I may be wrong but this raises a big, BIG, red flag with me.
Sorta like: hey, I got this string from somewhere, let's try decoding it until I think it looks right (I've been through some utf-8 challenges lately...).
Unless you're dealing with idiots that supply you with data they say is in a given encoding that are plain wrong, just make sure you know what you're doing.
What are they sending me (tcpdump is your friend)? How is it encoded? How do I decode it to something my environment handles?
It all sounds so work-around-ish that it hurts.
But hey, if it works (good enough) for you, go ahead ;)