Retailers have outlined five demands for a fair compensation system for instances of financial harm caused by news and magazine wholesalers and publishers.

A survey conducted by RN captured the views of 50 retailers, and asked them to choose potential changes to the current process. The research also revealed that nearly 40% of those who filed a claim for restitution in the past year had not received a single payout. 

Across two surveys, more than half of retailers said they had not applied for restitution. 

The most commonly reported barriers to claiming restitution were a lack of confidence in the current system (46%), that it takes too long (40%), and that the current process is too difficult (34%). 

Asked to explain the issues they face, one retailer explained: “It’s the attitude of the wholesaler and their refusal to send a form on one occasion. The level of claim was also not big enough to make it worthwhile. Restitution should be for time and effort, not just for loss of product or sale.”

RN shared the results with the Press Distribution Forum (PDF), which is responsible for setting industry standards and restitution procedures.

A spokesperson from the PDF responded: “The PDF is working to improve retailer access and is examining areas within the complaints process that could be simplified to improve retailer understanding and accessibility. 

“The results of the survey will assist with this process and will be reviewed at the forthcoming PDF board meeting.”

NFRN head of news Brian Murphy warned that failure to address these concerns would increase retailer shift away from the category. He said: “News establishments must become mindful that food and drink suppliers do not gain such criticism in their process or trading practices. We have known for a long time that awareness of the restitution processes need urgent attention. 

“Retailer awareness, the ease in which it is completed and post-complaint satisfaction is a concern, and the findings of this survey should therefore be taken in the spirit intended and work streams set up to improve it.”

The News Media Association refused to comment on the findings. Menzies and Smiths News both failed to respond before RN went to print.

RN’s research last summer identified £211m in paper sales are lost every year due to supply chain problems. 

The latest survey shows the restitution for much of this goes unclaimed, leading RN to today launch its ‘Missing Millions’ campaign to highlight where stores miss out on sales and restitution due to supply chain failings.

The five demands

  1. Automatic restitution for news sellers for delivery failings
  2. A new industry-standard restitution process voted for and agreed by retailers
  3. Carriage charge refunds for instances of wholesaler error
  4. Wholesalers and publishers to lose a claim by default if a restitution form is not sent out within 48 hours 
  5. Restitution to be provided for short supplies and substitutions

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