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A Current Affair -

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Hello, I'm Tracy Grimshaw. Welcome

to A Current Affair. Coming up

tonight - cracking down on the

Irish gypsies, we're there as they

bring down the roof bandit.

Enjoy the trip back home, mate.

On hold and hating it - those phone

waiting times, we name the worst

offenders. The hidden dangers of

weekend sport, how families are

being hit with big bills when their

kids get hurt T rebel real estate

agent who is shaking up the

industry by cutting his sales

commission and Ray Martin suts down

with Michael Buble for our

exclusive interview with the king

of swing. (Sings) # And I'm feeling

so happy. We begin with the arrest

of another Irish gypsy, one of to

those of bogus contractors who come

to Australia every year preying on

the elderly and the vulnerable.

This time the scammer got done over.

Anything to say that might help us understand why travelling conmen

come to Australia?

It's illegal what a're -- they're

doing, their work is dodgy.

An Irish roof bandit bust ad cuffed

for good measure. Give us some

insight into what a travelling

conman thinks about. He's a bogus

repairman in Australia illegally

the vunblg. and Geramia Moorehouse prayed on

people. Majority of our victims are elderly

One Australian saw through the

hustle when the hard sell kicked in.

He kept hassling and dropped it

down and dropped it.

I'm from NSW Fair Trading and I've

got two notices.

Today it's the walk of shame that

will bring a smile to the face of

anyone who's been ripped off by a travelling conman.

Talking $40 million a year in

revenue that is going out of

Australia or December rament to

consumers. We're with Burns from

NSW Fair Trading as police swoop on

a scar van park where the bandits

hide out. Authorities were sent on

the trail thanks to western Sydney resident.

Had a little flyer. That was it,

quarter the size of an A4 bit of

paper cut out. That was it.

He says he was cold called at home.

following. The offer was $1,400 to do the

Clean, seal, fix gaping, replace

broken tiles, that sort of stuff

and wash down the walls and

windows.$$NEWLINE He agreed to pay

$800 for the work but the job was

beyond shad di. It was laughible.

Looked OK from afar. When I got

closer I wasn't too happy with the

work. Wasn't 100% clean, still a

few tiles broken that weren't replaced.

He never paid the money. He called

Fair Trading and today they pounced

with police. It looks like the

noose is tightening on travelling

conmen around Australia. Earlier

this month police raided this same

caravan park in western Sydney

where they arrested nine people who

are facing deportation. Today

they've found another one, an Irish

man who has outstayed his visa.

He's facing deportation as well.

We have intelligence which we have

collected over the last three to

four years which indicates there

are in excess of 1,000 members in

Australia active at any one time.

While this gypsy isn't active

anymore. While we celebrate the

Irish man will soon be drowning his

sorrows back in Britain. Give us

one worth on why you tried to rip

off the guy around the corner with

his roof? You're not a licensed

mate. biller. Enjoy the trip back home,

He's now being questioned by

immigration officials and we're

told he is likely to be kicked out

of the country. Another conman

who's going straight to jail. He

ripped off millions of dollars from

mum and dad investors promising pie

in the sky returns and guarantees

their money was 100% safe.

And I don't blame you if you're

sceptical.

ACA reporter was on the trail of

him and his croneys back in 2005.

He fled Australia but was tracked

down in Canada and brought back to

Melbourne to face justice. Today he

was jailed for a maximum of six

years and three months.

Our report on the businesses that

put you on hold when you call.

Those annoying waiting times that

test your patience and cost you

money. How does it make you feel

companies? when you're kept on hold by

Feels like you're neglected, they

don't care about you.

They say your wait time is

approximately 20 minutes.

If you're put on hold or music, one,

two, three, this or that, you're

distracted by someone else. You

want someone to answer the phone.

It feels like an Emu Plains termity.

We apologise for the extended delay.

You don't want to be on hold especially when you have a little one.

On hold.

We will be with you as soon as possible. Endless automated menus.

If you are calling act an existing

pre-paid mobile service press 1, press three, press two.

For all other inquiries press six.

