PayPoint has been accused of failing independents on customer service after a retailer was forced to call the police when an argument over a terminal transaction turned violent.

Linda Sood, owner of Falcon News in Portsmouth, told RN she was pushed by a customer and faced a gang of 40 youths following a dispute over a £20 Giffgaff voucher processed through her PayPoint terminal last Saturday evening.

Linda-Sood-(newer)Mrs Sood, pictured, said an argument broke out when a customer claimed a shop worker had not issued the voucher to her.

The retailer attempted to call PayPoint to resolve the issue, but received a message saying the call centre was closed.

Mrs Sood said: “I read my report at 6.45pm, which showed the voucher had been processed, and CCTV footage confirmed this.

“When I told the customer I couldn’t get through to PayPoint to check this, her friend started shouting that they wanted their money back and I ended up getting pushed.”

Mrs Sood said she chased up the voucher with PayPoint the following day, but was told the company could not provide her with more information.

She added: “Some retailers are doing PayPoint up until midnight, but they don’t have a backup service to deal with this.

“We’re a community shop and we have a duty of care to look after our customers, and PayPoint should be doing the same with retailers.”

A PayPoint spokesman said it will contact Mrs Sood and Giffgaff over the incident. He added that
call centre opening hours were longer during the week to reflect when it receives the vast majority of its retailer calls, with the centre closing at 6pm on Saturdays.

PayPoint boss’s pay is £2.2m

As PayPoint continues to cut terms for retailers, an RN investigation has revealed PayPoint bosses have been paying themselves salaries of as much as £2.6m.

Analysis of the payment service operator’s annual reports over the past five years reveals a steady rise in earnings at the top of the company, while retailer earnings continue to fall (see table).

Gloucester newsagent Marcus Bergin said he has processed more than £1m in PayPoint transactions since last June, but the high cost of banking means he is only making a maximum of £110 a week for himself.

He said: “I understand they’re a corporation but this is getting ridiculous and they can’t afford to keep treating retailers this way. I think real action needs to be taken against PayPoint.”   

About 15 years ago, I was just processing British Gas and Southern Electric, but I was making more profit then than I do now through PayPoint

Portsmouth retailer Linda Sood called the figures “outrageous”, adding: “About 15 years ago, I was just processing British Gas and Southern Electric, but I was making more profit then than I do now through PayPoint.”

Responding to RN’s questions, a PayPoint spokesman said: “The vast majority of retailers have benefited from extra sales and footfall.”