Retailers across the UK are missing hundreds of pounds in voucher credits from Smiths News, prompting the NFRN to renew its challenge on publishers to address supply chain issues.

Store owners from depots in Croydon, Dorset, Hemel Hempstead, Newcastle upon Tyne and Stockport are all reporting missing restitutions of as much as £1,300.

Speaking to RN, Jayne Thomas, from The Sweet Shop in Dorset, said she has been chasing hundreds of pounds in missing credits since the beginning of the year. 

“I have been waiting for the missing credits from hundreds of newspaper vouchers since February,” she said. “Smiths still charges us for deliveries, services and newspaper copies, but none of the £319 of credits we’re owed have been paid so far.

“We are a small shop, so that makes a lot of difference to us. We have been losing money for months because of those failed restitutions.”

Daxit Patel, from Tullets Newsagent in Croydon, said he has been calling Smiths regularly about the problem for two months, with no result. “We’ve been having issues with mixed credits every week since the end of June,” he said. 

“I call Smiths every week trying to get it fixed, and they keep giving me new reference numbers and transferring me to different people, but it never gets solved.”

NFRN head of news Brian Murphy said the federation has called for publishers to apply pressure on wholesalers to fix the issues brought by the monopoly of the supply chain.

“There is a lack of policing and auditing in the industry that needs to be addressed,” he said.

“Vouchers should be treated as cash at every stage and they have not been. This has led to retailers being disillusioned by publisher offers, and that can only have a detrimental effect on sales.”

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