PayPoint has said it will stick to its guns over its use of exclusivity agreements for independent retailers, despite rival 3R Telecom lodging a complaint over the policy with the OFT.

Complaints from 40 retailer customers about PayPoint’s “heavy-handed” tactics had prompted Ramesh Patel, a 3R company director, to report it to the competition watchdog, he told The Grocer.

“So many retailers have come to me to complain about PayPoint threatening to take their terminals away because they are also using a 3R machine,” said Patel. “But Paypoint knew the retailers had these machines when it signed them up. An independent retailer should be able to decide what he or she offers.”

A PayPoint spokesman said there were no plans to abandon the policy at this stage. He claimed PayPoint’s contracts were clear on the subject of alternative providers and that it expected retailers to read the details before signing. “We always make sure new agents are aware of the terms relating to alternative providers and ask them to sign an additional form,” he said . “No-one is forced to become a PayPoint agent, but those who do know that they will benefit from the additional footfall and business it brings.”

Meanwhile, Payzone’s UK MD, Paul Charmatz, confirmed he had spoken to Patel before the complaint was made, but added that although he opposed the agreements he was not involved in the complaint. “I understand Ramesh’s feelings because I don’t believe it is right to do business this way,” he said.

The OFT has not confirmed whether it will launch an investigation.

Hot Topic: Should an indy retailer be free to offer any product or service they like?