It's frustrating and sometimes you

don't know which number to press to

get what you really want.

They all do it. Banks, telcos,

airlines, insurance and energy

companies and Government agencies.

Tonight, we're putting them on the

clock for the ultimate customer

service time test. We know people

late being left on hold. People are

time poor these days, they've rung

for a specific reason. They want a

response as quickly as they can and

don't think the company should be

phone. wasting their time sitting on the

First we're trying the banks.

Welcome to St George.

Our producer Stef Sgroi and I are

seeing how long it takes for us to

be put through to a real person.

We are currently receiving an

extremely high volume of calls.

Please day rb -- say -

We Sydney to Hobart with srpblg.

First the endless menus.

Existing or new card. Then this.

We are extremeing high volumes. We

will be with you in less than eight minutes. Westpac is worse.

Thanks for your patience. Our

busy. banking representives are still

More than 10 minutes and we're

still waiting. I think a lot of

people call companies with the

expectation they'll get good

customer service. I think a lft --

lot of companies promote that as

part of the experience. When it

doesn't happen people get annoyed.

If you're on hold for more than two

ministers it's too long according to McLeod.

I think 60 seconds would be within

the expectations of customers. It's

probably a reasonably good

experience but not outstanding. The

fastest of the banks were AN. At 1

minute 28 and NAB. Commonwealth

took 7 minutes 15, St George 11

minutes 30 and Westpac an

infuriating 15 minutes 32.

Welcome to Westpac. I'll be your

help you banking representative how can I

Hi. Sorry I I've been waiting so

long I forgot why I called. The

energy companies were pretty quick.

Energy Australia, 2 minutes 45, and

AGL in just over a minute. But the

telephone torture continued when we

called the airline.

The new the -- for new bookings

press one.

Qantas kept us on hold nor 6 minutes 48

Thank you for your patience. Please continue to hold.

Virgin at 1 minute and Jetstar at

two minutes were quick. We weren't

talking to a call centre in

Australia. What country are you in?

Taking calls on behalf of Jetstar,

located in Manilla, fill leans -- Philippines.

One.Tel co-took its time.

Thanks for calling Telstra. If yo

hold we should get to your call in about three minutes.

She said it would be about a three-

minute wait. We're now five and a

half and still waiting. Telstra

finally answered after 6 minutes 45

second S Vodafone, 1 minute 44,

Optus 55 second.

It can make a difference what time

of day you call. If it's during a

busy period but it's hard as a

customer to know when those busy

periods are.

What makes all this so much worse

is that being kept waiting for

service by these companies could be

costing you money if you call from

a mobile. Elise Davidson from the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network.

Pre-paid customers will typically

pay a higher rate to call numbers.

If you are on a plan it can cost up

to $1.78 to contact somebody on a

is 3 or 1800 number. At the time

test, Foxtel has one of those

annoying voice recognition system

that is never quite seems to

understand what you're saying.

To order a movie or main event right. No, wrong.

I'm sorry. Maybe a little differently.

Hello. Hello.

Sorry, I still didn't understand. Please say it.

Four minutes 20 and we're through.

AAMI was the quickest insurance

company in our survey at 48 second.

NRMA, 1 minute 10, GIO, 11 minutes

32 second. What about the

Government agencies? Medicare

answered in just over a minute but

Centrelink was a very different

story. We've been in the queue

waiting to speak to someone from

Centrelink about seven minutes and

every few minutes we hear. This

it's as though we're about to be

put through to a real human being

but in a few more seconds we're

going to hear yet another recorded mess affect

Have you recently viszed -- visited a doctor?

This went on and on Foreman 17

minutes 45 seconds. Making

Centrelink the longest wait of all.

Bad news travels fast. The message

to companies, if you want to keep

your customers you need to focus on customer service.

We have heard back from a number of

companies finally featured in that

story. Their responses are on our

website. When you take the kids out

to sport this weekend ask yourself

this. Who foot it is medical bill

if your child gets hurt? Most

parents would assume it's the

sporting association they pay money

to join but they'd be wrong. Just ask Everlyn Smith.

