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Transcript: Where Are They Now? - Consume This podcast

Jon Duffy & Sophie Stewart catch up with four of our favourite stories from previous seasons, starring:

Jon Duffy: Kia ora and welcome. Consume This is back for our fourth season with myself, Jon Duffy and my co-host Sophie Richardson. She's sitting right here. How are you, Sophie?

Sophie Stewart: Good.

Jon Duffy: Good.

Sophie Stewart: Excited.

Jon Duffy: It's great to be back. Yes, we are excited. We have some huge, enormous adventure packed episodes coming up this season. For example, we'll be pick unpicking the electricity market. We'll be taking on the Disputes Tribunal, and frothing over how the price of beer laid the groundwork for the consumer movement in New Zealand. But before we push ahead into all that good stuff, we thought it would be a good time to revisit some of your favourite stories from the last three seasons.

This is very reminiscent of old episodes, old reruns of M*A*S*H where they used to mash together clips from all their previous episodes, so they didn't have to film anything for the episode they were doing. But we have actually made some effort on this one team.

So in season one. You shared some experiences with us Soph around your experience with car ownership and ridesharing.

Sophie Stewart: Mm-hmm.

Jon Duffy: When we talked about it, you were giving up your car in favor of using ridesharing services. So tell us a bit about that and where you've got to with it.

Sophie Stewart: So, I'd sold my car and I was a Mevo user, and I still kind of am. So Mevo had become our like main form of transport for like sort of daily trips, if we had to go somewhere different. But you know, I'd catch the bus to and from work, but Mevo if I need to go to the supermarket or we were going to see friends or anything like that.

And we got into a bit of a, a, a howdy doody with, with Mevo.

Jon Duffy: A Howie doody.

Sophie Stewart: Yeah.

Jon Duffy: That's illegal term, eh?

Sophie Stewart: Yeah, it is. Yeah um, it's a whosie-whatsit of a legal term. And, uh, Callum reversed into a pole.

Jon Duffy: Callum!

Sophie Stewart: Yeah. Which, you know, under normal circumstances, you're like, oh 🙄 silly Billy, you know, reversed into a pole. The dent was probably about the size of like an avocado, and there were a couple of scratches. That was it.

We spoke to Mevo and Mevo, were like, cool, we'll go and get that assessed by our assessor. And they sent it away and I said, great can you just send us a quote for how much you think the repairs are gonna cost?

Bit of context. Callum has also previously driven, uh, our friend Janet's car into a wheelie bin. Um, so...

Jon Duffy: Callum, um, you're marrying Callum eh?

Sophie Stewart: Yeah, yeah, yeah. In, um, in a month's time.

Jon Duffy: Nice, nice.

Sophie Stewart: Yeah. Um. It's all right. I, I, you know, take him as he is. And when Callum drove Janet's car into a wheelie bin, um, Was

Jon Duffy: it reversing or was it forwards?

Sophie Stewart: No, he went straight into it. That was head on.

Jon Duffy: Yeah.

Sophie Stewart: Um, so he drove it into the wheelie bin and we went and got it fixed by a panel beater, and that cost us about $300. And that was a big, quite a big dent actually. And I was like, sweet. It'll probably be like in the range of like $500 to fix this Mevo car, right? Oh no.

Jon Duffy: What kind of car was the Mevo car?

Sophie Stewart: It was a Build your dreams. Um, so it's an electric EV Chinese car. They're all the rage at the moment with the boomers cuz they're like the cheapest EV on the market.

I say that cuz Callum's parents also have one. Hi Lynn and Peter. Anyway, um, so Mevo came back and they said, um, so we've got a quote and the quote for the repairs is going to be $5,000.

Jon Duffy: Geez.

Sophie Stewart: And I was like, I fucking think so! And they said, so that means your, cuz we'd selected the sort of maximum excess thing, which was two and a half thousand dollars.

So they were like, so you pay the two and a half thousand dollars for your excess. And then obviously the insurance company that they have will pay the rest for the repairs. And I was like, no, I don't think that's reasonable. And eventually they knocked $500 off the price, and we paid $2,000 to them to repair this avocado sized dent, which I still feel slightly aggrieved about.

In reflecting on our experience, we then decided to think about whether it was actually worth continuing as a Mevo customer, and we added up how much we'd spent over a year. And so we'd spent, with Mevo about $10,000 over the course of a year on various different trips. So like whether that just be back and forth sort of trips or whether it would be like a road trip, um

Jon Duffy: Mm Yeah.

Sophie Stewart: Up the coast sort of thing or whatever.

Jon Duffy: Yeah.

Sophie Stewart: And we thought, well actually for that price we may as well just own our own car. So we did. We went and bought a secondhand Kia that's a hybrid.

Jon Duffy: Yeah.

Sophie Stewart: And it got shipped up from Dunedin and we love it.

Jon Duffy: Nice. Wow. Okay. That's interesting. That's not, that's not where I thought you'd be going with this.

Sophie Stewart: Yeah.

Jon Duffy: That 10 grand, does that include Callum's little faux pas?

