The NFRN has celebrated a ‘magical milestone’ in recouping more than £1m from suppliers on behalf of its members through its NFRN Connect helpline

The announcement comes seven years after the NFRN took direct management of the service and represents an average of nearly £12,000 put back in members’ pockets every month by the service. 

The NFRN said recent successes included one member receiving £1,122.05 in restitution for late supplies and another having a £22,000 deposit waived by their news wholesaler after NFRN Connect’s intervention. 

The helpline has also helped stores forced to close during lockdown – helping to arrange credit on magazines and to co-ordinate supplier support for shop reopenings in cases seen by RN. 

RN understands that the £1m mark comes as the NFRN looks to grow its Connect team to better serve stores, with two new team members added in the past month and potential further expansion planned. 

NFRN Connect team leader Andrew Williamson told RN: “The best part of what we do is the phone call back to a member when we’ve managed to get them £200 to £300, or even a couple of thousand in restitution. The response really makes our day.” 

NFRN national president Stuart Reddish said: “This milestone shows that the NFRN Connect team is always there for members in their time of need. Even more importantly, NFRN Connect really does get results, so members should always make sure it is their first port of call if they are unable to resolve an issue themselves.” 

Asked how members calling Connect can improve the speed and probability of receiving restitution and resolving issues, Williamson responded: “Take a note of as much as possible, delivery times, titles affected, correspondence with the supplier and costs. The more information you can give, the more we can help.” 

Speaking at an NFRN London district council meeting in February attended by RN, a spokesperson for the trade group gave an overview of NFRN Connect’s quarterly performance. The pre-Covid-19 period showed an average of 418 requests for help per month from members, of which 365 – more than 90% – related to news and magazine supply issues. In comparison, data recorded by the Press Distribution Forum found an average of 1,011 complaints were made by retailers directly to news wholesalers for the same period. 

Retailers can contact NFRN Connect – open 364 days a year – on 0800 121 6376 or 020 7017 8880.