This was a somewhat delicate issue. I had a distressed Sam Parmar, Londis, West Molesey, Surrey, on the phone who seemed to be caught in a vicious circle. He said that for several weeks he had not been receiving his Daily Mail weekend supplements. He had complained to Smiths News, often having rung at least 20 times (he had six reference numbers!) but was getting nowhere.

He tried insisting on being given a reason (at one point they said “weight” on the van was an issue).

On one occasion Sam admits having a go at someone on the phone, told them they were “useless” and should “get their finger out”. He then received a letter telling him he had been abusive and if it didn’t stop, supplies would be withdrawn.

He maintains he is not a rude person, but was driven to it. Now, whenever he reports missing supplements they mention his abusive behaviour and he said now he is afraid to report them missing.

On the day he rang me they were missing again. I referred him to Dorothy King, who guides retailers through the formal complaints process for the independent Press Distribution Forum. She spoke to her contact at the Daily Mail about the issue and noted that they were also investigating. They also said there is a number for retailers to contact them direct inside the papers if they were having such issues, and that this has been in place for a number of years (clearly a known problem then).

Glad to report that, three weeks later, the situation is much improved, and Sam got an £80 refund on delivery charges. He wasn’t expecting that.