Mid-August brought in two complaints in a row about news wholesaler Smiths News. Jan Stratford, who manages Sprita's One Stop in Clifton, Nottingham, is frustrated at newish arrangements for returns of the Nottingham Evening Post. It's no longer direct and credits go missing and she is having to spend a great deal of valuable time chasing them (and the last time she got put through to the Leicester Mercury). You would think that Smiths would be good at wholesaling by now, considering the longevity, the duopoly and all.

Rachel Morrison, from Pitton Post Office near Salisbury, didn't like the fact that Smiths had passed her account number to Freedom Mastercard, which led to a cold-calling rep being pushy over a 10-in-a-box set of cash top-up cards which really wouldn't have suited her very rural location.

Smiths says it gives suppliers such as this the account number so that the bill can go directly via itself. There is an opt-out clause which Rachel has now gone for..