A new restitution system for publishers’ poor service has received an underwhelming response from newsagents.

The Publisher Fast Track Restitution Scheme is based on a similar procedure for wholesalers and has been introduced after an ISSA-based scheme proved ineffective.

West Sussex retailer Steve Denham of Londis, West Chiltington, said: “Under the original scheme it took 21 weeks to gain £8.40 restitution for persistent late delivery of The Sun, which proved that using the ISSA model was unworkable.”

However, he remained sceptical of the publishers’ willingness to take responsibility for poor service. “If the publishers wholeheartedly accept their responsibility when problems arise it will be a major step forward,” he said, “but my experience would suggest that it is not in their nature to treat us with anything but utter contempt.”

Association of News Retailers managing director John Lennon called the new scheme “even more cumbersome” and added: “Retailers have been offered an even more unsatisfactory scheme that gives the illusion of restitution without delivering anything useful.”

Under the new 21-day process, retailers must contact publishers directly to make their complaint, and claims are capped at £30 for each retailer and £3,000 in total. Claims can only be made after three instances of lateness within a specified period.