I've got a fractured cheekbone and

eye socket.

Really disgusted with the whole

system. It's a rip off. We're not covered at all.

It's the great insurance loop hole

that's leaving Australian parents furious.

It's a bit of a rort.

Insurance companies are rejecting

the simpleest of claims hiding be

hind Government legislation. The

legislation -- Federal legislation

does not anow a -- allow a general

insurer to cover medical expenses.

With QB E items like bandages,

tapes and crutches are excluded

from QB E policy benefits.

We get told our fees are going up

because of insurance. What

insurance if they don't cover

bandages. MRisms, cat scans and

surgeons bills are not covered with

the QB E policy meaning your kids

may not be fully protect

fundamental they get hurt and you

could get a bill like Smith Smith.

She's currently out of pocket

$3,000 3500 after her son was

injured in a soccer game.

I slipped and unfortunately fell

near the ball and the striker's

come through with his knee and

checked my face.

The teenager's cheekbone and eye

socket were fractured in the accidental hit.

Played in my - under -- plate under

my eye socket and plate in the left

cheekbone. That's to realign this side with this side.

The only money they got back was

from Medicare and their private health inshuefrpblts

There's the reject, no QB E benefit

payable. They sent it all back.

She was given the claim forms by

Cameron's soccer club, the club

passed on the forms to Football NSW

and they lodged the claim on the family's behalf.

They gave us the paperwork to fill

out and they lodged it for us. So,

I mean, if they don't know if we're

covered how am I supposed to know?

I'm not across the detail of what

is considered a medical expense.

The CEO of Football NSW admits he's

not clear on all the fine print but

says they hand out flyers at the

start of the season advising

parents to get private health

insurance if they wantted a digsal cover.

We are not able to cover for

general medical expenses. We cover

the non-Medicare expenses of dental,

ambulance, physiotherapy and others.

Cameron did have private health

insurance but after rebate it is

gap is still $3,000 3500.

We're very disappointed that really

nobody wants to pay up here.

In a written statement to ACA, QB I

said it was a general insurer and

not a health fund and like Football

NSW insists a general insurer can't

provide any cover for Medicare

expenses including any Medicare gap.

QB E state ths is made very clear

on various documents and websites.

It's nearly impossible to pay any -

- playfully sport that's fun where

there's no injuries. This doctor,

the head of srpblg at St Vincent's

Hospital, says sporting injuries

peak on weekend. The most common

sports injuries are from the knee

down - the knee, the ankle.

He says the public hospital system

will always cover everything in an

emergency but the problem comes

when the matter isn't urgent.

Where you might need more

sophisticated care sufficient

looking at swelling in your knee,

there, they can be a bit of a

problem time wise if you don't have private insurance.

Cameron says heel continue playing

soccer while his mum hopes by going

public more parents will become

aware of just how pitiful the existing insurance is. It's not right.

I think we need to have a better policy for our children.

If you've had any issues with

claiming insurance for your

children let us know. There are

still 58 sleeps to Christmas but

the festive spirit is here thanks

to the king of swing Buble. Ray

Martin caught up with him in London. Merry Christmas, ladies.

Merry Christmas, Mr Buble.

Are you ready to sing a little single?

Michael Buble sings as he swings,

all smiles and all smooth. And full

of Christmas cheer. Congratulations.

Thank you very much. It's great fun.

I feel like I had a baby.

When we caught up with him in a

London hotel room it was more than

jingle bell that is kept ringing. (phone rings)

Hello. It's also a phone. Amazing.

This hotel has been great for press so far.

Michael Buble has now sold more

than 30 million albums and heaps in

Australia. (Sings) # My, my.

His voice is compared to music

icons like sin at tra, Tony Bennett

and Bobby Darin, so the Canadian

crooner decided it was time to take

on the king of Christmas, Bing

Crosby. (Sings) # Oh what fun it is

to ride in a one horse open slay.

What took you so long?

I wanted to establish myself as an

artist before I put out what I

wanted to be the qint essential

Christmas order o record.

Someone told me you spent 10 years preparing this album.

