What’s the password?

Ismail Bhattay, who runs Mibsons Service Station in West Bromwich, has complained about constant issues with Htec. On 1st June he switched from Gulf to Green Energy (Esso) and although the process was seamless with everyone else, with Htec it was a string of problems. He says: “From day one Htec couldn’t configure our tills.” One issue was with the fuel cards, another with Nectar loyalty card. “You expect teething troubles for 24/48/72 hours but this took till mid June before it was sorted.”

He had recently bundled all his mobile, landline and broadband into one BT account and noticed that his current phone bill included £160 in charges to Htec’s premium 0844 helpline (since refunded by BT as a goodwill gesture).

But his main concern was the helpline. He says: “They take ages to answer and they have no knowledge on the first contact. Eventually you get referred upwards.” Then he gets talked through the issue and makes the changes himself rather than an engineer having to come out to service the system.

He also wrote the following to Htec : “We had the password generator on our back office. Since last week when we had you (Htec) working on the tills this password generator has been removed. The whole process of calling Htec when we need to amend shifts is just time consuming, something that should take two mins ends up taking 20/30 mins. I would like the password generator back or kindly remove password request or alternatively please remove password request should I need to enter a manual shift.”

He explained to me that an engineer had put a password generator on the back office some time ago because they are often simple changes he can easily make himself. He understands why big operations would need to restrict and refer to Htec for passwords but he does all this work himself so staff access isn’t an issue. It’s just time consuming.

It did look as though Htec could go a long way to improving their service with some very short steps, ie change the premium line to a local call and put the password generator back. So I put all these points to the company.

Htec sent a very lengthy response to all four points agreeing that there were some initial issues in June for which they apologised.

They also say that Ismail was given access to their low-cost 0333 helpline last September, which Ismail refutes. He says: “I was given a 0330 053 5578 number but this is only for the card machine, not the back office.”

On the password generator Htec says: “We have pointed out that this is something which the Helpline Portal should be used for, as it creates an audit trail as part of our process to prevent fraudulent shift patterns being created, for example. The so-called ‘password generator’ application is simply not required by our customers, because our online Htec Service Hub and Helpline are there do everything that it does, and more. Incorrect use of this access can also impact the way that the software works and result in an unnecessary support burden for our team as well. I hope that you can understand why our customers simply do not need it.”

In mid August Ismail told me that he just spent nine minutes on a call going round in circles until he finally spoke to someone else who instantly generated a password.

He now says: “To be honest service levels along with this password generator are doing my head in.”


Make sure you sign it

This retailer has requested anonymity. Her husband forgot to sign the cancellation of a Cashzone contract and they found themselves unwittingly rolled over until May 2026. This wasn’t good because their lease would be up in a year’s time.

They were later told that the cancellation was supposed to be signed in written form (so that they know it is really you).

She writes: “This was of course doable and I re-sent the email with an attached written note, signed by the contract holder (all as instructed) on the same day they advised to do this. If I had been able to contact the commercial team for this advice earlier (on how to go about sending in a notice eg what to write,who to send to, what email to use etc, I would have sent it that way. It seems that they wanted me to be understanding through the Lockdown crisis – that there was limited service, (message on phone, agents in customer care explaining) but should that not apply both ways?

“I tried to call the Cashzone commercial team over and over again to get advice on how to give the 12 month notice but as usual the call was held in a queue. I even asked the customer care team who said that they could not help me as I would need to speak to the commercial team but was advised that due to Covid 19 less people were working so just keep trying. Failing to speak to anyone who could give us advice regarding this, we decided to send in the termination email.”

I contacted Cardtronics for a response and a spokesperson said:”We are not able to discuss the specifics of any individual case but as an act of good faith, we will contact the retailer to come to a resolution as soon as possible.”

The couple later wrote that it had been resolved satisfactorily.