It proved so for Michelle and Kevin Bailey who sent me a query via our website (www.convenience-store.co.uk) over the problem they were having with Alphyra Payzone.
"I sold my shop on August 17 this year and wrote to Payzone three weeks prior to that date to let them know that the business was sold and give them the contact details of the new owners," writes Michelle. "I was told that the machine would be switched off until the new owners had registered. A few weeks went by, and on checking my bank statement I noticed that an amount of £1,281 had been debited from my bank account to Payzone. I rang Payzone immediately, and spoke to an advisor who told me that the debited amount covered the period from August 23-27, 2007. I told them that the business was sold by then, so any transactions after August 18 were the responsibility of the new owners. Forward to today, after many, many phone calls and one letter sent by registered post.
"I rang Payzone again, and was told some paperwork had been sent through to the new owners and that the new owners were aware of the situation."
Michelle was told that it would take a few days for the new owners to sort through the paperwork. "I asked what all this had to do with me. I asked when Payzone would be refunding my money, and the spokeswoman seemed genuinely surprised when I expressed amusement at the suggestion that I would be claiming the amount that Payzone had taken from my bank from the new owners. I told her that it's Payzone who have my money, not the new owners."
Michelle was then told that there would be no refund until Payzone had contacted the new owners and got its money from them.
"How bloody laughable!" retorts Michelle. "To cap it all, my bank account is now close to being closed, with only a very small amount of money in there, and it's basically being kept open solely to receive my money back. However the charges involved in running the account means that there will be an amount of £307 taken from my account this weekend, taking me overdrawn. I really feel that I'm banging my head against a brick wall in trying to get Payzone to understand that I want my money back."
Well, it is now sorted. Barclays decided to get involved before I got a chance and gave Michelle her money back and presumably is now chasing Payzone for it. I pass on this story as a good tip. Banks can be powerful allies.