They took it very seriously

I was quite surprised to receive a second complaint about TLM’s evoPOS system within a fortnight. I would have been less surprised if it had happened after Deen Yacub read last month’s issue where we featured Andrew Wallace’s account of the problems he had had with the same system. But in fact Deen rang before the last issue had been printed, so it wasn’t a ’Me Too’ reaction as is so often the case.

Deen, who runs Station Road Service Station in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, says that the first thing to go wrong, on day one, was that the system wouldn’t take card payments. The engineer arrived at 9am and the new system was running by 7pm. Luckily he was still on site when the system crashed. Then he says: "The system would randomly freeze deeming it useless and unable to trade. This had been going on for two weeks before TLM had put it down to our ’existing hardware may not have been tested for the new evoPOS’."

Deen summarised the glitches in five points as follows: "Forecourt offline through random occurrences of the day the till will randomly go to ’forecourt offline’ while customers are filling up leaving us unable to serve; waiting for promotion response when going through a transaction; buttons disappear (the icons in the middle of the till disappear leaving us unable to use the software). They have made a temp fix where you click a clock icon to reset the transaction but this isn’t what I have paid for."

Point four was that a different amount showed on the pump to inside POS and finally a freeze up. "Doesn’t do anything for a few minutes and then randomly goes back to normal. We have lost thousands of pounds in trade due to the ’evolution in epos’ called evoPOS which has been an absolute nightmare; we had never had an issue with iridium 1 in eight years but this new evoPOS has been a nightmare."

I contacted TLM and got a very full response from Paul Muncey, group sales and marketing director. He said: "We take these matters very seriously and are aware of the frustrations the retailer has expressed. Since this has been shared, we have been working very hard internally to get to the bottom of everything outlined in the email."

He continued: "Even before release, evoPOS was tested extensively over 1,000s of hours of development. Since launch in March 2018, and through more than 100 evoPOS installs, Station Road is the only retailer to have reported these issues. While we would never claim our software to be 100% bug-free, 100% of the time, we are very confident it is more than market-ready and up to the task of supporting convenience and fuel retailers in running their sites. Many happy retailers would testify this."

He went on to respond to each of Deen’s points in turn and the upshot is that it has all been fixed. There was a certain amount of compensation and Deen is now very pleased with the outcome. Deen singles out both Paul Muncey and Akay Ismet (who dealt with a lot of the problems) for special mention.

Could do be on time

Mohammed Nabi rang from Mayland Garage, Chelmsford to say that since the New Year, papers had been arriving at least an hour-and-a-half late and that it was worse on Saturdays. He believed it was because his supplies were now coming from Grays in Essex rather than Chelmsford. "They’re putting the carriage charges up and the service has gone down," he says.

I consulted Linda Windsor who guides retailers through the official complaints process on behalf of the Press Distribution Forum (PDF) and she got Menzies to contact Mohammed. He tells me that the situation is now improved but it’s still a case of ’could do better’.

First-round win for subpostmasters

More than 500 subpostmasters won the first round in their fight for justice after the High Court ruled in their favour last month (in the first of four trials) over the Post Office’s Horizon IT system.

I have been reporting on this for the last 10 years after retailers started ringing the helpline in desperation over their loss of livelihood, reputation and their health. All because the PO refused to acknowledge glitches and made their subpostmasters make good any supposed losses.