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Are newsagents being sent consignment goods they did not order?

Mark Fletcher
March 7th, 2014 · 17 Comments

npocproductsNewsagents Products on Consignment – a business offering newsagents counter items that I wrote about recently – has sent at least one newsagent products that were not requested or agreed to. This is contrary to how the company said it would operate.

The newsagent who contacted me advised that they received the goods in their shop with an invoice despite having had no contact with the company prior.

While I am no lawyer, I’d be surprised if the supplier had any rights in relation to getting paid for the unsolicited goods.

On the products themselves – touch screen bullets,  newsagents have access to better packaged versions that provide a considerably better margin.

Has anyone else been sent these items unsolicited?

5 likes

Category: Ethics

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 allan wickham // Mar 7, 2014 at 8:34 AM

    Received this yesterday Mark. It came with a “yellow” letter stating that I should have received a “blue” letter two weeks ago, which I did not. I dont need anybody sending me consignment stock of any description, especially for a product I already stock.
    I noticed there was no mention on how to return these things either, could be a very expensive exercise for this company to come to my store to collect their product because I certainly wont be paying to return something that I did not order in the 1st place. In fact even if they do come up with a cost free way of returning them I might just bill them for my time that it takes.

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  • 2 Brett // Mar 7, 2014 at 9:05 AM

    I marked the envelope Return To Sender

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  • 3 Richard // Mar 7, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    QLD Office of Fair trading states:
    Unsolicited supplies are goods or services that you supply to a consumer, even though they have not agreed to buy or receive them. If you supply unsolicited goods or services, the consumer does not have to pay for them.

    If you supply unsolicited goods or services, you have three months to collect them, otherwise the consumer can keep them free-of-charge. If the consumer writes to you to tell you that they do not want to goods or services, you only have one month to collect them.

    During these waiting periods, the consumer can´t dispose of the goods and must make them reasonably available for collection.

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  • 4 Brendan // Mar 7, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Richard, that’s pretty much how I remember the law from a credit management course I studied decades ago. You are under NO obligation to pay for OR return unsolicited products. I didn’t know or have forgotten the waiting periods you mention but they sound right. Selling them in our case would probably mean acceptance of the terms so I would not do that….at least until the waiting periods you state have passed.

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  • 5 June // Mar 7, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    So how does the law relate to unsolicited mags like emags or huge cooking books etc etc. Are there different rules for the big end of town or are we, as newsagents, committed to having to take excess stock of mags we do sell and excess mags of mags we NEVER sell.
    Talk about a level playing field ! Not
    I have, on the other hand, put in some gift items on consignment (not unsolicited) and they have sometimes been quite successful.

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  • 6 Mark Fletcher // Mar 7, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    June the magazines from Gotch and Network are supplied under an existing over-arching agreement each newsagent signs.

    The magazine supply model treats newsagents differently to our competitors. This is unfair. It stifles competition.

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  • 7 Jim // Mar 7, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    Mark – I have had a look at my magazine supply agreement (which was signed in good faith – at least at this end) with both distributors and nowhere does it say that

    a) they can subject me to gross over-supply,
    b) they can ignore any reasonable request to alter supply despite having daily sales data and pocket availability,
    c) they can supply unsolicited items such as toys and books which do not come anywhere near the definition of magazines.

    These agreements are a crock, everyone knows it and I for one have never signed an agreement with either PMP or Bauer.

    The point is that G&G and NDC are no different to any other supplier when it comes to supplying unsolicited goods and meaningless, unfair agreements which would never stand up in court are being used because no individual can afford to take them on either financially or logistically.

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  • 8 rick // Mar 7, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    The problem is that if we were to put an end to the oversupply issue, and therefore cut revenue to gg and NDC, would the mag dist model be robust enough to survive? I have my doubts there would be enough room for both to survive, what happens then? dont get me wrong, oversupply is costing me a of of $$$$. would be nice to think publishers, distibutors and retailers could slice the pie up evenly so we all win.

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  • 9 Steve // Mar 7, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    All newsagents at some stage when they bought/started their business approached G&G and Network to request they supply us. We then signed a contract.We may be unhappy with the over supply situation and some of the crap from hotshots distributed through G&G is probably outside of what we agreed to. But we asked to be supplied and signed a contract,its not unsolicited.

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  • 10 Mark Fletcher // Mar 7, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    Jim, I call you on your post – you can’t know if a contract would stand up since none has been tested.

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  • 11 Jim // Mar 8, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    Fair call Mark – but the thrust of my post remains the same. Magazine distributors are probably amongst the worst when it comes to unsolicited goods and if one of the gutless associations supposedly representing newsagents stood up and took these people on, they might just have a chance.
    Circumstances have changed dramatically since a lot of us entered into these agreements and it would seem the good faith element has gone out the window.

    Steve – the agreement sitting in front of me specifically refers to magazines – it nowhere mentions toys or books which therefore are unsolicited.

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  • 12 Peter // Mar 8, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    It appears NANA is more interested in pushing Hubbed than addressing the over supply issue. This was gleaned from time spent on Topics at a Regional NANA meeting. However to be fair to the CEO he is only doing what has been directed by NANA’s Board.

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  • 13 Mark Fletcher // Mar 8, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    Jim I agree circumstances have changed. This is why a newsagent should challenge contracts.

    Peter, my understanding was that NANA was against Hubbed. Are they now for it? If so, what due diligence have the done?

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  • 14 Peter // Mar 8, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    That was my understanding till I went to a Regional meeting and it was pushed hard. On inquiry I was told that Matt Hanbury was no longer involved and ANF no longer had a shareholding.

    The meeting attitude was there was 2 major benefits Bill Pay and Parcels. Parcels inwards and outwards will be available without Hubbed elsewhere. Bpay I was told we add a $1.20 to the bill and keep 70c for the service. The customer will probably also cop a $2.50 charge on their next bill for having used this form of Payment a total of $3.70 per bill.

    Some in this meeting saw Bill Pay as a definite attraction. I asked about the rise of EFT however it was not seen as problem The other day I had 18 EFT payments in 1 day and the volume is growing quickly all the time. Ok I do not get the customer into the shop to pay their bill but they pay and it has at this time no fees or charges on either party.

    I was left with the impression Tower was seen as a problem as they would not integrate Hubbed in to their Software while I think POS Solutions does and there is a significant charge.

    As to due diligence it was not discussed as such.

    We have discussed Bpay in the past here I am now in agreement with your position on this. Basically not worth the effort and it and from what I see Bpay has reached it peak of use and is now declining due the use of EFT.

    2 likes

  • 15 Mark Fletcher // Mar 8, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    Peter I’m still surprised NANA has changed its position on Hubbed. I hope they have been clear with members on why.

    Over the counter bill payment is dead. Newsagents who think otherwise are not retailers.

    The Hubbed form of over the counter bill payment is, in my personal view, the worst offering in the marketplace. I’d not want to enter a highly competitive market with the worst offering.

    The parcel offering is not unique. I am surprised NANA is pushing Hubbed when through the ANF they are a founder and supporter of the FREE NParcel.

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  • 16 Steve // May 16, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    Received the blue letter announcing the WA & SA launch of NPOC. Its annoying that you have to waste time opting out of something you never requested from a company you’ve never heard of. Its obvious why they operate this way, no one whould sign up for this offer so they make you opt out and hope you forget to do it. 25% margin on a crap product from a company with a piss poor business model.

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  • 17 David @ Angle Vale Newsagency // May 16, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    Nissan Primera Owners Club?

    What are expected to do with THAT? :-)

    1 likes

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