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Bidder bitter after dream home auction

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  • Bidder bitter after dream home auction

    Bidder bitter after dream home auction

    By Kathryn Powley
    The renovations have finished, the cameras packed up, the crowd dispersed and the owners of two "dream homes" in Whangarei decided.

    But many fans of Mitre 10 Dream Home who watched the season finale live on television on Monday night were left wondering, "Who was that woman bidding for the yellow house?" and "Was she for real?"

    She was Newberry's Funeral Directors' owner Freda Taylor, and she definitely meant business. She thought the property would be an ideal house for out-of-town mourners, and she was intent on buying it. But she missed out on the auction, and has been left with a sour taste by the TV experience.

    The series had two teams - one blue, one yellow - competing to renovate two Kamo homes. The series ended on Monday night with the blue team voted winner of its house, leaving the yellow team having to buy its in a public auction.
    But the programme's format - with the yellow auction starting, then being put to one side for the blue auction to get under way, then the voting result being announced, and then the yellow auction resuming - was a "fiasco" according to Ms Taylor.

    She thought she had won the yellow auction at the end of the first stage. "And so did the people around me. People were congratulating me, and some were giving me evil looks, and the yellow-team lady was visibly upset."

    Ms Taylor, who did not realise bidding would open again, was told to "stay there".

    "Then they came back to start it again. I thought, `What?'. The agent came over to me and said, `Do you want to go on bidding?' I thought `But I own the house'."

    She had trouble finding out what was going on, but by then the yellow team had been given more money to increase its bids, and went on to push the price beyond what she wanted to pay.

    Ms Taylor said she was "delighted" for the yellow team who, after pouring their hearts and souls into the project, now owned its house. She will not pursue the matter, but wants the producers to re-evaluate the way they run the auction.

    But a producer of the programme, Norman Elder, said the auction's rules were "clearly spelt out" when bidders registered. He believed Ms Taylor had arrived at the "eleventh hour" and perhaps not familiarised herself with the written terms and conditions.

    "Are we confident that the process was robust enough? In the sense that it was a public auction, we are quite happy.

    "We were there to give the couples the best chance they could have. People do turn up in search of a bargain, but when it's not the bargain they thought it might have been they tend to drop out. We're quite prepared to stand by our statement that it was a robust process."

    But Ms Taylor said she was not given the terms and conditions.

    The auctioneer could not be contacted for comment.

    "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx