Our website had a 'name can be supplied on request' comment from a retailer who is an ex-systems programmer and who had a complaint regarding the cost of updating his Point 4 Epos system to handle the imminent VAT increase in January.

He (I assume) writes: "When the government first reduced the VAT rate to 15% for 12 months in 2009, we declined Point 4's offer to carry out the system update (at £100 plus VAT per site) and we carried out the relatively slow but simple process ourselves."

He wanted to repeat the exercise this time, but the new 20% rate is not included in the current VAT table on the company's systems and is not a variable that the user can change.

He adds: "I received a phone call from Point 4 to tell me that they were unwilling to agree to my request and carry out the (minor) VAT table upgrade and that I would have to pay for the full service. It appears to be a case of 'pay up or else'."

Point 4 refutes the suggestion that this might be "a nice little earner" for them, given what was surely a minor program tweak.

A spokesman said the cost is now only £50 (and to make the changes requested by the customer would be about £50 anyway) and that it was working towards letting customers do their own upgrades. "But there is quite a lot of work involved and we are just covering our costs."

At the moment, he suggested, a DIY approach could lead to all sorts of other problems. "This way we protect both ourselves and our customers."