Richard Swanborough writes from Hale Newsagents & PO, near Salisbury: “I thought it would be beneficial to other traders for me to write to you re my experience with Handepay/Merchant Rentals. My contract with them had nearly run its course (three years) when I was visited by two other providers.

“I thought it reasonable to contact Handepay as to whether they could match the terms I had been offered. They said they could, so I duly signed up with them for a further three years.”

But soon after re-signing Handepay introduced an authorisation fee of 3.95p per transaction which increased his account by about £90 per month. He contacted them and they said “We can do something about that next month” and reduced it to 1p per transaction.

“They were not willing to reimburse me the £90 (or even part of it) from the months before charges.”

Then he was visited by another provider, with whom he signed up.

He adds: “Merchant Rentals then sent me a bill of outstanding 31 months of the contract. It appears that they have got things tied up to the effect that Handepay can put your charge up to what they like and Merchant Rentals can hold you to any increased charges with their contract.”

Ah yes, the complicated arrangements between ‘providers’ and ‘acquirers’ and ‘merchants’.

Unfortunately, the case went to court recently and cost Richard about £1K. He said to the judge: “I regard myself as morally right. But the judge said morally right and legally right are two different things.”

Too right.