I did. Chris maz was huge for me in

my house. The first record that

introduced me to this music was Crosby.

But is there something sacred ab Christmas songss?

Sure. I thought act making sure I

pay respect to where the respect

was due because people - this is

really a one time of year where

people yearn for comfort, you know,

because it takes them back to their

childhood, to the warmth of their

youth, you know what I mean. Ki suggest.

Of course you can, you can suggest

whatever you want.

This is a Michael Buble album as

much as a Christmas album.

Yeah. Every year you see 10 artists

put out their Christmas record.

Usually they're thrown out there

and they can be pretty disposal.

But I worked probably as hard or

harder on this record than I worked

on any of my studio ones.

This is your selection I take it of old songs and new.

Yeah, I love the Mel an Collie

songs. It can't all be silver bells.

There's got to be some fun, you

know, people want - there's a

really good mix. (Sings) # Or snow flakes.

You've sold 30 million albums now,

two million of hose in Australia.

How come Australians have taken to you so much?

Thank you, Australia.

Do we just have good taste?

You guys are very sexy, too. You

know what, I say it all the time.

I'm from Canada, which is Australia,

but just cold. We're very similar.

I mean, real down to earth, blue

collar, great sense of Hugh mourbgs

dry sense of humour. I believe it's

the reason why my friends tell me

they're going to Australia for two

weeks don't come and end up being

deported because they don't have

their visa and the same is - if -

(phone rings).

Welcome to the Soho hotel. Give me

the phone. No.

Come on, let me talk to him.

This is where the smooth Mr Nice

guy Buble stays nice. But it's

clearly time for the heavy artillery.

Never call this room.

I'd be scared if I got that call. Thank you.

OK, call one more time. OK, just

one more time.

How do you think crowds differ from

Australia to Canada or Japan?

It's funny. The audience audience

is a little more liberal. When you

get them in a big room together,

Canadians can be pretty quiet and

Australians are not. I mean, it's

beautiful. They get it. I mean,

Australians have a great sense of

humour. (singing).

One of the songs is in Spanish. Do

you speak Spanish or sing Spanish?

Si. Yeah, I speak OK. I mean, I

have learned as much as I could

from my wife. My wife couldn't

speak English when I met her and

she's completely fluent. And your Spanish.

It's OK, I can speak but probably

speak like a kid.

Last May, Buble broke 10 million

women's hearts when he married his

grirl friend and model. He admits

that the Spanish Christmas song is

a pay off for his new bride.

That was a tribute to my girl and

her family. The first time I think

she heard me sing in Spanish I

think it mane a lot to her.

You're an old married man. What's

marriage taught you?

I've learned that love needs to be

unbalanced. I have learned to man

need to love the woman a little

more. If that's the truth then my

wife has played there game

perfectly because I'm like a stupid

dog chasing after her car. Are men

more romantic than women?

I read swrrb there was a study that

said -- somewhere there was a study

that women prefer sex to kuding and

-- cuddling and men prefer cuddling.

Do you prescribe to that? (LAUGHTER)

. (singing).

Have a Merry Christmas.

And merry Christmas and Tracy merry

Christmas to you. Thank you. You

need that voice on your play list.

His album is out today. Coming up

the real estate rebel who is saving

you money by cutting his sales commission.

We sold just over 60% of

The real estate experts say wear in

a buyers market which means in

you're selling your home every

dollar counts. That makes the

following offer even more

attractive. A rebel agent who's

offering to cut his sales commission by at least 95%.

They've gone out of their way to

try to put me how the of business

because they feel threatened by

what I do.

He's the agent making big waves in

an industry that's under the pufr.

Dirty tactics has been phenomenal.

Atwell hat will sell your home for

peanuts and it's got a style of

selling that has big wigs in a lather.

There's been animosity towards my

business and try to put me out of

business. One of the real estate

websites has tried to increase my

subscription to try to increase my

-- get me to increase my price.

There's no need to pay expensive agents commissions.

Paul Brooks wanted to sell hesitate

Melbourne home but baulked at the

cost of hiring an agent.

