Eespecially when they masquerade as being part of the wholesaler’s service. I know this because, after I got a call from Neil Deacon (Holton Post Office in Leeds) complaining about Innzone’s tactics to get some tatty Disney books into his store, I Googled the company.
Almost the first thing that came up was a piece from the NFRN newsletter two years ago saying: “NFRN members demand automatic opt-out for Innzone promotions.”
At the time hundreds of angry newsagents hit out at third-party supplier Innzone, claiming they were being bombarded with unwanted and unauthorised goods which arrived via news wholesalers Smiths News and Menzies Distribution. There was even a mass rally in South London.
While it was acknowledged that members needed to accept some responsibility for what they agreed to buy over the phone, it was clear that the trading method adopted by Innzone and the wholesalers lacked the necessary level of transparency, given that so many members felt they had been duped into buying goods they did not want.
But it still goes on. Neil got a call from someone saying they were ringing on behalf of Menzies and could they send him some books? Or details of same? He said they could send the details - which arrived with the books. He complained and they said we have a recording. He says he couldn’t hear anywhere on the recording that he had agreed to take any books, but at the end the guy says: “Okay, I’ll get those out to you.”
Neil thinks the “sub-standard” Disney books from Innzone are not worth more than 30p, although he is supposed to sell them for £1.99. He is not selling them.
When he rang me he was about to be charged £133.44 and could not get his money back for unsold stock until 16 weeks’ later under the buy-back promise. He also didn’t like the tone on the phone!
I did email Menzies to ask if anything could be done to avoid Neil having to go through this tedious process to claw back the money. (I also told him to ring Menzies and opt out of any future third-party sales, as Menzies will agree to this.)
I didn’t hear back, but I rang Neil again before writing this and he had just had a call from a rather more pleasant Innzone person who promised to come and pick up the unwanted goods.