Rajan Jhanjee, who runs Paradise Stores in Brentwood, Essex, has a complaint about John Menzies’ policy on box-outs/credit advice notes. He explained:

“You get 40 issues of some obscure magazine which usually comes on a Thursday or Friday and, although you can send them back, you won’t get credit for another week. It’s Menzies’ way of manipulating cashflow.

“Menzies has a credit advice note system which is really an invoice for the previous week. I get mine on Monday morning and very often there are missed credits, but there will be a code alongside explaining why either too late or no record of supply and so on.

“I’ve found more mistakes lately; in fact 15 or 16 mistakes on one credit note. That’s a lot. All Menzies has to do is push a button but I have to physically go back and check them with my records. It’s time consuming and you have to go through hundreds of titles: back a month for monthlies, three months for quarterlies to see when it arrived and when it was returned. “

He adds: “You only have two weeks to put in a ‘financial query’ or it’s your loss. I asked for a more reasonable period of time. The call centre in Sheffield offered to pass it on but it’s just a joke. It’s like talking to a one-way system.

“There’s no one left in Chelmsford to talk to. They hide behind a call centre where there’s no one sensible to talk to. A call centre is just for day-to-day. Why can’t I get a proper response? If I had a choice, I would go somewhere else for supplies.”

I put a lengthier version of Rajan’s rant to David Shedden, press officer for Menzies Distribution, and he sent the following reply:

“A crucial part of keeping the magazine industry healthy is providing the opportunity for consumers to sample new products, which they aren’t already familiar with. To do this, we allocate some new titles to our customers to promote that sampling process and to give them an opportunity to capture new sales.”

He adds that Menzies advises customers in advance of the allocations, via daily advice notes, which offer them an opportunity to cancel the allocations before they are delivered to the store.

Despite this, he says: “However, we recognise that some of our customers have different needs. We’ll be happy to discuss Mr Jhanjee’s allocations with him, in order to help find the best way of supporting his business in the future.”

With regard to financial queries, Shedden says: “It’s a concern to hear that one of our customers believes he has spotted a number of mistakes in our documentation. We’ll fully investigate the situation and discuss our findings with him directly.”