If so, Anish Shah would like to know. For the first time in the six years that he has run Sonam Enterprise in Richmond, southwest London, five of the tote boxes his newspapers come and go in have disappeared. WH Smith Slough has charged him £27.50 + VAT for ‘not returning the empties’ as it were. But Anish is adamant he left the boxes in the lock-up for the driver (on three separate occasions) who collects in the middle of the night and who is supposed to scan the barcode on the boxes when he picks them up. “Why would we keep them?” asks Anish. “They’re no use to us – they’re just grey, plastic boxes which might be of use if we were a fruit and veg shop, but we’re not.”
The news wholesaler says there is nothing he can do and the sum will remain on his invoice, listed under ‘tote control’ until he clears it.
“And I suppose this could have happened before as it just appears as a miscellaneous charge at the bottom of the invoice and I may not have spotted it and queried it,” says Anish. “So it could be happening to others.”
Is it? Do let me know. And from now on, have a closer read of your invoices.