Beware of Yellow Pages!

I’ve said all this before, but I think it’s worth saying again, many people around here, and elsewhere no doubt, are being ripped off by companies claiming to be local, turning up from many miles away, installing the cheapest and nastiest aerial components and charging the earth for something that doesn’t work. I do my best to warn against these companies but by the time I’m called out to put it right the financial damage is done.

A couple of recent examples:

Called to a customer in Watchet, she was new to the area and resorted to Yellow Pages to find a local aerial installer. She found a company advertising several local numbers, one of them 01984, so she thought she was getting someone from Watchet. When he arrived it turned out he was from Bournmouth, he installed a totally inadequate aerial and charged her nearly £200, cost to him was about £25 plus travelling! He then told her it was not possible to receive the Mendip transmitter where she lived and would have to put up with Welsh…or get a satellite dish.

So I’m called out by her on recommendation from one of her friends, the first thing I noticed was the cheap and tiny aerial, immediately realising the company that had installed it. Measuring her signal she was getting an almost acceptable signal from Mendip, just not quite enough for reliable reception. Had he used a higher gain aerial it would have been fine, but I believe the only aerials they carry are the very cheap log periodics I see going up all around here. They are just not up to the job in this area.

It doesn’t help the public that they advertise very cheap installations (from £39.95) and then hit the customer for three or four times the amount.

Example two was in Carhampton where the same company had tried to get Mendip with the same inadequate aerial, this time they charged over £200 to put the tiny aerial up using the existing pole and cable. Obviously it didn’t work, in this area of Carhampton only Wenvoe in Wales and the local relay at Eastbury Hill are reliable. These can be combined to give full Freeview lineup if you know what you’re doing.

It was easily put right though, the small aerial was turned around to point at Wenvoe and a decent aerial added on the pole pointing at Eastbury Hill, this has worked reliably ever since.

In both these cases…and many more, they ended up paying twice as much as they should have done, once to have it installed, and again to have it done properly!