All articles by Jac Roper

  • Analysis

    Service Centre: Jac Roper talks to retailers about their recent trading experiences

    2020-06-08T08:08:00Z

    Things are finally looking up… When I first spoke to Hassan Mohammed a month ago, at peak Covid-19 pandemic, he told me: “Things are hard at the moment because while fuel sales have taken a nosedive, shop sales have gone up between 30-50% at both sites (Limes Service Station in ...

  • News

    Service Centre: Contract? It’s in the post

    2006-02-03T00:00:00Z

    CONTRACT? IT’S IN THE POST How many retailers, I wonder, have never received a copy of their British Gas contract? Ash Patel, who runs a couple of sites in Sheffield, rang late last year after he had received a bill showing that his tariff had gone up by nearly ...

  • News

    Service Centre: Pinning it down

    2006-01-06T00:00:00Z

    I took an awareness trip in December deep into the murky world of Chip PIN courtesy of Gerald Wooding who is responsible for card acceptance across the Texaco network. The trip was prompted by retailer Mike Andrews who felt that his forecourt at Maiden Newton had suffered ...

  • News

    Pinning down fraud

    2005-12-06T00:00:00Z

    Pinning down fraud It might be happy Christmas any minute but this is an early Valentine for you. If you are not Chip and PIN compliant by next February 14 you will have to carry the can for any fraudulent use of credit/debit cards. I know, it’s not the ...

  • News

    Service Centre

    2005-11-01T00:00:00Z

    An abuse of power? I gather that electrical disputes are not uncommon. Khalid Mohammad was left disillusioned and distinctly unhappy with his bill after a Yorkshire-based company conducted a site test for the annual renewal of his petroleum certificate. They gave him an estimate, came and ...

  • News

    Service Centre

    2005-10-03T00:00:00Z

    FACT-FINDING MISSIONS I got an apposite email, in the week leading up to the petrol-price crisis that coloured much of September, querying ways to improve shop profits. Jayne Stokes writes: “We would like to take a business trip to look at ways we could supplement the petrol income. Where ...

  • News

    Service Centre

    2005-09-02T00:00:00Z

    Driving up crime Adrian Walker has added his voice to the argument against government moves to downgrade drive-offs to a civil matter unless they are ‘aggravated’. “The only way I can see it being aggravated is if I try to stop the car leaving, so if I get run ...

  • News

    This should keep you posted

    2005-08-17T00:00:00Z

    You would think that, if you had the best convenience store in town, with a forecourt to boot, plus parking, plus a customers’ petition supporting your application, that you would get the sub post office when the sub postmistress in the village decided to retire from her little ‘centre-ville’ shop. ...

  • News

    A good result

    2005-08-17T00:00:00Z

    In the April issue I carried the tale of Andrew Fraser who works at a couple of Hills Garage’s forecourts in the Northwest. He was about to be taken to court by Cumbria trading standards – along with a load of others in the area – after the TSOs had ...

  • News

    Tampering with the brakes

    2005-08-17T00:00:00Z

    My piece in the July issue about police efforts to put the brakes on drive-offs brought a bit of a scoff from a retailer who runs a filling station in Plymouth but wishes to remain anonymous. He writes, via email: “If we are not careful, petrol station operators could see ...

  • News

    Keeping track

    2005-02-01T00:00:00Z

    f you sell newspapers supplied by John Menzies and are trying to keep manual track of sales and returns you have probably noticed that the handy diary and sales control annual is no longer available from them. Richard Webb, who runs Abbeygate Garage in Norfolk says Menzies has been ...

  • News

    A widening gulf

    2005-02-01T00:00:00Z

    One might say that the gulf has widened in the dispute between retailer Owen McKay and his supplier. In our November issue I recounted the story of a strained relationship between Owen, who runs Smithy Garage at Warrington in Cheshire, and Gulf Retail. Owen had nothing but praise for the ...

  • News

    Watch your backs

    2005-02-01T00:00:00Z

    I’ve written a couple of reports on the success of Kent Police’s Forecourt Watch scheme – and went so far as to ask why can’t the rest of the country follow such an impressive example. As a result I got a call from Terry McCormick, Neighbourhood Watch liaison officer ...

  • News

    A streamlined scam?

    2005-01-01T00:00:00Z

    It will be interesting to hear if anybody else out there has had an experience similar to Adrian Moore, who runs Grizebeck Filling Station at Grizebeck in Cumbria. He suspected a scam when he got a phone call from someone purporting to be from an investigation unit at Streamline asking ...

  • News

    A token gesture

    2005-01-01T00:00:00Z

    Don’t you wonder where they go? Like odd socks, like teaspoons, like the half dozen biros you bought last week, air and water tokens just gradually disappear into thin air, don’t they? I am a bit wiser having discussed this mystery with National Car Wash. Director David Henshaw told ...

  • News

    Dealing direct

    2005-01-01T00:00:00Z

    I do hope this isn’t opening a can of worms, but is anyone else having problems getting their money back from Our Price? James Robertson, who runs JR’s Filling Station in Fife, sent back 15 DVDs to Our Price in September and was promised his money (£112.50) back. He has ...

  • News

    Stamp duty

    2004-12-01T00:00:00Z

    Another complaint about the Royal Mail. As I’ve reported previously in this column, the margin on first class stamps may have gone up to 7%, but the reduction on second class stamps to 3% has really put some of you off. Tim Neal rang from West Coker Garage, near ...

  • News

    Wrong data

    2004-12-01T00:00:00Z

    Some information I passed on in the last issue about Data Protection wasn’t quite the full ticket. I pointed out a refinement to the Data Protection Act 1998 which excuses retailers from registering if they have static cameras which don’t particularly target anyone. David Cuckson, of Parkside Service Station ...

  • News

    All pull together

    2004-12-01T00:00:00Z

    There’s never been more attention paid to low-level crime (litter, graffiti, drive-offs as opposed to shotgun-up-your-nostrils) by the authorities. The government has its anti-social behaviour orders and most communities have some form of crimewatch. But most impressive of all is Kent Police. I’ve reported on the success of their Forecourt ...

  • News

    What’s the real deal?

    2004-11-01T00:00:00Z

    How important is price? What a question to ask retailers. Owen McKay, who runs Smithy Garage at Warrington in Cheshire, thinks that image is important but that it is inextricably linked to price. His business is quite comprehensive, offering car sales, MOT, bodyworks and a Londis shop. “People in ...