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Two interesting letters hit the RN postbag this week – both from frustrated newspaper and magazine buyers.
Andrew Gentles wrote to Menzies back in August after growing tired of the inconvenience caused by erratic newspaper deliveries to his local shop. After receiving no reply, he asked his newsagent where to turn next and was pointed in our direction. Peter Wood, meanwhile, was unable to complete a partwork series, despite collecting 85 issues, because the publisher couldn’t replace a damaged copy. After numerous phone calls and months of delay, he was giving up hope.
In their submissions to the OFT last October, the NFRN and ACS said the current news wholesale market is broken and framed their case in terms of damage to consumer choice. Change is needed to protect the service provided by retailers to the public, they said. The OFT, however, said the supply chain doesn’t have a detrimental effect on the end consumer. It is naive of the OFT to say limited availability doesn’t affect customers. These two letters clearly demonstrate customers are suffering.
RN has since helped MR Wood get hold of his missing part. But how bad do things have to be before members of the public are forced to turn to a trade magazine in frustration at the service provided by the supply chain? Change is needed if the long-term success of the category is to be guarantee. Not every frustrated customer is going to be as proactive as Messrs Gentle and Wood. And there are only so many times a retailer can turn away a customer they are unable to help before they lose them forever.