Retailers have raised concerns over the track and trace registration deadline as technical issues have prevented them from registering.

ACS head of communications Chris Noice also confirmed: “Retailers have raised concerns over the track and trace registration deadline as technical issues have prevented them from registering.

NFRN Connect confirmed to betterRetailing that it had taken 11 calls from retailers struggling to receive Economic Operator IDs (EOIDs) from De La Rue – the company managing the system. Those that fail to receive the IDs will not be able to legally purchase tobacco from wholesalers after May 20. 

Many of those reported similar issues with the online forms, such as the system ‘timing out’, requiring irrelevant information not receiving the necessary emails and being unable to set a password. Despite contacting De La Rue for help, several retailers reported not receiving a response, despite nearly a week having passed.

Eugene Diamond, of Diamonds, Ballymena told RN: “neither they or HMRC have gotten back to me. I'm worried I won't get my codes before the deadline. There's a risk it will encourage sales of illicit tobacco.”

John Larkin from Innisfree Newsagents in Belfast has also not received the required all the required codes. “I'm starting to panic about not getting the code before the deadline now. All we can do is purchase more tobacco if that happens, but there's only so much stock we can hold.”

When asked about the new challenges reported by store owners, HMRC refused to comment and suggested De La Rue should answer for the issues. A spokesperson from De La Rue responded to betterRetailing: “We are on track to meet the deadline of the 20th May for all retailers to register their details and we try to resolve any issues as quickly as possible.”

HMRC previously told betterRetailing that only around 2,000 businesses had signed up for track and trace directly by 3 May, though this did not include stores that had been signed up through their wholesaler or symbol group.

Retailers can register for the required track and trace codes for free at https://eutpd.uk.delarue.com . De La Rue’s UK helpdesk number is 0843 462 0259, but each time RN called it went to voicemail. The official track and trace help guide by the company  suggests those facing issues to call their Spain office on +34 843 462 0259. Retailers can also contact CustomerCareCentre@delarue.com