Sophie Stewart: Oh no, that was excluding that

Jon Duffy: okay. That's on top

Okay. Alright.

Sophie Stewart: So including the fapa, it's like $12,000.

Jon Duffy: Yeah. But you can, when you own your own car, you can choose to drive around with an avocado sized dent in the back.

Sophie Stewart: Exactly. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

And like, or take it to a reasonable panel beater that's not gonna charge you $5,000 to repair a avocado sized dent.

Jon Duffy: Yeah.

Sophie Stewart: Mm-hmm.

Jon Duffy: How interesting.

Sophie Stewart: Yeah. Anyway, that was me. So we are very happy with our new car.

Jon Duffy: Cool. All right. Hey, well, next, next episode we're gonna reminisce on.

Sophie Stewart: mm-hmm.

Jon Duffy: Is, uh, the episode we did on flight rights.

Sophie Stewart: Yes.

Jon Duffy: This is another one that involves you and, um, your tussles with corporate New Zealand. Um, you'd had a disruption

Sophie Stewart: mm-hmm

Jon Duffy: to a flight back from Tasmania, as I recall.

Sophie Stewart: Yes, that's correct.

Jon Duffy: There was an incident involving your cat.

Sophie Stewart: Mm-hmm.

Jon Duffy: And that put you to some expense. Do you wanna, do you wanna give us the background again?

Sophie Stewart: Yeah, so basically we'd gone on holiday to Tasmania, we'd booked our flights through Air New Zealand. Air New Zealand had booked the flight back that went Hobart - Sydney, Sydney - Wellington. And so we got on the flight, got to Sydney and we, we got to Sydney. It took us like three hours basically to get through airport security and customs and all of that sort of shabam and so therefore we missed our flight.

That is a bummer. But it wasn't like the end of the world, apart from the fact that we had to spend another like three hours waiting for another flight and also meant that we had to go via Auckland to get home.

And so in the end would mean that we couldn't pick up our cats from the cattery. So they had to spend an extra night in the cattery, which obviously cost us more money than we were intending to spend. And then we also had to buy food in the the airport, obviously, cuz we were waiting for... to get on the plane and all of that stuff.

Jon Duffy: oh And you know how Callum gets when he is hungry.

Sophie Stewart: Oh, I know. Actually, it's really me. No, to be honest, I'm the hangry one. He gets angry when he is tired. This whole episode is just an insight into Callum and Sophie's relationship.

Anyway, when I got back, we obviously happened to be doing an episode on flight rights. It was very convenient, and Aneleise told me that actually that was not on me, all of that cost, that was on Air New Zealand to reimburse me because they should have known that it would take a longer time between getting off my plane and getting on the other plane and should have allowed more time for me to do that.

Jon Duffy: So that's Consumer NZ consumer rights expert, Aneleise Gawn?

Sophie Stewart: correct.

Yes, yes. My, my new best friend.

Jon Duffy: Yeah. So and so what happened? You went back to Air New Zealand?

Sophie Stewart: Yeah, so I immediately wrote a lovely email to Air New Zealand and sent them all my receipts saying, by the way here's my receipts and you've cost me money, and I'd like my money back, please. Because you know of these reasons, and this is what's happened.

Also, by the way, your customer service agents were terrible, but anyway, that was a side thing. They gave me an automatic email back

Jon Duffy: and they, and they opened the hard to please folder. And your name was pre-populated?

Sophie Stewart: Yes.

Jon Duffy: In all caps,

Sophie Stewart: Sophie do not engage...

Anyway the automatic reply said, we'll get back to you in six to eight weeks. And I was like, Jesus, that's a long wait but okay. Six to eight weeks later, I went looking for a reply, nothing had come into my inbox. I sent them another email saying, hey, still waiting on this reply. And I got an another automatic reply saying, it's gonna be 10 weeks to get back to you. I thought fucking hell.=, It's getting worse every time I email you.

Anyway I waited and eventually I got a reply saying "Thanks so much for your email and so sorry to hear about your bad customer service, but we're not gonna give you your money back."

Jon Duffy: How much are we talking here?

Sophie Stewart: Oh, it's real minimal. It was actually very ironic.

It was the day after there was a stuff article being like, record profits for Air New Zealand. And I got a reply back being like, we're not giving you your $54 back. So, Immediately engaged the services of my best friend, Aneleise from Consumer NZ and said, Aneleise this, this isn't on. You know... Jon Duffy: this will not stand.

Sophie Stewart: This will not stand. And said, can you help me please? She was great and she got in touch with Air New Zealand and very quickly I got another reply saying, "so sorry we made a mistake and here is your $54."

Jon Duffy: Oh, okay good. So it, so it worked out with just a little bit of elbow grease.

Sophie Stewart: Oh, yes.

I mean, yes. From a Consumer NZ perspective, like fabulous service would recommend. Highly, highly, highly recommend becoming a Consumer NZ member for that sole reason. But I think it was just like such absolute crap customer service that it had to get to the point that I had to engage a third party in order to like advocate on my behalf for something that was really simple.

Jon Duffy: It is ridiculous.

Sophie Stewart: and also a really small amount of money as well.

