It’s not all systems go in Dumfries

Andrew Wallace, trading as Newton Gardens Service Station in Dumfries, had TLM’s evoPOS installed in May 2018 after being convinced that it was the best system out there. From day one there were problems.

There was a big problem with the promised training and staff were left over one weekend hardly knowing how to log on to the new tills. Another big problem was with staff handovers. "Our old system enabled the outgoing staff member to sign off suspending their shift and incoming staff then log on to immediately carry on serving customers. The till drawer was then counted in the office with final declared cash being entered when convenient thus completing shift. EvoPOS does not have this most basic function," said Andrew.

He was later told that this facility would be available by December last year. Now he is being told April.

"We have had to place multiple calls daily to the support hub until December when things did improve to some extent. Some of the problems included: shut down of site for hours due to neither till operating; tills freezing; missing shifts; missing transactions; scanners not working; pumps and till buttons disappearing; and ghost sales appearing after being cashed off. We were not provided with new local account cards, the old ones did not swipe well and there was no other way of putting charges onto the customer’s account. We could not accept local account monthly payments through the till so could not provide a receipt as proof of payment. And we got constant error codes with instructions to call the support hub.

"It was discovered that a lot of calls were not being logged. Other calls were not logged correctly and fixes delayed; promotions working intermittently. We were at risk of losing a number of key local accounts because of issues. The new tills get slower the busier we are; again, this has been disputed. This is not an exhaustive list of problems."

Another recent problem is that customers using contactless cards make the till freeze. After the customer leaves, the till spits out a receipt that says the transaction has been declined.

Andrew added: "Along with evoPOS we upgraded our back office to Prism 2 from Classic. The problems we were having here were put down to staff training, which I felt was unnecessarily condescending. The systems were very similar but we had never experienced such problems."

There was a huge amount more in this vein from Andrew which I sent on to TLM. The company responded: "Unfortunately, there are occasions where projects run into complications, although our track record indicates these are out of the ordinary.

"We are satisfied however, that every effort has been made to identify and implement fast and effective resolutions to these issues, with members of our senior management team, training team and Support Hub endeavouring to find an acceptable outcome for Mr Wallace and his business."

A new campaign group is emerging

My coverage in the January issue of Phil Cowan’s tragic plight at the hands of Post Office Ltd brought an unexpected response from a member of the public.

"I have been an ardent campaigner for justice for my local ex-subpostmaster in Surrey since a similar ’shortfall’ appeared at an audit in his branch in October 2017," writes Eleanor Shaikh. "I recently got together with a small group (including two claimants in the current Freeths Litigation) to bring this whole scandal more clearly into the public arena. We’re aiming both for coverage in the mainstream media and also to establish a social media profile on Twitter.

"We feel the tragic personal accounts of innocent people such as Phil and his wife (who died of an overdose which Phil attributes to POL’s actions) must be heard in order for the public to appreciate the terrible ways in which POL have treated its subpostmasters and the enormous cover up which it has engineered since."

The group has been in touch with the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance and the media consultant for the lawyers acting for the subpostmasters taking on POL in the group action, and all agree wider coverage is needed. I put Eleanor in touch with Phil and she is happy to hear from any other subpostmaster wanting to get their story ’out there’. Her number is 07733 343979.