Mohammad Jalil, who runs Seven Days News in Sheffield, is into his third year with the Point 4 media deal, having spent around £6K so far on the epos, paying £226 a month in support fees financed by Bank of Scotland (BoS). He has spoken to Point 4 managing director Patrick Boden (and more often to Patrick's sales team) and is still hearing, yes, you have a guarantee of your money back before the contract is up. He asks what is the worst case scenario and is again told: you have our guarantee.
Jalil asked me: "Will Patrick give me the £12K I will be owed in two years' time then?"
Via his solicitor, he approached BoS with a view to getting out of the contract. "BoS says all we have done is helped you buy equipment." His solicitor wrote that his client thought that the £6K paid so far was a fair amount for the epos and offered another £500 in settlement.
BoS has replied that it wants the rest, ie another £6K (£12K altogether), or it will take back the till and screens (wonder what the bank will do with them other than give them to Point 4 to redistribute elsewhere?).
After Trading Standards refused to help, Mohammad went to his MP but was told that the dispute was with the supplier, Point 4, so the MP can't help.
I spoke to director Paula Boden who confirmed that Point 4 was still pursuing the advertising. "And quite a few retailers are now pursuing local advertising they are all offered this route."
You need to be clear on lease purchase arrangements. Point 4 uses a broker which marries up the offer with a suitable funder like Lombard or BoS. Some funders will only touch blue chip companies so if you're running a small newsagent then they might not be interested, whereas if you have a little empire of c-stores, they would. And funders are getting decidedly uninterested in underwriting IT equipment these days. And yes, advertisers have sewn up their pockets too.The equipment you have, second-hand, would be worthless. What you do have is a good bit of kit supported by an epos company that has been around 22 years, and did not set out to fleece you. You also get seven-day IT support and upgrades.