Jon Duffy: Yeah, so this is, this is an ongoing thing that we are campaigning for with our flight rights campaign. And in particular, we have been in the ear of the Associate Minister of Transport, uh, Kiri Allan who's in charge of the airline part of the transport portfolio, urging her to consider drafting regulations under the Civil Aviation Act, which she will soon have powers to do, that require the airlines to fully disclose to you. Give you an information sheet that says, hey, you've experienced a disruption. Here are all your rights.

So when you were in Sydney Airport, you would've got either emailed or provided with a disclosure. And you would've been able to say, oh, well, we're gonna have to put the cats in for another night. So Yes. Right.

Sophie Stewart: Yeah.

Jon Duffy: Um, there's no, there's no dispute over whether this money would be owed or not.

Sophie Stewart: Yeah. And I think that will be Awesome. But they'll also need to put in the backing behind that in terms of a customer service element, because waiting 20 plus weeks for reimbursement is just ridiculous. And it's fine like for me. It's $50, like I don't really care, like it was really like the principle of the matter.

It's not gonna make that much difference to me personally that they didn't give me $50 or not. But for people who have had massive disruptions and that's cost them thousands of dollars, it's a huge amount of money to wait for.

Jon Duffy: Yeah.

Sophie Stewart: Um, and like a long time to wait for that too.

Jon Duffy: Agreed. Agreed.

All right. I can see you getting worked up. So we should move on to our next story.

Sophie Stewart: Cool.

Jon Duffy: So, uh, do you remember Vlad?

Sophie Stewart: Vlad zdravkovich!

Jon Duffy: Vlad Zdravkovich. And he was from our second-ever episode. And actually probably, um, my personal favorite in terms of the people that we've had the pleasure of engaging with on this podcast.

Sophie Stewart: Yeah, Vlad was great.

Jon Duffy: Super cool dude. Really genuine, community minded guy who really just wanted the ability to get on the property ladder. And he was generous enough to share with us his story of his struggles to get onto the property ladder here in Wellington. And I had the chance to catch up with him in the studio yesterday.


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Jon Duffy: So, Vlad, welcome back to the Consumer NZ studio. It's been, um, geez, it's been nearly two years since we last caught up with you.

Vladimir Zdravkovich: Oh it feels like it's gone in a blink!

Jon Duffy: First question. Have you got a house?

Vladimir Zdravkovich: Not yet, but it is looking slightly more hopeful with the prices slowly decreasing.

Jon Duffy: Cool. So you're, you're active and you're back in the market looking?

Vladimir Zdravkovich: Yeah. I'm looking every week and I'm hoping that something will come up shortly.

Jon Duffy: Cool. Where are you looking?

Vladimir Zdravkovich: Um, well, obviously I'd love to get something close to where I'm working so I could eliminate transport. So I know looking within Wellington is a little bit un unrealistic, but I'm looking in the suburbs nearby.

Jon Duffy: Okay. That's, that's cool to hear because I think last time we spoke you were looking right out in the fringes of the city, beyond Upper Hutt and things like that. So is it a positive thing that you're able to look in a bit closer or are you looking at smaller properties now?

Vladimir Zdravkovich: I think I'm looking at smaller properties somewhere closer to work because I found that even outside of Wellington I wasn't really getting anything way better than what I was expecting.

Jon Duffy: Mm-hmm. Okay. We've heard a lot over the last year or so around banks getting quite tight on their lending criteria. Um, how's, what's your experience been with getting pre-approval for a mortgage?

Vladimir Zdravkovich: It just, um, even though the prices of the houses have gone down, so has the amount that I can borrow from the banks, so it kind of puts me in the same situation where I was two years ago.

Jon Duffy: And so that is you going to the bank saying, I'm interested in a house at a certain price, and them saying, uh... Is it due to responsible lending restrictions and things like that, they're worried that you won't be able to service amounts at that level.

Vladimir Zdravkovich: Pretty much. I think because the interest rate from the bank is increasing, then the amount that I have to pay back is also increasing. So then the amount that can borrow is decreasing.

Jon Duffy: So how does that make you feel? I mean, you know, the market moves and you must have got a little bit excited. Your eyes might, might have lit up a wee bit. Prices are dropping. We're hearing this again and again every night on the news. You know, you must have got quite excited when, when you saw that happening.

Vladimir Zdravkovich: Uh, definitely kind of made it more achievable. But what I'm also noticing is that there seems to be less houses on the market. Um, cuz I think people are slightly reluctant to sell. Perhaps they're waiting for the prices to bound back up.

Jon Duffy: Right.

Vladimir Zdravkovich: But from what I've seen, there are some potentially viable houses that I could invest in.

Uh, but the problem is the bank at the moment is only really lending me enough money to perhaps buy a one bedroom apartment or a bedsit. Ideally I would like to be able to afford a two bedroom because then I would have another flatmate that could potentially help me repay the mortgage. But according to the bank, that's not really counted towards how much I can borrow.

Jon Duffy: Right. What's your verdict on broker versus direct to bank? Do you find it better dealing directly with the bank or is it easier for a broker?

Vladimir Zdravkovich: So far my experience with brokers have been both very negative. Once I tried to make an offer on the house and the broker took months to even get back to me on how much I can borrow, and by that time the house was gone.

So I went to another broker who was offering me maybe 30% less than what the bank was quoting me.

Jon Duffy: Right.

Vladimir Zdravkovich: So in the end I decided to just stick with my bank cuz they were offering me the best deal.

Jon Duffy: And this is a bank that you, you currently bank with so they know you and, and

Vladimir Zdravkovich: Yeah, I've been with that bank since 97, so...

Jon Duffy: Right okay. Thinking back to the episode that you did with us couple of years ago you really, you really painted quite a stark picture of what the situation was doing for you and including your mental state of being. Have things changed? Is this the current situation any better or worse?

Vladimir Zdravkovich: Uh, I think I've maybe gotten a little bit jaded, so it's not affecting me mentally quite so much. However, I think I mentioned last time I still had some problems with my teeth. That's still ongoing. I haven't been able to look into that.

Jon Duffy: Okay.

Vladimir Zdravkovich: And that's kind of taken a seat back.

Jon Duffy: Yeah. So I think you mentioned last time that you decided not to invest money in getting your teeth fixed because you were saving for a mortgage.

Is, is that still the status quo is it?

Vladimir Zdravkovich: Still ongoing yes. And I've even started doing intermittent fasting, so I figured I'm saving 30% on my food as well.

Jon Duffy: Okay. Well, food is a major. I mean that's probably one thing that really has changed in the intervening two years, right? The price of food has gone, um, it's more bananas than the housing market.

So with property prices suddenly falling, but interest rates going up so quickly are you in some ways a little bit pleased that you didn't buy two years ago, kind of at the peak of the market and you're now faced with still really being in the beginning stages of paying off your mortgage and seeing interest rates rise so quickly?

Vladimir Zdravkovich: I do feel that like I may have dodged bullet there because, um, if I had purchased, I would've bought to the absolute maximum of my borrowing ability, which means that with the current interest rate I'd probably be seriously struggling.

Jon Duffy: Yeah.

Vladimir Zdravkovich: So in a way I am a little bit fortunate. So silver linings.

Jon Duffy: So every cloud has a silver lining.

Vladimir Zdravkovich: Yes.

Jon Duffy: Cool. Hey Vlad, thank you so much for coming back in. It's been really, really cool to connect with you again. I think, as we said last time, we wish you all your best in your hunt for a house and hope that it comes together for you.

Vladimir Zdravkovich: Thank you very much. Always a pleasure. Hopefully I'll have a home soon.

Jon Duffy: Yeah, and hopefully we can check in with you in another couple of years and you, you're in a home.

Awesome. Awesome.

Thanks Vlad.

Sophie Stewart: Oh god...

Jon Duffy: So what do you reckon, Soph? I did realise that outro sounded like hopefully we can check in with you in a couple of years and you're in a home, as in like a retirement home.


Sophie Stewart: No, I just, I heard that and I was like, oh God, I feel like we're gonna check in in a couple of years and Vlad's still gonna be looking for a house, and his teeth still aren't going to be fixed, and he is gone from like, 30% less food to 60% less food. This is, uh, sounded dire, and then he sounded more upbeat about it but just because he is now like more cynical, not because things have actually improved.

Jon Duffy: You know he is actually a really positive forced to be around. It's like quite a remarkable person actually.

Sophie Stewart: Mm-hmm.

Jon Duffy: I'm really impressed with Vlad. But I do, I have a real sympathy for his situation and he will be in the same boat as thousands and thousands of people in this country.

Sophie Stewart: Yeah. I think as he said the only upside is that, yeah, he didn't happen to buy at the peak of the market and now be like faced with potentially giving up that house because he couldn't afford the mortgage on it.

Jon Duffy: But just feels like such a cruel twist that you finally see prices dropping, but interest rates get to a point where the bank's gonna go, well, you can't service, you can't service this even though the asking price is lower.

Sophie Stewart: Mm-hmm.

Jon Duffy: Um, so we're not gonna lend to you. That's, uh, it just seems cruel.

Sophie Stewart: Speaking of buying at the peak of the market I'm actually gonna talk to you a bit later about, uh, do you remember Thomas Swain? Jon Duffy: Bank of Mum & Dad Thomas?


Sophie Stewart: that's the one. I'm gonna chat to you about him later. He did actually buy at the peak of the market, so we'll catch up with him in a minute.

Jon Duffy: Yeah, it'll be interesting to compare.

Tom, our producer had me working bloody hard yesterday and I actually did two interviews. I was so interviewed Toby, who we had a yarn to around his quest as a food manufacturer to find the most sustainable form of packaging for the Greek style dips that he makes.

Sophie Stewart: Yes that olive Dip is still the best dip.

Jon Duffy: Oh, it's, it is wicked. My son is a huge fan.

Sophie Stewart: We're not paid by the way, this, it's just a personal endorsement.

Jon Duffy: Yeah, that's a genuine plug.

Sophie Stewart: Yeah. Yeah.

