One jam too far for Shahid’s forecourts

Shahid Hussain, who runs Petro Express in Glanamman, South Wales, has just come out of his contract with NoteMachine for both of his forecourts.

He says he has had them for 10-15 years under their various owners and it was never a problem until six months ago. Then one of the sites developed a mysterious fault which meant calling the engineers out two-three times a week. In the end they changed every part of the machine and still it could not dispense twenties and was jamming all the time. The other ATM is identical and has never had a problem. Both of them were self-fill, charging £1.99 per transaction. He went from earning £700-800 a month commission down to £150-250.

Shahid asked NoteMachine if he could leave the contract and was told it was not a problem and he would not be charged a termination fee. He found it odd that no one tried to persuade him to stay and in fact he has taken the other site out of the contract too, again with no penalties, simply because it doesn’t make sense having to deal with two ATM suppliers.

In the course of all this, he gave the contract a close read and learned that if the machine were faulty because of his actions, he would have been held liable but if it was down to NoteMachine there would be no compensation.

This didn’t seem fair and in due course he was offered £200 in goodwill but he considers that, after six months of aggro, it should be more like £800-£1,000 compensation.

I put this to NoteMachine but not only did I not get a reply, I didn’t even get an acknowledgement. Not the first time this has happened.

Meanwhile, Shahid is looking for a new supplier. He says: "I’ve spoken to PayPoint and to Cashzone and they both said they are not giving out machines at the moment."

The ATM industry seems to be in a bit of a turmoil lately with Link putting up its charges and free-to-use models becoming hard to find. Let’s hope they cope with the new twenties due to come into circulation this month.

Like getting blood out of a stone

In the October issue, I reported on Hassan Mohammed’s quest with Costcutter to get the £2k owed to him in rebates for his two sites in Greater Manchester for 18 months.

It appeared to be resolved after I contacted the company. I was so confident that I asked in the headline: Is this the power of the press? Well, it was eventually.

Meanwhile, Hassan got back in touch in December saying: "They owe me £2,300 and odd pounds and whilst they agreed to settle the matter three months ago, I still have not received my money."

Again there was a communication problem with people not getting back to him.

Once again I contacted the company and this time paydirt! On December 22 Hassan emailed me to say that he had got his money back.

Off on the wrong foot

Tom Dant, md of Lincolnshire-based Gill Marsh Forecourts, wrote before Christmas to say that the company had just taken over another site but was having problems with PayPoint.

"We took over on Monday and we knew that they wouldn’t activate it until Tuesday, which is fine. The problem has now come that we are changing from PayPoint One, that the previous operator had to have a PPOS unit that integrates into the EPOS. They would not send the unit out until we had registered for MyPayPoint. Nobody at PayPoint had checked until this morning (Wednesday) that we were already registered as we have two other PayPoint sites!

"We are now left with no PPOS unit and are being told that we cannot use the PayPoint One unit on site as that’s against PayPoint policy! They tell me they are sending the unit today and that we should get it by the end of the week (not holding out much hope!). I am left without PayPoint which is extremely damaging to our new business that we have taken on as it makes us look incompetent!"

I sent his story on to my contact at PP hoping that it would help expedite matters. When I checked back with Tom the system was up and running by the end of the week. But how annoying when a supplier’s incompetence gets reflected on your image just when you are making first impressions on new customers.