It shouldn’t have to come to this. Amar Dhillon, who runs Park Stores in Cheltenham, sent an outraged email to me and to Dorothy King at the Press Distribution Forum (she guides retailers through the complaints process over their news suppliers). He wrote that, among his returns to Smiths News, were three copies of Times Higher Education Supplement (which retail at £3.50 each). He received credit for all the other titles bar the aforementioned.

“I logged missing credit query online and via phone to customer services on various occasions without response for a week. Today received seven notes from Smiths News rejecting my claim. I find this arbitrary and casual response to genuine claims being dismissed in such a manner as sheer insult. Small shops can’t survive with loss of revenue in this manner. I hope your intervention will highlight the plight of small newsagents.”

Well, it’s being highlighted right here and now but, before either of us could respond properly, Amar emailed again: “Smiths News have given me the credit for those titles today after I threatened legal action. Up to today I’ve received 11 claim rejection notes concerning this claim, which just shows how phoney their assertions regarding their scanning accuracy are.”

As an interesting postscript, he adds: “About 13-14 years ago I was forced to take legal action against Surridge Dawson Bristol depot with regard to newspaper vouchers which they lost and they had to change the system nationally.”

Amar is no doubt hoping Smiths will follow suit.