Jon Duffy: So he was a, he was a star of Bamboozled: can we kick the plastic? One of our more memorable episodes in season two...


Jon Duffy: Toby, welcome back to Consume This. It's really good to see you. How are you?

Toby Green: Great, thanks. Yeah.

Jon Duffy: Cool. So thanks for coming back in and kind of where we left the last episode, you were on a journey and you're about to open your new factory. How's that going?

Toby Green: The new factory has been very successful, really enjoying have all that extra space and great location. I was quite surprised. I hadn't really factored in that moving from one part of the city to the other would be quite such a positive.

Jon Duffy: Why is it, why is it so positive?

Toby Green: Well, I think all the tradies are in the Hutt. And so when you're in Miramar, they're like, oh God, you know, come out and fix your fridge and

Jon Duffy: Oh, right, yeah.

Toby Green: Oh yeah. Get stuck in the traffic. Whereas literally sometimes they're in the same street, they walk down with their bag.

Jon Duffy: Right.

Toby Green: It's such a change. And it's really convenient to get everywhere.

Jon Duffy: Cool. So, so look, when we yarned last year

Toby Green: yes

Jon Duffy: you were in the process of... Well, we followed you going through the process of trying to find the most sustainable packaging you could for your products.

Toby Green: Yes.

Jon Duffy: And you were looking to make some changes. How's that all gone?


Toby Green: Well, does that..

Jon Duffy: That is a huge sigh....

Toby Green: I dunno, I'm quite a positive person in general, but that sort of whole journey has left me still spinning my wheels a little bit. And a few things that I learned subsequently to making or finishing, talking to you guys last year was the scale of investment required to upgrade equipment in the food manufacturing industry is extraordinary. And the analogy that I use with people is, let's say that we're doing our deliveries in a small little van, like a little Renault van or something, and we want to upgrade to a Ford Transit, you know, sort of logical next step.

You go to the shop and they're like, oh no, next step is a truck and trailer unit with $250,000. And you're like, No, no, no. I just want the, I just want a little van that next size up and they're like, Uhuh, that's it.

Jon Duffy: Right,

Toby Green: and it, it does feel like that. And one of the first things I was really keen is to go out to the suppliers, the industry, the equipment suppliers, and say, look, we are quite a big industry in this region.

Can you start to think of solutions for us? If we want a sustainable packaging, for example, go away and come back and come back with some ideas that are affordable that we can actually implement.

Jon Duffy: So one of the, one of the things we did talk about in a bit of detail was, this idea around vacuum sealing pots to solve the problem that you had where you had to push the lids on.

Toby Green: mm-hmm.

Jon Duffy: and the lids not being recyclable. How have you gone with solving that problem? Or is that part of what you've just been talking about? Toby Green: That that is part of what I've been talking about. So the idea of do we have a sealing machine with different types of lids that hasn't progressed.

Jon Duffy: Right.

Toby Green: Sorry to say.

Jon Duffy: Well, you're busy running a business as well, you know?

Toby Green: Yeah there was that as well. It hasn't been an easy time with that food inflation coming through in the last 12 months, it has been a bit of a rock and roll period for food manufacturing.

Jon Duffy: Mm.

Toby Green: As a smaller company we're able to respond to it, but you know, one of the bigger food manufacturing companies, Rosa Foods has, you know, gone into liquidation a few months ago. Gotta but watch out.

Jon Duffy: Yeah.

Toby Green: So we haven't made much progress in that respect. I'm, I can give you some positive feedback though.

Jon Duffy: Well, I'll ask you one question before we do.

Toby Green: Okay. Mm-hmm.

Jon Duffy: Is that disappointing for you?

Toby Green: It is disappointing, yeah. I mean, I, I remember a few years ago throwing my toys out of the cot to my staff. I was ranting like if we, I think this is in the original podcast, we sold a hundred thousandth pot in that particular year, which was a big thing for us at the time. And we were like, I was like, God, if we keep selling this many plastic pots, I'm gonna shut the business down. Now I understand that plastic pots maybe not such a bad solution for packaging food, for starters, but it's still not something that sits that comfortably.

Jon Duffy: yeah, sure

Toby Green: with me. I'd rather not be. I'd rather have some better solution. That was, well certainly more environmentally friendly, and we haven't found that yet.

Jon Duffy: Are, are you seeing any feedback from consumers or through the supermarkets through their customers? Are you seeing any increased demand?

Are you getting pushback on, on the packaging choices that you're making?

Toby Green: Not so much. No. No. But what's been interesting, there's been a lot of positive feedback. I'm not, I'm gonna give you a little plug for your podcast series because I've had a lot of positive feedback from making the podcast.

Jon Duffy: Right. Okay.

Toby Green: So, which has been really interesting and particularly from other food manufacturers who have said, look, that's fantastic. Other food manufacturers listen to the podcast, and then they could use that as a sort of thing to explain to their customers when they would get grief from other customers about using a plastic pot for example.

They would say, well look, listen to this podcast cuz these guys have put a bit of time and effort into thinking about what are the alternatives and are they better and all these sorts of things. It was really encouraging.

