Do Cheap Digital Aerial Installations Really Exist?

Do Cheap Digital Aerial Installations Really Exist?

Can you get a TV Aerial Installation for under £49.00? or is it a MYTH?

Hi I’m Gary, an aerial & satellite engineer and I wanted to try and explain a few things about cheap digital aerial installations and whether they exist or not.

I’d like to start by explaining that I’ve been a TV aerial engineer since 2007 and have run my own TV aerial & satellite installation company since 2012. I’m writing this particular blog post because I’m sick and tired of people falling for marketing tricks. 

Recently, I went out to a customer who messaged me wanting a price for a 12ft pole, 12 by 16 bracket, and a high gain aerial with amplifier. I was a little taken back as to why they wanted such specific equipment. They were in a very good reception area for digital TV aerial reception, and the aerial was only to feed one Freeview TV. However, instead of questioning it, I arranged a visit for the next morning

I arrived at the customer’s house to assess what it was she needed and how much it would cost. After I gave her the price, she gave me the go ahead to carry out the installation. 

Before I proceeded with the job, I questioned why she had asked for such specific equipment? She then rushed off to the kitchen, and came back with a quotation receipt from a national TV aerial company, who had been out the day before to give her an estimate.

None of the equipment on the quotation was in fact required and the price… well how they sleep at night is beyond me. I really wish I could say I was surprised but unfortunately, I’m not. I see this on a daily basis.

Luckily this customer felt something was not right and never went ahead with the job. However, the engineer charged her a call out fee of £49.95, even though it’s a free quote and he never carried out any work. Bear in mind, that’s the same price she was given over the phone for a new Digital Aerial Installation.

She ended up paying the money just to get rid of him, as she was on her own and felt threatened. Unfortunately, this is also extremely common. Thankfully this lady had a happy ending and got her new aerial installed by myself for less than a quarter of the price that Mr con man gave her. That was even including the call out charge she paid!

Ok so the simple answer to whether you can get a TV aerial installed for under £50.00 is NO! It’s all a marketing CON!

It’s impossible to get an aerial installation carried out from a professional and reputable company for less than £50 – Here’s why!

So you need a new digital aerial or satellite system and are on a tight budget. You ring a few Local TV aerial companies, who give you prices, which you feel are a little high. Then you come across the fantastic offer of a new digital aerial fully fitted for under £49.00. You don’t quite believe it… although you really want to!

Never the less, you call the number anyway and speak to a helpful member of staff (not an engineer). The member of staff tells you what you want to hear and gets you booked in for an installation or free Quote (if the installation was going to be £49.00 there would be no need for a quote). 

The next day, to your delight, a friendly engineer arrives at your door in a wonderfully clean, sign written van and uniform. He has an ID badge around his neck and looks very professional. You invite him in and he asks what it is he can help you with. After you explain what you need, he has a look around. He maybe even goes as far as checking your TV signal levels, before approaching you with his findings. 

He then proceeds to give you a cost for your new digital aerial or satellite installation/repair. However, the price given is a lot more than what was said over the phone or what’s advertised on their website. So you rightly question the price he has given you, making him aware of what you were initially told and also the offer on the website. 

Here is where the deception begins. There are several ways these engineers get around what questions you have asked such as, “Apologies but the £49 quoted is a starting price and that’s just for the aerial itself not including the bracket, mast, cable, fittings”, or they may pass the book to the office staff for misinforming you. Whatever methods they use, all I can say to you is a new digital aerial installation for under £50 does not and never will exist, unless you get your mate or the local DIY man to do it for you. 

Aerial companies that employ these low marketing tactics will over inflate their prices as they have extremely expensive over heads. These are things such as the running and maintenance of their vehicles, lease costs of their vehicles, insurances, office staff, rates for their buildings, stock, equipment, and wages for engineers. All of this needs to be deducted before the people at the top make a profit. Do your maths… £49 will never come close to covering these costs.

Furthermore, most of these engineers are completely commission based which leads to high pressure selling tactics. Those that claim to be on a salary are also part commission based and if they don’t hit targets, they will lose their jobs.

It’s difficult as a TV aerial engineer to explain these things to people without them believing I’m trying to sell them something or bad mouth my competitors for personal gain. All I can say is when you have experienced customers that have been let down, ripped off, and had shoddy workmanship carried out by these national aerial & satellite companies… it’s difficult not to speak up.

If you’re still not convinced, then all you have to do is look at how much it would cost to go to your local DIY shop and buy yourself a new TV aerial, cable, bracket, mast and all the relevant fittings. You’ll soon realise you have spent fifty quid or more, and I can assure you that these companies don’t get their equipment that much cheaper.

Also it’s extremely difficult to get these national companies back to repair your TV aerial if you experience a problem. Even if they do turn up, it will never be the same person. This enables them to charge you again and again for various things they decide to make up.

I apologise for the rant but if this article stops just one person from falling victim to these companies then I will be a very happy man.

Top 5 Tips for Avoiding Aerial Installation Cons

  1. Always get more than one quote for any work you require. This will allow you to make a clear and informed decision. 
  2. Don’t just go ahead with work because they’re already at your home and it seems easier than getting someone else out. Make sure you’re 100% happy before you allow any work to start. 
  3. Take a second to Google a company by name before they do any work. We live in an age where technology is forever expanding, and it’s now so easy to research anybody. You can find anything out about a business in seconds. If you wait until after they have done a bad job or charged you the earth, it’s too late. You won’t get your money back and you will end up paying that local reputable TV aerial company to amend their work. 
  4. Pay that little bit more for a recommended local tradesman that doesn’t have all those expensive over heads and whose business depends on local recommendations to survive. When you call a company that claims to be local or use local aerial engineers, then ask them where they are based. Don’t ask them if they cover your area, because they will always say the engineer is from your particular area. Although sometimes this may be true, 9 out of 10 times, that engineer has had to travel a long way to get to you and does not have the local knowledge of your area. They will almost certainly try to sell you a high gain aerial and amplifier. But if you’re in the Cambridgeshire area, a standard aerial with a standard splitter to 2 TV points will work just as well, if not better, and will cost far less.
  5. Stay safe, be smart and don’t fall for the cheap marketing cons. Not all aerial engineers that work for national companies rip people off or carry out bad work, you just need to have your eyes open when dealing with anyone.

Comments (2)

Sarah - 01 Jul 2016 17:14

this is useful info just wish i had seen it before i got ripped off. This happened to me last week and i feel like such an idiot :-(

erle - 19 Mar 2018 06:12

Thank you for sharing such great information. It's a pleasure to visit here. You can also visit us in Smart Aerials .

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