Ian and Sharon Laws ran three successful supermarkets trading as Costcutter for 24 years in Cornwall. They sold to the Co-operative Food Group, finalising last autumn.
“The three stores were very strong with tobacco sales and we contracted with BAT to follow strict disciplines in catalogue, layout and availability in return for rewards by means of the MORE together Visa cards issued by Citibank,” says Ian.
“In January 2017 I used one of the cards to check a balance and it was retained by the cash machine under the message ‘transaction refused - your card has expired’. All three of the cards have an expiry date of May 2017.”
There followed a big run-around. After an area rep tried to sort it out, the Laws were eventually told that cancellation letters had been sent. Not so, says Ian, as the Co-op had forwarded all post.
They didn’t have much hope when they contacted me with copies of two of the cards with values of £450 and £350, and said: “We will accept the £67.08p value of the retained card, though my records show that the card held £400.”
I got in touch with BAT, it was quickly resolved and the same helpful rep conveyed the news that the original value of the three cards would be paid.
Ian wrote: “Sharon and I would like to thank you so much for resolving this vexing issue for us within 12 hours.”
And he had a little message for the trade. “Every independent retailer should be reading Convenience Store if they are ‘passionate about their business’.”