Dipak Shah got in touch from H & R News in Camberley, Surrey, to say that he had a problem with Smiths News over £417.20 in Telegraph vouchers not being honoured. The day in question was Saturday 5 September. Some newsagents will remember that was the day there were protests at several printing sites where production was halted.
He says: “The papers were very late that day, and Telegraph never came hence we couldn’t deliver to our customers or customers couldn’t collect from shop. We still delivered the inserts that came prior to getting the main paper to all our customers, while we were still waiting the actual paper which was promised but never came.
“Hence we either gave back the voucher to customers, or gave the alternative vouchers, or even cash value for the vouchers.”
I handed this over to Linda Windsor who operates the formal complaints process on behalf of the Press Distribution Forum but she later came back with the following response from Smiths: “Unfortunately I cannot resolve this for this customer. This is a decision made by The Telegraph that the voucher department has no control over – we cannot retract the charge.
“The voucher should have only been exchanged for a copy of The Telegraph, as this was not available they should have given it back to the subscriber to take up with The Telegraph themselves.
It does state on the voucher it should only be exchanged for this. The voucher has no money value and no money should be exchanged for the voucher.
“The rules on accepting vouchers are clear and as The Telegraph expects the retailers to be following this, they are now taking back credit wrongly given to retailers. If the paper was not sold, then they are not entitled to the money from the voucher. This is a decision made by the Telegraph that Smiths cannot reverse.”
So Dipak duly went direct to The Telegraph.
They replied, in part: “If you have used the voucher value to credit against any outstanding delivery fee or other products provided you will need to remove this from their account as the voucher value should only be used as payment for The Telegraph dated 5th September 2020 and the voucher value is not transferable for other products/services.
“Should any of your customers wish to contact The Telegraph directly they are able to do so by emailing email@example.com.
“To avoid future occurrences, please be reminded that vouchers should only be redeemed with your wholesaler if The Telegraph newspaper has been provided to the subscriber.”
Dipak is decidedly unhappy about this. He says he felt he had no option to act as he did as there had been no communication either from the newspaper or the wholesaler. He was told the paper was on its way and delivered all the inserts as they came early.
If you’ve got a retail problem, call Jac on 020 8502 9775 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.