calls from a company called Aerial Force. The were telling him that I was not coming so they are sending a guy called Lawrence instead. Naturally I was very intrigued and said "OK, I look forward to meeting Lawrence, if he actually arrives!" A few minutes later I was outside the house taking tools from my van when I saw this Aerial Force van come to a screeching halt outside my clients property. My client came out and I stood next to my client to here the conversation. The AF guy said "hello, I've come to install your TV." My client replied, "Who are you? What company are you from? My engineer that I booked is already here, standing at my side!" The AF engineer replied "I came to see you yesterday and I left you with a quote." My Client responded "I have never seen you before in my life and I have never heard of your company!" I then chipped in and said "look mate, my tools are already in his lounge, you're too late!" The AF guy then told me to shut the f*ck up! And proceeded to barter with my client on price by saying he was £5.00 cheaper than me. Both myself and my client were dumbfounded by this guys continued and undiminished arrogance even in the face of absolute rejection. He went on to say how his company was the biggest in the UK and my client should use him etc, etc. He just kept on pushing my client to make a decision...even after being told to go away! I asked the guy how he got my clients details and my client also asked the same question repeatedly but we got no reply. the confrontation lasted about 5-8 minutes and eventually realising that he was not going to get the job the AF guy walked back to his van whilst calling me a w*nker and making rude gestures. Shortly after this my client receive a call from a man from the Aerial Force office. I'm not sure what was said but my client told me that they wanted to charge him a cancellation fee and then unloaded a mouthful of abuse down the phone at him.

Additionally, my client checked his internet history and there was no evidence of him visiting Aerial Force at any time. He found date and time stamps of visiting my site only. He said that when he typed "TV wall mounting" in to the search engine that Aerial Force don't show at all. Moreover, when he visited my site on Friday to submit his details he never got any acknowledgement back but on Saturday he did. It seems that Aerial Force may be cloning my site or somehow re-directing our clients away from our contact page.

I have reported the matter to the police and will be following this up with Action Fraud as well as our communications provider. I want to know A) how did they obtained my client's details? B) how did they know the price I quoted and what job I was requested to do? C) How did they know what time I would be arriving at my client's address? Please bear in mind that I only spoke with my client by phone but Aerial Force knew everything regarding this job. Something very illegal is happening here and I think they are at best hacking company websites and/or at worst hacking our phone systems. Without doubt they are doing something extremely illegal which is beyond any comprehension for any honest business. The fact that the AF guy became abusive when he realised he'd lost the job also confirms he knows something about their practices because any normal company would be apologetic for the confusion.

I have recently noticed that Aerial Force have a new website and are proudly making bold statements that they can beat any quote as well as advertising for more engineers even in the face of a declining market. This is very interesting and such price confidence and company expansion can only be guaranteed if you already know what your competitors are charging and you have the bare faced arrogance to deceive a client by masquerading as the original company right up to the point when the Aerial Force van arrives at your door, even then the AF guy (Lawrence) I met never announced what company he was from so any unsuspecting client would invite them in and think they are dealing with the original company whom they appointed for the job.
 

AnonAn

New Member
Nov 25, 2016
1
0
0
#15
Extremely Bad.
(Aerialforce).

Only wanted a quote, but it was not made clear it would cost anything.
Nasty salesman came round late (the following day, not when stated, and at least 45 minutes late).
Went ahead with minimal “work” for around 5 minutes, without asking.
Handed a quote and invoice on same paper AFTERWARDS (making whole transaction illegal).
Wouldn't leave until paid, becoming aggressive.
Did not inform customer of Cancellation of Contract rights, either verbally or written (second opinion received from another company-Action Aerials), making transaction ILLEGAL-AGAIN.
No reply from company, after 4 weeks and repeated emails.
They are not a member of the Ombudsman.
They are not a member of Check-a-Trade.
They are not a member of Resolver.
They are not a “same day service”, despite what it says on the website.
Different part fitted than stated on the invoice.
Attenuator does not function very well.
COMPANY NOT RECOMMENDED.
 
Jul 15, 2017
1
0
0
#16
Waited for 5 hours for the Engineer not to turn up. Not even a call to say they were going to be delayed. This company have been on Watchdog for their poor service. I imagine that all the positive reviews are fake. Go elsewhere.