It was a simple question: “Can I charge a ‘convenience’ fee for PayPoint payments?”

I’ve been asked this before and the answer has always been no, but there have been a lot of changes at PP recently so I thought I would ask again.

But the straightforward answer was just the same. No.

And, as PP pointed out, the only current exception to this is if the customer pays by card. Then a surcharge can be applied at the retailer’s discretion - but only until next year when new legislation will put a stop to this, too. In this retailer’s case the latter wasn’t an option because he doesn’t take cards.

The retailer (who is also a sub postmaster) had a couple of reasons for asking the question, though. He knew that some retailers do charge, even though they are breaching the T&Cs, and has even had some customers asking if there was a charge as they had been charged elsewhere.

But, more importantly, on 1 July Leicester City council stopped taking council rents through the Post Office, switching either to PayPoint or direct debit. They only announced this in June.

Our sub postmaster has had a PP terminal for 10 years and recently signed for another five. But whereas he never made much on it before, he was getting a certain amount of footfall. Now it is costing him about £1.50-£2 per transaction which on average is about £130. He says: “Now they come in, pay, and just walk out. It’s like I’m paying the customers to come in.”

He says he regrets signing up for another five years of this.