You may have noticed in our last issue a store development feature starring Mos Patel’s refitted Happy Shopper in Ashton-under-Lyne. Mos says that the £400K revamp to reverse a downward trend meant having to halt some of the services.

“We were six months into a PayPoint contract and we notified them we were doing a complete knock-down and renovation. When the store internal refit was about to be completed I notified all the various people about the opening date.”

He told PP that he could no longer do the Collect+ service as there wasn’t a safe and secure place for the parcels to be kept.

“The person at the time was really helpful, and I thought that was the end of the matter.”

He says he listened to suggestions, but PP didn’t come up with anything suitable as to where he could store the parcels. So he got a bit proactive and called the retention team and notified them that he was recording the call and they said they were recording it, too. He sent me the recording and posted it on a public Facebook group.

His big problem was that PP said he was breaching their contract and had to pay a £2,500 cancellation fee for Collect+.

This, he said, completely stunned him “as there was no equipment to be removed or workmanship required or electronic updates required to remove this service”.

He adds that it cost him to have the terminal and it wasn’t needed to increase foot flow; on the flip side he processes about £700-£1,000 a day in revenue for PP.

He was really aggrieved and said he believed there was no customer agenda and it was only about PP making money. He was also averse to PP’s other add-ons such as an ATM, a credit card machine and the new epos system.

I asked PP for a response and got a pretty full one: “We’re sorry to hear that Mr Patel has had issues and feels we haven’t considered his situation. However, our record of events shows otherwise. Mr Patel originally contacted us on 14 May to advise that his store was closing for refurbishment on 5 June and we subsequently worked with him to get his store back up and running again after the works had finished.

“Unfortunately, Mr Patel only advised us after the refurbishment that he no longer had space to store parcels. Mr Patel advised us that he could only store customer parcels outside of his store, which is clearly unacceptable for customers who have ordered goods. We offered to work with Mr Patel to source an appropriate storage unit and to contribute to the cost, without success.

“As Mr Patel is not willing to store parcels safely inside his store, we’ve had no option but to remove the Collect+ service at no cost to him.

“We are also disappointed to see that Mr Patel has caused unnecessary embarrassment and distress to a member of our team by posting a recording of a call made to us on social media. We take the safety and security of our people online very seriously and have asked Mr Patel to remove the post in question to avoid any further abuse.”

Well, there are two main points here. The retailer is happy that he doesn’t have to cough up £2.5K to leave the parcel service contract and although I don’t think Mos intended to shoot the messenger, the call guy does feel a bit shot. According to PP, he’s been off work for a while.