Are you still selling phone top-ups? Steve Dyer, manager of Knight Bros Thornfalcon Garage at Taunton in Somerset, has sent me a rant. Cardpoint had written to say that Orange had reduced its retailer margins on e-top-ups by 0.5 per cent.

“Words absolutely fail me,” writes Steve. “I have told Cardpoint that if our margin drops below five per cent on any e-top-up or paper voucher, I will stop selling that product and put up a notice in the shop explaining why. This is not a threat, it is a promise! Anybody else care to join me?”

Steve has subsequently also written to his supplier, 20:20 Solutions, to reiterate his point. “The cost of stocking these products, along with bank charges and general overheads means that we are selling these products at a loss,” writes Steve. “We hear a lot about ‘footfall’. These companies are not going to use our customer base to increase their profits at our expense. Their product must stand or fall on its own merits, and at margins below five per cent it will fall!”