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Shops seek higher payment from utilities

Tuesday, August 19 17:23:19

Retailers today called on companies like ESB, Bord Gais and Local Authorities to properly reimburse retailers for providing pay as you go services in local shops.

RGDATA, the representative association for the owners of independent shops, convenience stores and supermarkets said many local shops provide pay as you go bill payment services for utility services and local authorities.

"This is a very convenient service whereby people can pop into their local shop to pay a bill, pay their parking charges or toll charges. The various utility companies and the local authorities have made major cost savings by outsourcing their payment services to local retailers. However local shops cannot provide these services at a loss. This is why many local shops apply surcharges to cover the cost of providing these services," it said.

Individual retailers and RGDATA's chief Tara Buckley said they have made representations to the payment service providers about this issue and said they consistently tell them that the they are not prepared to increase the payments to retailers to cover the cost of providing this service.

Ms Buckley said she notes the concerns raised by the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) and others about the impact this is having on hard pressed consumers.

"Our members are community retailers who are trying to provide convenient services for their customers. However our members will not survive in business if they provide services at a loss. This will close local shops and put their staff out of jobs. It is time that these large state companies like the ESB and Bord Gais addressed this issue and started reimbursing retailers fairly to cover the cost of providing this convenient service to their customers," said Ms Buckley.

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