Booker’s been in the news a lot lately and it’s all been good. But for one retailer there had been a lot of frustration although nothing to do with Booker’s offering, which he is quite happy with. Around six months ago a new Booker delivery man managed to back onto Jagesh Radia’s forecourt (Leaway Service Station in Birmingham) and damaged the top of the canopy. "He didn’t know the height of his vehicle," says Jagesh, "and it is now hanging loose and dangerous."
He rang me because, after numerous attempts, Jagesh had been unable so far to get Booker to pay for it to be fixed, although it had been agreed.
At the time, he had an area manager (it’s a Premier store) who reported it to the transport section at Wolverhampton. The driver and Booker admitted liability and asked Jagesh to get a quote. Texaco gave him a quote of £3,500. Jagesh says he called his area manager over the space of four/five weeks but then learned that he had left the company. So Jagesh then started to communicate with the transport section directly, which relayed it to head office. He was then told to get a second quote so he did this (he thought it came in just slightly under the Texaco one but they said it might go up if ’internal damage was found’).
He felt he was getting nowhere and said although it is probably a minor thing for Booker, for him, it is major. He wasn’t looking for any sort of compensation just repair.
I was able to reassure him straight away that I was sure that a call from Forecourt Trader to Booker’s head office would get results pronto. I knew this because it often happens that, when a peripheral problem occurs outside a company’s main business, it can fall into limbo there is no department at Booker devoted to repairing canopies. I’ve come across similar problems when drinks companies offer free fridges that subsequently break down.
And things swung into action very quickly. Jagesh got a swift apology and his new Booker contact bypassed the insurance company and went directly to the repair company to get it sorted.
Delivering the goods
A glimmer of hope
I have twice reported on the crazy situation that Kumar Selvakumar’s Black Horse Service Station faces after London’s Waltham Forest Council used its £30m winnings from Transport for London’s scheme to turn his area into a ’mini Holland’ of cycle paths. Result: roadworks galore, a ’transformed and inaccessible’ area for cars and now Certas is having to make two smaller deliveries a week because its normal size artics cannot get on to the site. Many kudos to Certas which, so far, isn’t charging Kumar any extra. But he fears this will not continue forever.
Step in Laurence Haring with some advice that may prove helpful.
He wrote: "I have just been reading the trials and tribulations of Kumar Selvakumar in Walthamstow. Did he not have business interruption/denial of access written in his trading insurance? I mention this as I had the same thing at my Bath site. Highways closed the road for four months and it was not financially viable for the site to remain open. Highways, as we know, don’t pay compensation.
"However, depending on whether the works are classed as an unforeseen insurable peril, there may be a course of action.
"I have an excellent loss assessor on the case for me fighting the insurance company for compensation. He works on a no win, no fee basis.
"He can be found at www.TheRightClaim.com. His name is Joel Zimelstern and he is based in Buckhurst Hill. He doesn’t give up! I used to go to school with him and his integrity is 100%."
And, as Laurence points out, Buckhurst Hill in Essex (just about) is in both my and Kumar’s neck of the woods. I live in north-east London, half way between Kumar’s site and on the edge of where Essex starts (in Buckhurst Hill) and I reckon it can be no more than six miles from loss assessor to Kumar.
Where was the money when he needed it?
Back in the summer I reported that Mohammed Nabi (Mayland Garage, Maldon, Essex) had a free-to-use ATM, lots of Bank Holiday tourists and no cash, for over a week. Cardtronics had not delivered.
And he said it certainly wasn’t the first time.
He pays Payzone a rental fee of £60 for its Cashzone machine so he had every right to complain. He rang me again in late September to say that he had been without cash for two weeks!
"They said there’s something wrong with your machine. They monitor it and told me there was money in it. But it was empty."
They said an engineer would call. He didn’t and when Mohammed rang them again the following week they said they could now see the machine was empty and would order the cash.
It’s a very busy machine and a lot of people rely on it.
Once again I got in touch with Cashzone and a quick reply thanked me for flagging it up. I heard no more so, once this column was due to be written, I called Mohammed again to see what had happened.
Apparently it had been sorted shortly afterwards and has remained fine ever since. A manager rang to apologise and now he has a more direct contact should it go pear-shaped again. Though it shouldn’t be necessary to chase. And, I hesitate to add, we have more Bank Holidays coming up next month.