Losing faith in the system

Some of you may remember coverage of complaints about TLM’s evoPOS system earlier this year. Unfortunately for Andrew Wallace the situation remains unsatisfactory.

He had the system installed last year at his Newton Gardens Service Station in Dumfries, but found he was making daily calls to the support hub.

From time to time since March he has copied me in on emails that he has sent to TLM and also to Certas, which had recommended Tockheim’s outdoor payment terminal (OPT) and Suresite, which set up the OPT for credit cards. Andrew swiftly discovered that the OPT will not work with evoPOS, although he says he was never made aware of this.

Finally he got so fed up that he wrote to TLM’s CEO. He wrote: "We have had an ongoing catalogue of problems and it has taken up to a month for minor problems to be rectified but invariably can be a week with more serious issues which affect our day-to-day running of the site.

"The biggest complaint for serving staff is that the tills are slow and create more problems that we ever had with our old system. I have said umpteen times that I require to have the whole system replaced and, due to the extreme upset that has been caused to my staff, would be seeking compensation.

"There are still a large number of issues... such as price changes and promotions appearing and changing at tills which differ on our back office. The biggest example we gave was a tin of soup scanning at £6. This is extremely worrying that we have no idea if products scan at the till at correct prices and discount goods that are not on promotion through the back office."

As he points out a £6 tin of soup is obvious but 20/30p off confectionery? This is financially worrying.

He concludes that he has completely lost faith in the system. And he now says he is no longer paying support and won’t do so until he has had three months with no issues and he maintains that he had a verbal agreement to this arrangement from the company. Trouble is he hasn’t had three months without issues so far.

Adrian Beeby, sales and services director for TLM, responded at length to each point put to him saying that the "support teams have been working tirelessly to cover off what, in most cases, is unique to this particular site". And on lack of communication, Beeby said he will be personally visiting Andrew’s site shortly with hopes of an amicable solution.

No simple solution to back office woes

When Huw Griffiths got in touch in mid-July he described himself as being up the proverbial creek without a paddle as far as a reliable back office with a Sage Accounts link went.

As I reported previously, Huw had been looking for a new back office for his Bridgend site which had Htec tills operating with Flow back-office. His Llantwwit site, where he had five Htec tills, had previously had a Flow back-office which had been replaced with an ITS back-office which was very time consuming.

"So I decided to install Htec Calisto, and today when I went to place an order I have been told their links to Nisa do not work and it will be the end of the year before they do."

He adds that a friend who installed a CBE POS and back office in May had since lost over 20% of his fuel sales (over 28,000 litres). "The tills are slow with fuel sales taking up to six minutes to appear on the till screen. Like so many of your articles on POS systems etc, CBE has told him they have installed hundreds of their systems in petrol stations and his is the only one to have this fault." (Yes, it does seem common that companies claim a very good strike rate trouble is when it goes wrong for you, that’s no compensation.)

So he asked: "Is there any good system out there like the big boys have?" I put a little piece at the end of my column in the last issue asking for feedback from anyone who could recommend anyone else but, as I feared, no response. As I said to Huw, I only get to hear about the bad experiences.

And now Huw’s further update: "My only option now is IT Retail, it’s not perfect but it does work with Nisa link and Sage Accounts although it’s time-consuming. I have requested some fixes as they do seem keen to improve their offering and if all is done I will install it at my Bridgend site in next month or two."