A really big misunderstanding

Thair Majid, who runs several stations in London, got in touch on an issue he had with PayPoint. He says: "Currently at two of my sites, we make approximately £15-20 a month in profit from our PayPoint unit, as commissions have reduced significantly."

His monthly charge at the moment is £12, including VAT, so he isn’t making a loss and is providing a service to customers.

He adds: "However, as you may have heard, PayPoint have introduced new machines which will cost £80 a month in rent and which all retailers will have to switch over to in December (the £12 option will no longer exist)."

This, he says, will lead to him and many others losing money every month. "I have contacted them to query the process and to give our notice before we are stuck in this loop of losing £70 a month, (£840 a year). You can imagine my surprise then, when I was told that there was no such option and if we were to leave we would have to pay the monthly costs for the remaining life of the contract (which expires in 2022)."

No wonder he used terms like ’extortion’ and ’legal robbery’.

I was pretty sure he had been misled so contacted head office which was very clear on the subject: "If we contact a retailer re retiring the yellow terminal, they have two choices: (1) upgrade to PayPoint One or (2) leave with no charges to pay."

In fact the senior customer service bod got in touch with Thair to say: "I have double- checked with our lead generation team who are dealing with our ’yellow terminal sunset’ (retirement) and they have advised me that none of your five stores have been provided with a retirement letter yet.

"I would suggest keeping an eye out for these letters as we will be communicating exactly what your options are and the next steps available." And he added that extra training would be provided to their contact centre so that this issue doesn’t arise again.

It was double trouble for Amardeep

Amardeep Virdi, who runs Grove Service Station in Birmingham, had two problems with his previously free-to-use Cashzone ATM. He says: "My contract expired in August 2018, I gave them the one year notice to cancel." In June the company put a 65p charge on customer withdrawals, which was increased in September to 95p.

"My transactions dropped from 900 to 300, and my shop sales are suffering because of it. No one called about signing a new contract or to remove the charge as I was out of contract. They phoned in December and said we can keep it as a charge machine, or I will have to pay to rebrand it to say ’free-to-use’.

"In May I gave them 30 days notice to remove their machine. I signed with PayPoint who offered a free-to-use machine."

He sent a recorded letter and email but they were still dragging their heels. This went on for quite a bit to the extent that he was threatening them with legal action and a bill for storage.

I contacted Cardtronics and they replied: "Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We have contacted Mr Virdi and have come to an agreement which will resolve the issue."

And how about this result?

In the May issue I featured Joe Brough’s rant over Cashzone’s introduction of a withdrawal surcharge of 95p on his ATM at Offerton Green Service Station while all around him were free-to-use machines.

He subsequently tells me: "After much discussion I now have a free-to-use ATM with Cardtronics paying any business rates, with an agreement of a consultation between us both should they require to increase their charges in the future. I am not being paid any operating fees, so it’s a big reduction on the previous deal but they are paying the rates and we keep it free to use."

How did he manage to convince them to do an about-turn? He says: "Think it was all down to the clause in the contract that states ’Cashzone shall in good faith, acting reasonably and in the best commercial interests of both parties negotiate the fees payable to the merchant’."

He adds that, after months of frustration, he demanded to talk to Cardtronics commercial director. "Once I started talking to him the agreement was reached quickly. Just shows that you need to keep complaining and ask to talk to the person at the top."

I could really use some feedback

Can anyone recommend a reliable POS/back office system with a link to Sage and that also links to a symbol group (in this case Nisa)? More on this next issue but would be good to have some recommendations.