Since the PayPoint commission cap cuts announcement, retailers have revealed their anger via letters and Twitter, but one retailer attracted the attention of PayPoint’s most senior staff causing them to step out of their head office and into his store.
Retailer and founder of the ‘PayPoint Pay Fair’ Facebook group, Marcus Bergin, described his meeting with PayPoint directors as “unprecedented”.
The two directors from PayPoint travelled to Gloucester to meet the owner of SuperNews, who started the group on the social media website, gaining 300 members in less than a week. In the two-hour long meeting, Bergin said they discussed the commission cap cuts, bank charges, boycotts and impulse purchasing.
According to Bergin, the head of field admitted that PayPoint will not return the commission caps back to the previous rate, but said the company needs to do more to improve secondary sales from utility transactions. “Apparently they have pilot schemes in place to boost sales, but I haven’t heard them until now – I’m willing to play ball,” Bergin said.
The newsagent was approached by PayPoint’s marketing director, Steve O’Neill and head of field, Simon Lambert, after he installed two posters in his store explaining to customers how the commission caps would affect his store, and asked if they would make a purchase along with their utility transaction. “I still want PayPoint in my store, but I need to cover costs. Since the poster there has been a 50% increase in impulse confectionery sales. PayPoint say they want to help improve our sales but my poster has done a massive amount,” he said.
“It’s not militant, it’s not calling for action and it’s not rude to my customers. I’m just asking for their support – I have two disabled children that need my store to help them.”
Both parties agreed that there are many retailers who are not engaged with the payment supplier or don’t understand the suggestions PayPoint make to cut bank charge costs, such as the Barclays special PayPoint deal.
A potential boycott was a concern for both Bergin and PayPoint as there are fears it would leave elderly customers vulnerable and inflict unnecessary damage to both sides. “If 300 retailers undergo a boycott it will just be an annoyance to PayPoint, not a real stand. I am not backing a boycott, because it’s the wrong kind of demonstration., Begin said. “We’re the focal point of our community and the most vulnerable come first. A boycott will mean we’re potentially leaving the most elderly defenceless.”
The meeting from PayPoint’s side:
Steve reported that they had a cordial meeting with Marcus, mostly listening to his perspective and grievances. We recognise that the traditional CTN like Marcus’ faces different challenges from convenience stores, so Steve and Simon came away with a commitment to look at how PayPoint can help his business further, including to help him out with his banking charges, in-store promotion of the services available and bringing in Simple Payment, which will help him with his cash flow.
We were happy to hear that Marcus agreed that customers shouldn’t be put at a disadvantage by any disagreements between PayPoint and retailers, so he doesn’t support a boycott.