Jon Duffy: Yeah. We've had some interesting feedback as well, particularly from producers and manufacturers saying, you know, Hey, thanks for taking a more business-centric approach than you usually do Consumer. And we're kinda like, well, we, we really did it to, you know, inform consumers, but we need to tell a business's story to do that.

Toby Green: Yeah.

Jon Duffy: And it also doesn't let you off the hook to keep trying to find good solutions.

Toby Green: That's right.

Jon Duffy: It's not, it's not excusing anything.

Toby Green: Haven't got a free pass.

Jon Duffy: Yeah, it's not, it's not like that. But I mean, what was great about the podcast is you approached it from that perspective, right from the get go. You were... you really wanted to make positive change, but we're frustrated basically at every turn.

And it sounds, unfortunately, like that's still the case.

Toby Green: That's still the case. Yeah.

Jon Duffy: Which is a bit depressing, but was that the only positive thing you had or was there another positive thing?

Toby Green: No, I think the..

Jon Duffy: Give me more positive...


Toby Green: The positives are that almost every single manufacturer I've spoken to is really in tune with this need to come up with better ways to package their products and get them to market.

Me just working on my own, I will get nowhere.

Jon Duffy: Mm-hmm.

Toby Green: Which is why working with you guys at Consumer to try and understand that a little bit more. But you can see how that's been really positive because it's reached other food manufacturers.

Jon Duffy: Mm-hmm.

Toby Green: Um, and obviously a lot of consumers as well so...

Jon Duffy: Awesome.

Hey, well look, we really appreciate you coming back in. It's always good to see you and Yeah. Hopefully, um, we'll, we'll talk to you again in the future.

Toby Green: Yeah. We'll have more positive news.

Jon Duffy: Yeah. Hopefully.

Sophie Stewart: More positive news next time, yeah.

Jon Duffy: What do you reckon Soph?

Sophie Stewart: Oh, I feel a bit bummed for Toby, actually.

But also I feel like there are some similarities between his experience and like general consumer experience around sort of going green. I guess when you want to go green yourself, it seems to cost you more.

Jon Duffy: Mm-hmm.

Sophie Stewart: And so he wants to go green, but the cost is prohibitive for him in the sense that like that manufacturing equipment is obviously cost prohibitive at the moment for a small business. So hopefully as you say, more positive the next time. But I think it is great that we were able to get that information out to consumers that like plastic wasn't the evil that we all thought it was. Or not the evil in all circumstances.

Jon Duffy: Yeah, the least worst decision.

Sophie Stewart: Yeah.

Jon Duffy: Cool. All right.

Sophie Stewart: So someone I wanted to catch up with Jon was Rachel from the Scammed podcast, where she lost a hundred thousand dollars in a dating app.

That was early on in season one, and when we left her, she'd been scammed out of a hundred thousand dollars

Jon Duffy: mm-hmm

Sophie Stewart: taken up scam baiting on behalf of other scam victims. And whilst doing that, also found a real person to date who she initially thought was actually a scammer, but, actually he wasn't.

Shall we give her a call?

Jon Duffy: Let's give her a call.


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Consume This podcast

Consume This unpacks the big issues facing New Zealanders today: from fast fashion and the housing market, to the world of data privacy and more.

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Rachel: Hello?

Sophie Stewart: Hi, it's Sophie from Consume This.

Jon Duffy: Hi. Oh, hi Sophie.

And it's Jon here as well. How's it going?

Rachel: Oh good, thanks.

Sophie Stewart: So we just wanted to catch up and hear how you were getting on. The last time we left off you'd taken up scam baiting and were trying to help out other people. How are you getting on with that?

Rachel: Well, I still help people from Global Anti-scam Organization. If they gave me any volunteer job, I'm very happy to take them. But I don't actively scam bait anymore. I, I guess I just used it as a coping me mechanism at that time, and it worked, but I, I had moved on.

Sophie Stewart: Fair enough yeah. How are you feeling after your whole experience?

Rachel: Well, I don't feel much now cuz it been quite a few, like, probably couple years by now. Yeah, I definitely have moved on with my life and it just a mistake I'm made in life. Right. That happens to everyone, I guess.

Sophie Stewart: Yeah. Did you say you'd started volunteering?

Rachel: Uh, yeah. Yeah. Well, I've been volunteering for quite a few time for Anti-scam Organization.

It was a organization in Singapore. The owner of the, of the organization is also a victim of the pig butchering scam.

Sophie Stewart: Mm-hmm.

Rachel: So, but she got scammed a lot of money, so that's why she devoted all her life into this.

Sophie Stewart: Wow. So, so what does the organization do exactly? Like, how do they help people?

Rachel: They published stories of victims and they publish all the new tricks, and they published the inside stories from the scam organizations. Jon Duffy: And do they operate all over the world?

Rachel: Yes. I think it's a, definitely global cause anyone can seek help from them. Probably last year when I just put up my scam post on Reddit, I still got lots of emails or questions from other people. They'll just ask me, Hey, I got scam the same way. Could you help me out? You know, what should I do? Cuz it's kind of like shocking when you first realise it was a scam.

