The “Fake Mistake” overcharging. Could this possibly be a thing?

Could some unscrupulous businesses as a business strategy possibly be intentionally sneaking on extra charges onto selected customers hoping the customer not notice it? And if the customer does notice the discrepancy such as an unusual charge (or line item) and queries it, simply say sorry, correct the billing error and say it was a mistake?

Been a few cases recently when procuring products or services, errors have been spotted in either the quote or with a given invoice and have usually given the business the benefit of the doubt. I like to think (and still believe) the vast majority of these have been genuine and innocent mistakes, but the increasing frequently of such experiences in recent years has left me to question, is it a possibility that some businesses could be feigning mistakes? Particularly in these more challenging economic conditions?

My concern is that it can be extremely difficult if not downright impossible to determine between what are genuine billing mistakes that any business (despite the best of intentions) could still make and what could be feigned billing mistakes undertaken willfully as a business strategy by less than honest businesses.

The “Fake Mistake” overcharging. Could this possibly be a thing?

Flood of Scam Texts purportedly from AU Phone numbers

Seem to be receiving an avalanche of scam texts recently purportedly from Australian Numbers.

Here is an example of a scam text. If you receive or have received anything similar to this, Do not click on the link. It’s a scam.

You are entitled to a refund.
Visit our website.

Red flags…

  • Not expected
  • Not a government URL / Web Address
  • Came from an Australian number +61474029366, +61448533019, +61459618035, +61428949602, +61448205262, +61474029366 (although I warn these could very well be spoofed or even using throw away prepay sim cards)
Flood of Scam Texts purportedly from AU Phone numbers

‘Strict Liability’ fines and offenses and a cautionary observation to the government

Government agencies and Government appointed authorities in my view need be very careful about increasing the amount of ‘Strict Liability’ offenses on offer, particularly in light of recent reporting in the media about other crimes (such as Ram Raids, Assaults) being left unresolved / unpunished with offenders of these crimes getting off with merely a few months of home detention or even just a warning.

’Strict Liability’ supposedly does away with the need prove a ‘Guilty Mind’ (intention).

As the “infringement fines” base increases and the net widens, we are now seeing more and more otherwise Law abiding people getting pinged over an ever increasing array of ‘Strict Liability’ offences.

While arguably in many cases, the punishment may be warranted, This brings to light a number of issues and considerations…

  • Where ordinary people who otherwise have the best intentions and have no intent on causing harm are now no longer able to go about their lives without worrying about the the state coming down on them for what is often an innocent mistake.
  • This also comes on the back that of many events recently where people who are perceived to be committing real crimes with greater social and public harm are getting away with a slap on a wrist or just a warning while the ordinary member of the public who drove a few metres too long in the bus lane are slapped with a hefty  $150 NZD fine which anecdotally is extremely difficult to get out of. This is the same monetary penalty as someone running a red light which by all accounts is a much more serious act with more material consequences.
  • Another issue this situation brings up is that instead of the state being seen as an ally out to assist the lives of the ordinary tax-paying citizens, the state are increasing instead seen as an adversary out to get at them at any means possible in turn causing public to distrust those in power
  • It potentially normalizes offences and offending. We are now seeing more and more people regard certain fines as just another tax and revenue generation (or “revenue raisers” more commonly used in Australia / Across the Tasman). It is also ultimately has the real potential of reducing the public’s regard or “respect of authority”.
  • More significantly, the fixed nature of this penalty means those on the lowest incomes are the most impacted by the imposition of such fixed value monetary penalties. For those on low incomes, a $150 may mean a weeks worth of groceries and the inability to feed one’s family. For a more financial well off it may be a little mere a minor slap on the wrist.

The imposition of Automatic fixed camera bus lanes enforcement at fines of $150 is I feel a slippery slope in the wrong direction, a step too far already. This also confirms my anxiety as it were over what I originally saw back in Melbourne, Victoria Australia with respect to Victoria being a fine state increasingly being applied to New Zealand as well.

‘Strict Liability’ fines and offenses and a cautionary observation to the government

Auckland Rail Closures 2023 – A Stark Wake up call to NZ regarding our infrastructure projects

Admittedly, initially had to actually check whether or not it was in fact April 1st. This afternoon, I learn that whole sections of Auckland’s Rail network is to be closed for lengthy periods during the coming 2023 year. Please read the details about these Line Closures here on AT’s Website.

Greater Auckland have already expressed their own dismay and concerns about this on their “GA” Twitter account.

I feel this ought to be a stark wake up call to New Zealand and the need to look into the way we do things in this country. Needed is an urgent nationwide inquiry into our infrastructure works and why everything gets done so glacially slow in this country and continues to get slower. Is it the project management process? Too many differing (unconnected) sub contractors making scheduling and coordination difficult? Overzealous Health and Safety? Too much needless bureaucracy? Lack of Will? Lack of incentive? Same questions go for our Roadworks as well which seem to take forever.

So just what were KiwiRail doing during all those Rail Closures and shut downs in the preceeding years? Did they only just discover the work needs to be done now? Were AT only informed of this now? It’s as if the rail line closures during the prior years (including during the weekends) weren’t already a sizeable inconvenience, It’s going to be just that more difficult promoting Auckland’s faith in the Public Transport network and enacting an effective modal shift away from dependence on the Private Motor car.

Would we be better off being served by Bus ways rather than any sort of Passenger rail if this sort of rather disruptive and lengthy ongoing maintenance is required of rail? What assurances are KiwiRail and Auckland Transport able to provide to the public that there won’t be yet another round of hugely inconvenient, costly and lengthy disruption to the rail network in the years to come after all this work is supposedly complete? How do other countries manage to do it? Or is Auckland simply too small to pragmatically run a reliable and dependable Passenger Train network due to the lack of redundancy in the system (afforded to bigger rail networks in larger municipalities)?

Rightly or wrongly, I am forming an impression that the people in charge of these organizations aren’t serious enough about doing their job properly nor delivering for the public and hold very little, if any, sense of duty/responsibility or accountability to New Zealand. I will admit this is just my opinion as a lay person / ignorant armchair critic who undoubtably won’t have the full picture, but something almost undeniably and certainly seems amiss and some hard questions need be asked of those in charge.

Auckland Rail Closures 2023 – A Stark Wake up call to NZ regarding our infrastructure projects