Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fleecing satellites

One irritant about living in Spain is having to rely on huge satellite dishes for our TV. Southern Spain is right on the edge of the satellite footprint for Sky and Freeview and a 1.1m dish is required to get a sufficient signal. Even then it has to be perfectly aligned and some bad weather can interrupt your signal (normally when an important football match is on).

But we should count out our blessings I suppose as at least for most of the time we have TV just like at home. This reliance on satellite does of course mean there has long been an army of tradesmen specialising in satellite sales, repairs and installations. They are mostly one man bands and of varying quality and trustfulness. With the bad apples it's not so much a case of not knowing their stuff but not being reliable and sometimes taking advantage. I got a phone call recently from a distressed Brit who had just been ripped off by a cowboy satellite man. His picture had gone on the blink and the man convinced him he needed to buy a new set top box and charged him 170€ for a Freeview one. It worked OK for a while but just before Xmas last year went on the blink just as his grandkids arrived expecting their fill of CBeebeies and seasonal films. Naturally enough the John Wayne of the satellite dish world failed to show up or even answer calls. My caller asked another satellite man to take a look and he realised at once that the dish simply needed realigning and fixing in place to improve the signal. The original joker had simply wanted to sell an unneeded box for an inflated price (about 300% mark-up).
It's hard to know how to protect yourself in this situation. The said cowboy advertised prominently and had been active in the area for some time and was still a rip-off merchant. If you can't get a personal recommendation perhaps contact a British estate agent or letting agent for an opinion as they deal with these engineers all the time and won't put up with monkeys taking the mickey. If anyone living in the Baza area wants the name of the man to be avoided let me know. I never did work out what that song "Sleeping Satellites" was about.

No comments:

Post a Comment

OctoFinder Blog and ping Spanish Insight - Blogged