'Retailers are being charged for a service that never happened'

Newstrade document taken to CMA
News RE Newspapers & Magazines NFRN
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Whether you are the owner of a small shop or CEO of a big conglomerate, staff safety is paramount.

So I totally understand why on the days that the Beast from the East roared in, bringing with it the most treacherous road conditions for many years, that news wholesalers decided it was not safe for their drivers to deliver to retailers in the worst affected areas.

What I fail to get though is why those retailers who did not receive their supplies are still expected to pay carriage charges for the days in question.

The mere mention of carriage charges to most news retailers makes them see red and no wonder, given that during the past decade the charges imposed by Smiths News have risen by approximately 25% while at Menzies Distribution it is an eye watering 38%.

This is against a backdrop of poor service, which we highlighted at our recent Westminster reception when we told the MPs and ministers in attendance that there had been 87,819 complaints about wholesaler performance to NFRN Connect since 2016 and a 27% increase alone between 2016 and 2017.

It is totally baffling that the news wholesalers believe it is acceptable to charge for a service that never took place.

They can’t hide behind the excuse that it is an annual charge. Carriage charges are imposed weekly for the days when retailers receive a delivery.

Refunding those retailers who never received their supplies because of the snow  is just basic common sense.  Refusing to do so is yet another example of the abuse that retailers suffer on a daily basis at the hands of their news suppliers.

What’s more, previous NFRN calls for an independent audit of the levels of carriage charge applied have fallen on deaf ears.

On 11 April, I will be taking an explosive document to the Competition and Markets Authority which urges it to consider an investigation into the newspaper and magazine supply chain before it's too late and even more independent retailers give up on the category.

Linda Sood is the national president of the NFRN.

Read more: Retailers share their frustration after Menzies refused to refund carriage charges.

By Linda  Sood Avatar
By Linda Sood 05 Apr, 2018

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