The characters in this story will remain anonymous by request. A retailer in the East Midlands had his store broken into two months ago and, although the alarm went off, he received no alert from his (heavyweight) security company.

He had taken over the store in 2007 and the security contract along with it. He was asked to supply four telephone numbers as contacts at the takeover, which he did. In 2010 the police twice attended his premises because the alarm activated by mistake (he wasn’t notified) and his red care status was removed.

At the recent break-in, the thieves waited to see if anyone would attend and when no one did they damaged the alarm and broke in through a flimsy wall in an adjacent unit. He lost £5K in cigarettes. The loss adjuster from his insurance company awarded £4,250. When the engineer attended to repair the box he said that the retailer’s contact details weren’t on the system.

Following the repairs, the retailer received a bill for £260. He complained and was told this could be written off and he could have six months’ free contract fees (worth about £200). But he was also told he could not have red care re-instated without upgrading at a cost of £1,100.

When he contacted me he was very unhappy and no longer wanted to be in a contract with the company, but said he would accept £250 compensation to make up for the loss of stock the insurance company did not cover.

I got in touch with the company hoping to reach an amicable solution, but I got a bland response telling me how committed the company was to providing the best service and that it fully investigates all complaints. It concluded: “For reasons of client confidentiality, we are unable to comment on individual matters, but would like to assure you that we do strive to provide excellent service and prompt responses to concerns.”

So when I rang the retailer to tell him how I had failed, he happily said he had been meaning to ring to thank me because the company had now agreed to the compensation!