Thanks to the many of you who got in touch over Smiths News and its policy on credits for short delivery of newspapers.
For those who missed Nailesh Gokani’s original complaint (C-Store, 22 May: Credit where it’s due), he found a confusion between short supplies of papers, and credits for same. The attempt to sort it out involved a lot of ringing high-charge call centres.
Samir Patel, Bargain Booze, Good News London, wrote: “Yes, I am in the same boat from the same supplier – Smiths Borehamwood. Every time I call them to raise a query about ‘re-charge’ they get very vague and confusingly reply ‘maybe it was scanned twice’. I wonder what it means? But that certainly meant now pay for an 0845 call charge!”
Naran Rabadia emailed: “I have the same problems. I get nowhere when I complain the next day, or get promised a call back after investigation – no call back.”
Amar Dhillon, Cheltenham, calls it a “total abuse by a monopoly imposed upon small retailers”.
Jay Singh Badwal, who runs Kingsley Moor Service Station outside Stoke-on-Trent, complains: “They never ring you back and they are not delivering enough papers.”
He’s in “the middle of nowhere” so he needs to get the right number of papers to serve a community that drives a couple of miles to buy their Daily Wotever.
Anish Shah, Sonam News, writes: “We have been experiencing a regular problem of unsold newspapers and magazines not re-credited correctly; ie Smiths News will apply less quantity credit than actual quantity returned. When we raise this issue, the correct credits are never applied and we as news-agents do not have any say.”
Well, maybe you do if you all club together. But, I think by ‘you’ I mean the National Federation of Retail Newsagents. Whether you are a member or not, they should step up to the plate on this occasion.
In fact, they are endorsed by Jayesh Patel, Classic News, Northamptonshire. He says: “I get a lot of issues with Smiths and I go to the NFRN. Ring the call centre and they will log a complaint directly to Smiths. They give them 48 hours to respond, which is fair enough. Then they contact me back.”