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Retired couple ‘ripped off’ with $2,000 charge to replace 2 lights

Maurie Smith, who is in his 80s, said he was “angry” and “embarrassed” by the ordeal.

A retired couple claim they were cruelly ripped off by an electrical company who charged them nearly $2,000 to replace two lights.

Maurie and Colleen Smith are in their 80s and were looking to replace two light fittings in their Beenleigh home. Maurie purchased the new lights himself for the bedroom and kitchen.

The couple’s daughter, Gillian, helped book Metropolitan Electrical for the job and organised for them to send a technician to the home.

Maurie and Colleen Smith light charge.
The couple claim they were taken advantage of and overcharged for the job. (Source: A Current Affair)

Have you been hit with an excessive charge? Contact tamika.seeto@yahooinc.com

After initially postponing the job, the electrical company sent out an emergency technician. He told Maurie additional work was needed to replace the light fitting in the couple’s bedroom, so Maurie decided to get it disconnected instead.

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Maurie, who is hearing impaired, admitted the technician showed him the final price of almost $2,000 and asked him to sign for the job, which he reluctantly did.

Maurie said he was “angry” and “embarrassed” that he allowed himself to be “ripped off”, while his daughter said her parents were “sitting ducks” and that the technicians “took advantage” of them.

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"When Dad told me, I thought ‘No that doesn't make sense’,” Gillian told A Current Affair. “It was a light fitting in the kitchen and a light fitting in the bedroom that Mum and Dad supplied the replacement fixtures for."

An invoice later revealed the two light services were charged at $890 each. On top of that was a compliance and auditing fee of $59 and a $140 initial call-out fee, bringing the total cost to $1,980.

Maurie and Gillian
Maurie asked daughter Gillian to book an electrician for the lights. (Source: A Current Affair)

Electrical company defends cost

Gillian complained to Metropolitan Electrical and said she was quickly offered a $600 refund. She declined this and was then offered a $900 refund, which the family eventually accepted, despite still being left more than $1,000 out of pocket.

"I've since had a word to another electrician ... they said, ‘Don't pay more than $300, otherwise you're being ripped off’," Gillian said.

Master Electricians Australia also told A Current Affair the job should cost no more than $300.

Metropolitan has defended the cost of the job and claims the technician was at the property for three hours and an invoice was automatically emailed after the quote was accepted.

"We offer a fixed price on tasks and do not discriminate against or judge our clients," the company told A Current Affair. “Although, if we feel anyone cannot make sound decisions, we require approval on the phone or a second signatory.”

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