I know we don't all read every word of every contract. In truth, we would be a bit of an anorak-fusspot if we did. I always say to suppliers who tell me, 'It's all there in the contract, never mind what they thought the rep promised', that the only time you read the terms and conditions on your airline ticket is when you are stuck at the airport. The fine print then tells you that you are up a gum tree and basically it is your fault.
Prab Singh from Guiseley Supermarket in Leeds believed that the ChoicesUK rep told him there were no hidden costs in his hire contract for DVDs and videos. "It was supposed to be £10 a week plus VAT to hire the lot, including the computer system. ChoicesUK takes 75% of the takings and I get 25%."
He says he was happy at first because he had good titles every four weeks and was reaching sales of £100 a week, so he didn't avail himself of the three weeks' cooling-off period offered by the company.
Then he got into a downward spiral, taking less than £100 a week, which meant he no longer qualified for top-line titles, and sales dropped off even further. Then he discovers there is a minimum charge due if you haven't reached the target.
To cut it short, it was now costing him £57 a week with no revenue and he was stuck with a contract that he thought he could cancel from October. When he tried to do this he discovered that it would actually be six months from October.
This problem happily has been sorted, with the company doing the decent thing. Business development director Gerry Hooper points out that both the schedule and the agreement spell out the terms and it is a Consumer Credit Act agreement without fine print and so on.
ChoicesUK does bear 100% of the investment when a rental package goes in-store. "We put it all in plus the computer at no cost to the retailer other than £10 a week," says Hooper.
"On the whole, we are pretty fair. We have 3,500 rental customers and 8,000 sell-through retailers. It's a healthy estate with a lot of happy customers. But there was a communication problem with Mr Singh and we have put that right."
Ah, happy endings. My favourite. I would add that I have known ChoicesUK, previously known as Video Box Office, for at least 20 years and I get very few complaints.

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