Sometimes, in this job, I can turn into a Mrs Fix-it, but not always. If you ring me, for example, with a complaint about Refrigerators-R-Us that you have seen advertised in Convenience Store, then I can probably get results.
It stands to reason: if the company advertises in C-Store then it values the magazine’s market and therefore wouldn’t like any adverse publicity. So if the problem is solved to both parties’ satisfaction I often sit on the story. Some readers would prefer that I name and shame, but life is usually a compromise.
When it’s your local council however, you can see where they won’t actually give a monkey’s uncle about a bad write-up in the press. They are used to it. The same goes for the huge utilities companies, the banks and the police.
But here is a company that should care, but doesn’t seem to. Over the past several months I have been in email correspondence and telephone conversation with Bharti Patel and her former supplier Note Machine.
She runs Sweet Aum News in Salford, Manchester, and had a Note Machine ATM installed in the summer of 2007. That September, just as the shop was being opened, two men appeared. One threatened her with a sledgehammer and the other yanked the ATM out. It was all over in a couple of minutes. “Insurance will not cover the machine,” she wrote to me back in March of this year, “but I believe that the robbery could have been avoided if the machine had been installed correctly – something the police commented on upon inspection of the scene. I have been in constant communication with Note Machine but I have yet to hear a suitable answer.”
She claims to be more than £5,000 out of pocket due to money owed to her from transactions (and for which she has receipts) and to cover the theft of the money in the machine. She has sent me a detailed breakdown and it looks pretty clear.
I have spoken to various bods at Note Machine. In June, for example, someone promised to visit her. No one did. And no one has removed the sign from outside the store saying that there is an ATM service available inside the shop.
In October I emailed the whole story again to the company – as requested when I rang them for the third time – advising that I would be writing the story up and asking for their comment.
You know what’s coming don’t you? Nil response.