Dipak Patel, who runs a Costcutter in Leicester, took part in BAT’s loyalty scheme last year (for 21 facings of different BAT products you receive £200-worth of vouchers paid in £100 lots twice a year). Last year he had a temporary rep filling in for his usual one, who was on maternity leave. He says: “She paid us £100 in January. Then she came in again in November with the vouchers, but we were four facings short.” Apparently when this happens the rep normally sells you stock from the car, but she had none.

“So she said she would come back in December to make sure we were re-stocked up.”

However, she didn’t show up again until March this year when she came in with the original rep.

He continues: “I asked what happened to December and she said ‘I couldn’t make it’.”

Then she told Dipak that the scheme had finished. He was shown on an iPad screen that he had been paid in January 2013. He rang BAT the same day and customer services told him he had been paid, but he was adamant that he didn’t receive the second batch of vouchers.

When I contacted BAT, Jennifer Letts, corporate communications manager, UK & Ireland, promised a full investigation and has now reported back. She says: “As a gesture of goodwill, our trade marketing representative stated she would return in December 2012 to check whether Mr Patel had achieved the necessary contracted level of facings, although the contract states that the agreed brands must be in stock at all times, and not only purchased when the rep visits.”

The rep had a good reason for not re-attending as she had been involved in a car accident. Due to these circumstances, BAT has agreed to issue the outstanding £100 vouchers on this occasion as a further gesture of goodwill.