Sophie Stewart: Mm.

Rachel: And they, I just direct them all to, um, Global Anti-scam Organization. And they have a group of people devoted to, helping people who got scammed the same way. So if sometimes they gave me a few people to talk with just to guide them thorough emotionally and gave them information, you know, what sort of organization they could contact.

Jon Duffy: Were you seeing many people from New Zealand coming through that, or was it mainly from overseas?

Rachel: Well, as far as I know there were probably over 40 people in New Zealand, all across New Zealand or who got scammed the same way.

I'll say a majority of them are Asian, like chinese. But in the US it's a bigger country. And of course the, there are so many scam organizations, you know, hiding in Thailand, you know, in Laos. You just have no idea how, you know, how they develop the scam techniques. So I know quite a few westerners got scammed the same way in the US.

Sophie Stewart: Mm. Mm-hmm. Yeah. So are you sort of like victim support sort of for these people?

Rachel: Yeah. If people Google search the scam, some of the Reddit posts is going to jump out for them and they going to like message me on Reddit and then I will be able to help them somehow. It just bit hard to find them, like actively find them out, right? Because you have to be happy to be discovered first. Many victims, they don't like to be known right.

Sophie Stewart: Mm-hmm.

Rachel: Yeah.

Sophie Stewart: Oh, it sounds like you've done something really positive with your experience in trying to help other scam victims deal with their loss and process, what they need to do afterwards.

Rachel: Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. Well, I always think that, uh, accepting a negative experience is a positive one, right?

Jon Duffy: Yeah.

Rachel: So, yeah, it, everything I do is, um, it's a win win situation. I help myself and I help others.

Jon Duffy: That's awesome.

Rachel: It's a coping mechanism, as I say. Yeah.

Sophie Stewart: Well, uh, we also have a bit of a personal question for you as well,

Rachel: Uhhuh.

Sophie Stewart: At the end of your episode, you ended up meeting an actual genuine guy who was looking for romance. So you two still together?

Rachel: We dated for a few months, but we just found out we were a bit too different, so we decided to be friends in the end, but we're good friends.

Jon Duffy: Oh, fantastic.

Rachel: But the good news is that I am actually in a committed love relationship at the moment.

Sophie Stewart: Great. And we've met him in real life, and he's definitely not into cryptocurrency.

Rachel: Oh. I also met him on bumble.

Sophie Stewart: Oh, we, we've now subsequently met in person though, right?

Rachel: Yeah, yeah. We've been, we get on really well. Been together for, for quite a long time now.

Sophie Stewart: Great.

Jon Duffy: Cool.

Rachel: Yeah.

Jon Duffy: Oh, that's awesome. We're just gonna say, look, thank you very much for chatting to us and it's really good to talk to you again and find out that things are going well for you.

Rachel: Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. Yeah. And I try my best.

Jon Duffy: Yeah. Cool.

Rachel: Like everyone else, right? Just life.

Sophie Stewart: So...

Jon Duffy: all right. Well that was super interesting.

Sophie Stewart: Yeah. So she dumped the, the other guy, no, they're still friends, but

Jon Duffy: yeah, we draw conclusions there. But it sounds like she's in a really good place that she's moved on.

Hopefully us calling her hasn't retraumatized her in any way because, uh, yeah, it sounds like she's, she's kind of moved on with her life and has accepted what's happened and, and is in a better place for it.

Sophie Stewart: Yeah, I think so. And it's obviously taken a positive spin on her experience that she can help other people in the same sort of situation. It's nice.

Jon Duffy: Yeah. And, and that's really cool to hear because I don't think everyone's as lucky as that. And, and this, this kind of thing can really impact people for a long period of time. So yeah, she's lucky to find herself able to move on in that way, I think.

Sophie Stewart: Yeah. The next person that we wanted to catch up with that I teased earlier was Thomas Swain.

You'll remember Thomas from the Bank of Mum and Dad episode where he brought his house in July, 2021 for a cool $1 million. And since then, as we've heard from Vlad that the price of buying a home has dropped, and that's probably not such a good thing for Thomas and yeah, I thought we should probably give him a call and check on how he's doing.

Jon Duffy: Yeah.


Thomas Swain: So I'm actually now sitting probably just on the border of negative equity, despite the amount of money I've put in and the amount of work I've done, which has been reasonably extensive.

Sophie Stewart: And by reasonably extensive, he estimates that he spent another 60 grand or so.

Thomas Swain: Oh gosh. And that's with me doing most, most of the work myself. Yeah. So it's, yeah, it's a money pit. And, and of course then my mortgage comes up in October for a very different, Interest rate. Very, very remarkably different interest rate.

Sophie Stewart: Yep. It's a very different situation now than it was in the middle of 2021. The rise in interest rates leaves him in the interesting position that despite his house being worth less, he's going to end up paying more for it.

Not exactly an ideal situation. So I asked him straight up, when your interest rate goes up, how are you gonna find the extra cash? Thomas Swain: So, there's, yeah, it's a really good question. Um, working out numbers and sums, I've been able to renovate a small part of the house that I can rent out, and I'm absolutely gonna have to rent out two of the bedrooms.

