Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community

Service Centre: Jac Roper on cash that won't come; Htec responds; and more on rates

Happy solution to ATM problem

Every so often I get copied in on emails that Nailesh Gokani fires off to Cardtronics about the various faults he has with his ATM at Empire Garage in north London's Enfield. Last year he found the machine out of money on a weekly basis. This time it's worse it's got money but it's hanging on to it.

He says: "Most faults on the out-dated machine get repaired within a reasonable time.

"However, two faults which have never been resolved are (a) the machine not issuing receipts/balance print-outs and (b) when customers attempt to withdraw £200 or more, the machine starts to dispense the money but immediately takes it back."

He adds that when they then go to another machine and attempt to withdraw money, they can't as it comes up as 'insufficient funds in account'. And they come into the shop and start complaining.

"A couple of customers came in last weekend and encountered this issue," he says. "They were left without money all weekend."

I got in touch with Cashzone and it was a good outcome. A spokesperson said: "We are constantly working to provide the best service possible and we therefore regret the inconvenience that Mr Gokani has experienced. We have informed him that his ATM will be swapped with a new machine."

Above and beyond

I've heard from Htec over my reporting of Pearl Motors' epos problems. Dave Gilhespy, operations director, sent the following response: "In the June 2017 edition, you reported that Andrew McDonald of Pearl Motors in Sheffield had been complaining about his experience with Htec. While we are very sorry for the issues that Mr McDonald has faced, Htec staff have worked tirelessly to resolve them and are pleased to report that his system is now stable and operating as it should. We have received far fewer calls from Mr McDonald in recent months.

"It's fair to say that no other customers have placed the same demands on our Service Desk, but all the staff at Htec, including directors whose personal phone numbers Mr McDonald has had have been on hand to ensure his complaints have been resolved.

"Htec admit that, to start with, there were problems and we didn't handle Mr McDonald's complaints well, but it was an unusual and specific set of circumstances which led to the set of problems he experienced including several viruses introduced through other software, hardware breakdowns and unintended operator errors.

"Htec believe that we went beyond what was required by a pos vendor to remedy the problems and we are sorry that Mr McDonald doesn't share that view. Mr McDonald is currently considering whether he would like to renew his annual service contract to make sure he gets the same sort of help in future and that any problems are resolved quickly and efficiently.

"Sadly, across the industry, problems do arise from time to time, but Htec's Service Desk and field engineer team go above and beyond what is expected of them to resolve problems and get sites up and running.

"We are in on-going discussions with Mr McDonald regarding upgrading his system.

"You may only hear from customers when things go badly, but happily there are hundreds of other independent customers who are happily using the Htec pos without problems."

The rating game

This is an ongoing subject that I would like to continue. John Dobson got in touch from Galloway Motor Co Ltd to say that he'd run petrol stations for close to 45 years until he sold out earlier this year to Certas.

He talks about a site he ran in the small town of Newton Stewart in Scotland: "When the new style of rating came in I was classed as 'rural', so 100% rates rebate. First thing they did was remove the rural status. At that time rates were £5,000 along came the new rules and it became £10,000."

He suggested to the local council that they were acting like the mafia by asking what sales he did and then taking a large chunk of them. "There are no sweetie shops being charged this way, so why should we be?" he says, adding that the only way round it would have been for him to sublet the shop to another company with two tills, so the fuel sales went to one company and the convenience sales to another. Then they would have to rate it as two separate units.

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 18 September 2017
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East120.75128.55119.84
East Midlands120.29128.81119.63
London120.7558.57130.05119.82
North East120.2059.90129.98119.40
North West120.52128.62119.81
Northern Ireland119.2369.90126.85119.03
Scotland120.60128.18119.75
South East121.03130.63120.24
South West120.75129.31119.96
Wales120.35127.44119.57
West Midlands120.4262.90130.69119.84
Yorkshire & Humber120.1971.90128.67119.59

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