Yes, supermarkets fall into the tough cookie category with enviable arm-twisting techniques to secure far better deals than you can. But not always.

Hitesh Pabari (Jessica’s Mini Supermarket, Sparrows Herne, Hertfordshire) emailed to say that he had noticed his local Asda has started offering the PayPoint service and wanted to know if they were getting more favourable rates than indies.

He suggested that the Freedom of Information Act should be used to wrestle the information out of Asda. As the National Federation of Retail Newsagents swiftly pointed out to him: “FOI requests can only be used against public bodies such as your local council, police or government departments.”

Logic told me that PP doesn’t give better commission to supers. But I asked the question and here is the official response: “PayPoint work with many of the large grocers, including Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, who have exactly the same terms and standard commission rates as independents. Asda have PayPoint in every store as it is an important part of their offering to customers.”  

So, a level playing field is claimed when it comes to PayPoint. And although it is hardly a consolation that your commission is no worse than the Big Four’s, they must only be offering the service because they see it as just part of their all-under-one-roof approach. Hitesh, though, just isn’t buying it.