Back in October I asked whether Philip Morris could afford £290 as a goodwill gesture to Arif Ahmed who had taken part in their Drive promotion. He applied too late to redeem the vouchers and so Philip Morrris refused. I tried again in November but it was still no.

Arif rang again from Ahmed News in Coventry in December pleading for a “last ditch” effort from me, saying he would donate half the money to charity. So there I went again on this well-trodden path.

At first they said no, we’ve already commented; then, lo and behold, they had a rethink. Kate Thomas, manager, external marketing communications, sent an ecstatic email saying: “Good news for Arif. I pushed again and have had the below response from our sales team.”

On Friday, 19 December, the sales team wrote: “The retailer will be credited with 290 DTE points today. 290 points = £290.

“Retailer can redeem the points for cash straight into their bank account by logging into the DTE platform which is called ‘Heetwave open’.

“The retailer should be familiar with the redemption process as I can see on their account that they have redeemed previously. Points have now been loaded to the retailer’s account.”

I passed this on to Arif along with Kate’s good wishes for a great Christmas.

Good as his word, Arif has donated half to charity. In fact he asked me to pick one. I chose Crisis and he promptly sent me £145, which Crisis says will help five homeless people this Christmas.

As Arif summed it up: “It’s a win-win for all.”

If you’ve got a retail problem, call Jac on 020 8502 9775 or email: