There has been a running battle between George and PayPoint, which wants him to quit his extra terminal.
George claimed he wanted to offer the service to his elderly customers, even though it was costing him a low transaction penalty he sent me his records and it costs him twice what he was making on it!
I got involved because I thought PayPoint made exceptions in cases like this (it turns out it does, but I'm saving that for the end).
First of all, PayPoint pointed out that it mainly made exceptions where customers could not top up their gas or electricity meters because Payzone has exclusivity. These are essential services where customers might get cut off if they don't top-up on time.
"Obviously, we don't want that," says spokesman Peter Brooker. "Water is different; it's still an essential service, of course, but the water companies aren't allowed to cut off supply to customers when in arrears. So George's customers aren't going to be cut off if they don't pay their bill for another couple of days, when they can go to Payzone in nearby villages or into Wisbech to do their weekly shopping."
PayPoint's research pinpointed precisely where they could pay their water bills.
Peter Brooker promised that PayPoint would not cut off George's terminal while further investigation took place.
PayPoint believed that George had refused to provide proof of Payzone usage purely for Anglian Water. George said the rep had approached a member of staff who wasn't authorised to show his transactions.
The emails flew back and forth like an EasyJet flight quick and crowded. The upshot was worthy of any saga both won and lost.
Just as Peter Brooker was telling me to tell George to fax or email his evidence in the form of copies of the invoices to PayPoint's service centre so that it could reopen discussions with him, George was 'losing it' over the phone with a PayPoint rep.
"I did shout," admits George and when she said 'I'm going to hang up now', I hung up first."
Then he caved in and signed the form saying he would give up his Payzone terminal and had already faxed it before I could tell him 'the good news'.
At the time of writing, George doesn't know whether the shouting will mean that he loses his PayPoint terminal, too.
George feels that even if he keeps the terminal, PayPoint will lose sales through his outlet because those having to go elsewhere to pay their water bills will do their gas and electricity business there at the same time.
Well, George has got it off his chest and PayPoint got its way. (Payzone rolled over and said fine, give us one month's notice.)
There is one further irony here. At one point his rep told him that his telephone top-ups had gone down. "We have a lot of seasonal agricultural workers here from Eastern Europe," says George. "When they went home of course the level went down. They're just coming back now."
So, just as he gets rid of his Payzone terminal, his telephone top-ups through PayPoint will go up again. Just thought I would get that on the record.