News retailers have slammed as "meaningless" the new Press Distribution Charter (PDC), designed to serve as a promise of good service to traders.

The PDC, which is supported by publishers and wholesalers, sets out the standards that retailers should expect to receive and was created after the recent investigation into the news industry by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The Charter is also designed to help retailers resolve disputes more quickly, and it will be supported by a complaints resolution process overseen by a panel made up of newspaper, magazine, wholesale and retail representatives.

However, retailers say it will make little difference to them. Association of News Retailing managing director John Lennon said it was no better than the existing ISSA process it was set up to replace.

"In its current form the Charter is a meaningless document that has been rushed in by publishers and wholesalers in order to placate or one might even say con the OFT into not referring the industry for a competition referral. It is their attempt to, at all cost, maintain the status quo," he said.

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