Jac Roper talks to a retailer who had problems with his EFT line, which caused financial strain for the business and frustration for customers. She also argues for using local businesses where possible, and sends her Christmas wishes.

Ft - Jac Roper - Service Centre

An unreliable network?

I was contacted by Amardeep Virdi, who runs Grove Service Station in Birmingham, regarding a problem with his dedicated EFT line. EFT payments account for approximately two-thirds of his normal transactions so smooth running is vital.

He also sent me an email that he had previously sent to his suppliers at Digital Space, copied to Certas, which had not received any acknowledgement nor reply.

He wrote that he had first reported the fault in September as a connection issue. He was told that there was a broadband problem as to which telephone line had been ‘cut’, and that it would take a week to be resolved.

During that time, the forecourt could not take electronic payments, and suffered heavy financial losses. Then they got a call from Htec to say that they should be receiving a 4G router as a temporary solution.

Amardeep says that when it was installed, he immediately had poor connection issues.

A Digital Space rep arrived shortly after, who was unable to help because his laptop was not working. He advised that there was a poor 4G network.

Amardeep found that phoning Digital Space wasn’t getting him anywhere and an email was sent that received no reply.

At this point he contacted his Certas regional manager which elicited a call from Htec who said they would try to contact Digital Space.

“A few weeks later Htec got in contact with us saying that there was an ‘administrational’ error, the broadband line was cut off for no reason and no one was admitting liability.”

Amardeep wrote to Digital Space saying he had not received any updates from the company, which had caused not only a financial strain on the business but also frustration for customers, who have been inconvenienced.

He added that this had caused his staff stress.

He concluded: “We expect a service that supports a large network like Certas, would provide a quick resolution.”

I forwarded the email that Amardeep had originally sent to Digital Space to them again and received an automated message saying that they would be in touch shortly. They did not reply after that.

Htec did respond, saying they were aware of Amardeep’s issues and were in touch with him and had apologised directly to him.

The company said it was working to install a full fibre connection to the site for the EFT line, which will be an upgrade on the previous connectivity at no additional cost. They are also reviewing the issue with their sub-contractor to ensure it’s not repeated.

Keep it local, if you can

A few months ago I got a query from Sebastian Nonis who trades as Forfar Rd Service Station in Dundee. He was looking for a recommendation for a company that could do his entrance and exit gulleys, put in a new drain, repair manhole covers and re-lay tar to the forecourt area.

This was not within my area of, ahem, expertise, so I said I would have to research it and possibly ask in this column for other forecourt operators’ recommendations. But he got there before me telling me a few days later that he had found Breedon Contractors. Breedon claims to be the UK’s largest independent construction materials group.

I recently rang Sebastian up to ask him how it had all panned out but it turned out that he didn’t put the business Breedon’s way after all. “Breedon doesn’t do manhole covers or gulleys,” he said, “and I wanted it all done at the same time.” Makes sense.

Instead he found two local companies to do the work in tandem. W. Brown Roadworks, a long-established family run road surfacing and civil engineering contractor in Dundee, re-covered the whole forecourt.

And SJ Construction Scotland, a small family business, set up by the Kelly family just a couple of years ago after working in the construction industry for over 30 years, did the rest. And they are based in Forfar, which can’t be very far from Forfar Rd Service Station.

It is always best to use a local company. That way you can get your hands on them if anything goes wrong.

Not the best of years…

A pandemic, excruciating prices at the pump (and no doubt some aggro too from those who seem to think that retailers get all the revenue rather than the inland mob) and severe supply difficulties but, it is nearly jolly holly, jingle tills time again.

As this is the last printed issue of the year, as always, I wish you peace and prosperity and a season of stonkingly good sales.

And do watch your backs for the baddies.

Contact Jac Roper

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