Anything from about $15 think up to

maybe $20,000 to sell our house. I

haven't had any agents cob Vince me

I should pay them that much. Just

to talk to people who are

interested in selling my home.

So he's hired Michael Atwell at a

fraction of the price.

We only charge $399 to list on all

the dominant sites and then $99 per

month or $795 flat fee until sold.

That's your property on

forsaelforlease.com.au plus the market leading real estate and

domain websites, too, and there's

no commission. It sounds cheap when

you're paying but you have to come

pair it to what happens at the

other end, what you're selling is for.

Robert Iarocca is from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria and

says cut price agents do come at a cost.

When selling your biggest asset you

want the best you return, you want

someone to do the best job. You

wouldn't go to a mechanic and get

them to fix half the car. You

couldn't go to an accountant and

get them to do some of your tax but

not all of it.

When times are tight agents get creative.

Here we go, into the house.

Like Peter Gibson who films his clients home.

Bathroom. Typical bathroom. There

it is. Bright, colourful shower

curtain. Behind we have the shower

over the bath. Juezing his own

handy cam and puts it on web or Rob

Keet who got into strife by other

agents by stizing his cut rate

commissioners but -- by advertising

cut rate commissions. How much does

it cost to sell somebody's home?

We're doing it for $65,000 none in

most cases and making a profit.

It's no Aprils plan. You have to

run your own open for inspections

but Paul maintains its works.

A lot of buyers have expressed

they're happy and more comfortable

doing it with me rather and rather

than an agent.

We sell just over 60% of our

listings which would be above average.

He predicts up to a quarter of all

homes will be sold his way next

year but in a cut-throat industry,

traditional agents say they are the

best incentive possible to give you

the biggest price when you put your

home on the market.

If they don't sell they don't get

paid. There'll always be a segment

in the market for someone who is

offering a bit of this and that and

not quite the full service or some

people like to sell their own home

but people vote with their feet and

the vast majority choose to sell

with a fully licensed real estate

agent. You can find more

information on that story at our

website. Next on A Current Affair,

the four baby who is have made Tony

and Brett proud and unlikely parents.

It was an amazing

Next week on A Current Affair, one

of the most remarkable families I

have ever met. Two gay dads and

their four newborn babies. On a

current current, you won't believe

how Brett and Tony ended up the

proudest parents in Australia.

Most amazing day of our lives.

Tracy Grimshaw with one of the most

incredible stories of the year.

What other people think about us is

none of their business.

Tony and Brett and their four

beautiful babies next we can week -

- week on A Current Affair. Until

then, have a great weekend. Good

night. Supertext captions by Red Bee

Bee Media - www.redbeemedia.com.au. NARRATOR: Welcome to Celebrity Apprentice - All Fired Up. Hello! Yeah! Shane Crawford - pretty eyes. Pretty eyes but not much upstairs. Tonight, highlights from the first week of challenges. Come on. Come on. Gotta go. The car wash where 12 stars got dirty to clean up. Never was very good with instructions. And KFC, where customer service was not as easy as it looked. And I'm talking to you, Jesinta. Plus a special peek behind the scenes. Oh, God. Have you heard? Oh, love! You make me sound like a drag queen, you freak. And secrets from our couch of confession. At the flick of a switch, everyone was just, like... (HISSES) I think my brain was lacking oxygen. I almost passed out. 12 celebrities started the week, only 10 remain. Tonight, the story of how it all happened. I have to tell you, this was an amazing outcome in terms of dollars raised. $977 million. Really amazing. I promised myself I wouldn't cry today. Come on. THE POTBELLEEZ: (SING) # Whoa! Whoa! # Who-o-oa # Are you with me? # Come together, together # We're stronger as one # Are you with me? # I know you can. # An exclusive party kicked off Celebrity Apprentice with some of the biggest names and egos in showbiz. How are you? Hello...Max. Nice to meet you both. I've never been fired. I'm not gonna be fired on this show either. I'm funny. Mmm. We'll be the judge of that. I can shut up sometimes. But I actually do have a big mouth. I like to stir the pot.