Dealer gives up and gives in on epos

At the beginning of this year, I got embroiled in a dispute between Gibbs Group and Point Four over its pos system. Lesley Graves, company secretary at the Group, wrote that the previous year they had purchased a Point Four pos system for two of their sites as well as its Multisite Cloud Management software.

She wrote: "We were told that the system could reproduce reports identical to those which we were using and we provided them with copies of these. We were also told that customised reports could be made available on the Cloud. So far, in spite of numerous emails, only one customised report is available."

The sites are operated by retailers who provide head office with daily reports so weekly management reports can be produced. Currently the sites are having to scan the reports and email them across.

There had been around six months of emailing the company with details of report discrepancies, she added.

There were requests on numerous occasions for a meeting at Gibbs Group’s office with Point Four. Lesley sent me copies of the many emails exchanged and I asked the company for a response.

Group managing director, Patrick Boden, replied in part: "Things do go wrong and misunderstandings do accrue, what matters is how they are put right. We will complete the reports the Gibbs group want, at no cost to them."

He did also respond to the specific points that the group had put to him concerning bunkering and Cloud reporting and pointed out that the group had bought ’off the shelf’ software, not ’bespoke’ which would have been "considerably more expensive".

I left it as unresolved and it largely remains so to this day.

Lesley now says: "I am afraid that due to total frustration with Point Four we gave up trying to get responses from them and ’make do’ with the system we have. We regret getting involved with them but obviously have to maintain a working relationship as we have to rely on their helpdesk support.

But she concludes: "We did however cancel the order for the third site."

Persistence pays off

In April 2016 I featured Diyan Patel’s complaint about Innzone, which had sent him unwanted supplies of e-cigs. The company had cold-called saying they were representing Smiths News.

Innzone has a deal with Smiths News so that retailers get billed for third-party supplies by Smiths, and Innzone takes back the goods if you don’t sell them and you eventually get your money back. And that’s what happened.

Diyan has been in touch again this time with unwanted supplies of ’smoke jackets’ (sleeves which smokers can slip over their packets of fags).

He says: "I was told they have a recording of someone agreeing to buy the products and that products cannot be returned until next year. Plus I will have to pay for the items in my next news bill." Indeed Smiths billed him nearly £170 the following week. He argued his case, telling Innzone that only he is authorised to accept sales pitches over the phone... only to be told that they didn’t care who approved it and they had a recording.

Innzone had also told him that he could only apply for his money back next February; and by following a set procedure.

Then Diyan had a breakthrough as he managed to get in touch with Elliott Moore, Innzone’s head of operations.

He was instructed to package and label the goods for collection by UK Mail and he has had the money refunded.

Retailers do have the right to opt out of third-party contacts. I also believe the NFRN had agreed a policy with Innzone some years ago saying cold callers would have to clearly state where they are calling from and not make it sound as though they are from Smiths. This was not the case in Diyan’s situation. He had to press the caller to find out that it was actually Innzone calling.

He objects most strenuously to this company’s tactics. He asks: "Why are they allowed to use the name Smiths News and have our news account details?

"Why does Smiths News wish to tarnish its good name and reputation in dealing with these hard-sell companies?"

He has asked Smiths to remove his details from the list it provided but has not received a reply. I sent an email twice to Smiths News asking for a response but there has been no reply.