Had a couple of complaints about newspaper supplies in the last fortnight. Nothing new there I can almost guarantee a regular supply of these. Both the latest two concerned Smiths News.

First up was Paul Moscardini, Hallfield Lane Stores, Wetherby, who emailed his frustration over his standing orders adjusted so that the good selling titles were being cut back and the slow selling titles were being increased. No one seemed to be responding to his complaints.

He writes: “My business is a newsagent, I earn my living selling newspapers. If I do not have papers I don’t earn, if I don’t earn I can’t pay my bills and if I can’t pay my bills I go bust.”

And in his email to a Smiths boss he adds: “You are being contacted because one of your employees doesn’t give a damn if one of my employees acted in the same manner I, as the business owner, would deal with it.”

Next was Lynne & Steve Wilson, St Teath Post Office & Village Store who get their supplies from Bodmin. But deliveries were getting later and later. Lynn wrote: “We open at 7.30am in the week and 8.30am on a Sunday and it doesn’t help business when the papers arrive at 8am or later and 9am or later on a Sunday.”

She adds: “This morning the papers arrived at 8.15am, by which time all our early morning customers have gone elsewhere for their papers. We have lost 95% of our early morning customers thanks to the late deliveries. Of course we are also losing sales of milk, cigarettes and other groceries.”

I put all of them onto Dorothy King, the administrator of the Press Distribution Forum (PDF) which handles industry standard complaints that retailers have with wholesalers. It’s a free service.

She promptly got stuck into both problems.

Lynn reported back: “Dorothy has just phoned me and was very helpful in telling us our rights and how to proceed with this issue with Smiths. We are sure that we can now come to a satisfactory conclusion with her help and advice.”

I know the previous complaints procedure (ISSA) attracted its own complaints but I think the one in place now does get results. I have seen the effort that Dorothy puts into sorting situations and it is both thorough and commendable.