So when it comes down to it, I'm potentially looking at, still paying about $800 a week. For a room in a house I own, but having to share it just like I did flatting.

Sophie Stewart: So Jon given all of that absolute ridiculousness, how do you think he's feeling about his decision to buy now?

Jon Duffy: Oh, it's a difficult situation he finds himself in. I hope he can just keep his eye on the prize and that it's a long term game, like any investment, right?

Sophie Stewart: Mm-hmm.

Jon Duffy: And. Look, even though it's a struggle, at least he's got a roof over his head.

Sophie Stewart: Yeah.

Thomas Swain: Now I look back and think massive, massive amounts of work and money to probably still scrape just below the value of what I paid for it. Some days I'm like, what the hell did I do? And other days I go, no, come on. Think long term. Think long term. Think long term. But, but we don't know if in 10 years time you know, house prices are 40% more, or if in 10 years time house prices are just sitting about about the same. It's hard slog to think that you're just trying to scrape back to what you paid.

You know, you sit there and you think, gosh, that's a gamble, isn't it? Like, I could actually sell it and owe the bank money.

(Thomas laughs)

Sophie Stewart: Despite that not being great for him. Thomas is plowing ahead with his renovations. It took him over 10 years of saving, going to open homes and auctions to finally buy the house that he's in now.

And that experience has convinced him that it's just best to clinging onto his home as hard and as long as possible, given that it's the only one he's got.

Thomas Swain: Because, because you have to, don't you? Because you just go, well, the opportunity may never come around again.

Sophie Stewart: Now this is where things get really interesting.

I thought our call was winding up and you know, we'd wrapped up the house conversation, but I had one final question, which was, you know, you've painted a bit of a bleak picture, but you are quite upbeat about everything, and I wanted to know why he sounded upbeat. But rather than putting a nice little bow in everything Jon he dropped this rather large bombshell.

Thomas Swain: There's plenty of other things that have happened to me where I've thought, I'm going to die, so yeah, this will be fine. It, it will work out.

Sophie Stewart: So, of course, interest peaked, I had to find out more. Weirdly, Thomas seemed quite surprised that we would be interested in his near death experience.

Thomas Swain: Oh, (Laughter)

Jon Duffy: Wow

Sophie Stewart: but he was happy to share it.

Thomas Swain: 2007 I was in Martinique in the Caribbean on an island, and I was hiking with a friend. There'd been a 7.2 earthquake, 10km off the coast a week before, and part of the mountain has subsided in an area where people hadn't trekked. We ended up getting there and there was a whole cliff face that had subsided about a hundred foot, and we couldn't climb up the sides, and we knew that by the time we got back to the top of the mountain, it would be absolutely pitch black, and it was so dangerous up there that we could have just fallen and died.

So we were really, really close to this town and we were like, hmm. Let's see if we can navigate our way around this subsidence of cliff face. Uh, and then ended up getting completely lost in the rainforest and it was bone dry. We weren't prepared, didn't have what we needed. It was, it was, it was literally like one of those dry up to the top, halfway up, and then you just, you know, you take two hours and go see the top and back again. But, We took another path back to the car park.

We're like, oh, we'll take this little path back. And five days later were found. There was two mountain rescue teams and 300 Gendarme, and my parents were on the way to Los Angeles to pick up my body. Uh, so it was, it was crazy. Yeah.

Sophie Stewart: And relative to that, honestly insane experience. The value of his house falling and his mortgage repayments rising doesn't seem such an insurmountable problem compared to, you know, losing 20 kilos in five days because you were stuck out in the jungle and your parents thought you were dead.

Thomas Swain: So, Yeah. Like you tend to find that, you know, things work out. Cuz you know when I'm there and it's day five and you know, I lost about 20 kilos in five days. It was, it was, it was insane. Never felt more thirsty. And I felt more hungry in my entire life at the point where I was like, I, I think I'm dying now.

And, and you do, you, you kind of put things into perspective and go, well, if I was able to get out of that, I'm sure we'll figure this out . Anyway, that's my update. Cool.

Jon Duffy: Wow. What an interesting conclusion to that story. That's, that's huge. And that also is the conclusion of this podcast. So thank you so much, uh, for listening.


Jon Duffy: Season four is coming up, so listen out for it. And in the meantime, if you missed any of the episodes that we recap today, feel free to get into our back catalog and have a look. They're all there waiting for you.

Sophie Stewart: Consume this is brought to you by Consumer NZ, hosted by us, Jon and Sophie, and produced by Tom Riste-Smith.

Consumer NZ is a small but amazing, not-for-profit. Looking out for your rights. We're primarily supported by our members. Which we'd love for you to become membership comes with a whole stack of benefits, including getting your money back from Air New Zealand.

Jon Duffy: boom

Sophie Stewart: access to unbiased lab tested product reviews, and our consumer rights advice line.

Thanks Aneleise.

Jon Duffy: So for,

oh, you go.

Sophie Stewart: For more info on becoming a member, check out the consumer NZ website or follow the link in the show notes.

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