Monopolies only seem a good idea to those in charge. Yet there also seems to be a worrying trend towards them. The newspaper wholesaler industry is now a virtual duopoly and even when there were several suppliers they still carved up the country into a sort of crazy quilt that marked out their geographical, monopolistic territory.

PayPoint insists that retailers remain faithful to a sole terminal and is now actually removing terminals from those who rebel. It isn't going down well with many.

Kiran Patel isn't having it. He got the letter recently telling him that if he was operating another supplier's terminal he would be in breach of his PayPoint contract. Very fairly he asks: "Why didn't the rep point this out to me? I had PayZone and Barclays PDQ before I got PayPoint. He could see them in my shop."

He adds that he is "not really bothered" about keeping his PP terminal. "Barclays offers a much better rate for top-ups and PayZone covers just about everything else."

I mention Kiran's case, not because it is unusual. It is a very familiar story. There is a lot of resentment which has been easily stirred up through a mixture of having to do a lot of hard work for poor commission under dictatorial terms.

PayZone has its detractors too, especially since it introduced minimum transaction levels and started charging for till rolls. Manjit Sokhal, who runs Coppice Lane Off Licence, Willenhall, West Midlands, was "niggled" by PayZone's latest promotional stunt of a free prize draw. "It's all printed on the till roll that I'm paying for. The receipt I'm holding in my hand at the moment has EON printed on it. Customers can win the grand total of £10 off their energy bill."

She reckons she is printing off the equivalent of three receipts now for every transaction. "They never put competitions on the till rolls when they were paying for them."

Khem Chaunkria, from Bentley News, also in the West Midlands, complained about this, too. Even though PayZone says its till rolls are competitively priced, Khem says that the rolls are so small that he is going through one a day. It's retail-detail and it counts so take note all you multi-function service providers.