Mekala Selvasivaku-maran wrote from KS General Store, Portsmouth, that she took over the business from a previous owner on November 2015 and inherited Cashzone. She was told by the rep that the previous owner only had 19 months left on his contract. She says he put an addendum on the contract to say so. She contacted Cashzone in July 2017 to remove the cash machine. Some months later she spoke to Cashzone again and was told that the person who gave her the contract was not working for them anymore and she had a rollover contract for five more years.
She says: “I was shocked. The machine charges people £1.25 and is very old and makes lots of noise.” Mekala has also had customers accusing her of taking their money when the machine does that ‘time out’ trick where it keeps the money.
She says that she went to NFRN’s legal helpline, but they seemed to think she didn’t have enough grounds to go on.
I contacted Cashzone and this was the official response. “We apologise if Ms Selvasivakumaran has experienced any inconvenience. Unfortunately, we are unable to publicly comment on contractual agreements, but we can confirm the machine in question is in service and are in contact with Ms Selvasivakumaran.”
I don’t think that’s fair treatment at all. But as I can’t force the company to do anything I recommended that Mekala complains to the Financial Ombudsman.
Then there is Derek Cooke’s situation. I reported in our 23 March issue that his 20-year-old Cashzone hole-in-the-wall machine had been raided a month earlier. At that point there was a response from Cardtronics confirming there would shortly be a repair or replacement. An engineer came to take the door off the back of the ATM, took one look, saw it had all been burned out and said it was just a joke.
Since then - five months all told - Derek has been without a machine. No one answers his calls or emails. Furthermore he still has not been provided with a copy of his original contract that they promised and that he needs for his business interruption insurance claim.
He now says: “An awful company. They’ve just totally ignored it. It has hugely affected business. My turnover has dropped dramatically. It was 10-20% of turnover.”
Derek’s ATM used to do average monthly transactions of £200,000. As he feared when he first contacted, those transactions are now going through the nearby Co-op.
I recommended that Derek contact the legal team at the NFRN and look into reporting the company to the Financial Ombudsman. Another option would be to sue through the small claims court for compensation for loss of trade.
I have chased Cashzone via its PR company a few times and am also waiting for a response.