Raj Morker has come to dread the rain - not for the bad hair day or ruined shoes reasons, but because she knows that it means her magazines will be delivered drenched and she won’t be able to sell any of them.
Raj has run Morker News in Leicester for the past 18 years, spending some £550-£600 a week with Smiths on news and mags supplies. She says that she regularly has issues with soggy bundles when the skies open. When she rang she reported that, for the past two weeks, copies of Eastern Eye had been sodden and useless.
Raj has a tote box in a sheltered space so the fault is clearly not at her end.
When she last spoke to a night manager at her regional centre in Nottingham about the problem he was polite, but essentially passed the buck. Not us, he said.
She’s been told that hers is the first delivery on the route as she opens at 5am. Does this mean her supplies are on top of the bundle and they are, at some point in their distribution, left outside, uncovered, despite the often wet nature of our weather?
At any rate, she said: “I don’t want an explanation. I want action.”
As trading standards are fond of saying when it comes to consumer rights, sometimes the state of some of her supplies are not fit for purpose so she absolutely cannot offer them for sale.
Raj talked to the NFRN, which assured her that this is a not uncommon problem and which complained on her behalf.
I referred Raj to Dorothy King, administrator for the Press Distribution Forum which strives for harmony between retailers and their news wholesalers. Dorothy said: “I will be inviting Mrs Morker to raise a Stage 2 formal complaint and monitor progress, and if necessary refer to the arbitrator.”
I hope I’ll be able to report that the news has ‘dried up’ on this subject fairly soon.