SimDragon's Journal

Monday, July 12, 2010

I now understand first hand why the Australian government pulled the plug on their Home Insulation scheme, whereby they were offering $1200 worth of insulation free to householders.

We already had insulation. It was old, but it was doing its job - having rented places without insulation, I know you can certainly tell when there isn't insulation! So when Marcos told me a company had phoned his mobile and offered to install free insulation, and he agreed and set a time and date with them to do so, I was surprised and a little concerned about what we could expect from a company that had cold called us.

When they arrived, I told them we already had insulation. They said that if it was more than 10 years old, then we were still entitled to the free insulation. They had tshirts on that said "The Insulation People", so I did a quick search, found their website which said they were government accredited, and checked the government website and found that yes, their company was in fact listed. So, a little mollified that they did seem legitimate, we agreed to them going ahead.

They said it would take about an hour. It took more like 3. There were 3 installers, one of which spent the whole time sleeping in the van while the other 2 did the work. They left quite a mess when the finally completed the work.

That was in February. We finally had a government inspection on 6th July 2010, and the results were not good. While there were no safety issues, there were plenty of other issues. The written report said "Many small to large bare areas throughout the roof space, very poor quality work generally. Below R3.5 insulation used in areas."

The inspector told me that it looked like a 5 year old had installed the insulation, and that he normally takes 30 photos during an inspection, but he took 87 photos of ours, there were that many issues...

The next step was to try phoning the Insulation People to get them to come out and fix the issues. I tried phoning the Director, Siraj, since it is his mobile number that is advertised as the company phone number. He fobbed me off - he took my name and number and said he would get someone local to call me back in the next 5 - 10 minutes. That was 6 days ago. The next day, Wednesday, I sent an email through their website with the details of the report, again requesting they get in touch and rectify it. Nothing.

This morning (July 12th) I tried phoning Siraj again. No answer. No answering service even. His number was unreachable. Hmmm. Did I mention that his phone number is the only one advertised for his business?

So I've now phoned the government's energy efficiency hotline and lodged a complaint about the business. Unfortunately, that's all we can do. Because there is no safety issue, the government won't take any responsibility for fixing it. They advised us to contact a licensed installer (which these guys were - they are government accredited!) and pay at our own expense for the job to be redone...

What I'd like to know is this: why didn't the government inspect the work *before* handing dodgy companies like this their $1200? Surely a lot of problems would have been avoided if a condition of claiming the rebate was the work actually meeting the government standard?