Haren Bhatt has been running Universal Newsagents outside Highbury & Islington Tube Station in North London for 25 years and I’ve known him for most of them. In his time he has tackled local authorities, institutions and suppliers over various injustices. Now it’s News International’s turn.
He writes: “I do not open on Sundays and I have reiterated this countless times, but still I am being charged for Sunday delivery - for what? A ghost service?”
He adds that his distributor knows full well that he never opens on Sundays. He further believes there must be many other retailers in the same situation.
“It is unacceptable. Each and every week, I point this out to News Retail Services Ltd (NRSL) staff.”
NRSL is owned by News International and is one of the largest deliverers of newspapers and magazines in the UK, serving more than 4,000 retail outlets.
When Haren points out the error, he is given a credit. “However, come the next week it’s the same scenario all over again. Mistakes can be made once or twice, but in and out every week? It is an incompetent service.”
If it carries on he says he will have to deduct the extra charges from the latest invoices. During the Christmas period he says there were “fake extra charges which were not credited back”.
He ended up issuing a county court claim, which did the trick.
He concludes: “In my opinion the OFT should re-think their strategy about the newspaper industry.”
I can’t understand why someone at NRSL can’t just push a button on their sophisticated computer system to identify the fact that Haren doesn’t sell NI’s papers on Sundays and automatically knock it off his bill.
It remains an itch he can’t scratch.