Retailers are to face pallet fines

Companies face penalty for non-returned pallets

Retailers are being hit by a new penalty for not returning pallets. From this month every blue pallet user who has been identified as not returning 30 per cent or more of pallets will be charged £7.65 for every extra one supplied. Supplier Chep will levy surcharges on pallet suppliers — including Scotts and William Sinclair — which will pass them onto the user. Partner Alan Rowling, at Botany Barns garden centre in Woking, said Chep, which has a UK base in Surrey, had put him on a non-cooperative distributor (NCD) list. He blamed the Chep call centre, which arranges collection of pallets but cannot give a specific time. US-based Chep vice-president of communications Deb Spicer said NCD issues had been resolved with 1,800 users. More than 4,000 remain as NCDs. She added meetings were being arranged with the HTA and that Scotts was in regular discussion with Chep. She said she could not understand why pallet users had been unable to sort out their problems because Chep first issued letters in October. A Scotts representative said the firm hoped to resolve the problem without imposing the charge. An HTA representative said: “We’d very much like to have a meeting with Chep but we’ve been unable to find anyone to meet us.” - For details, call the Chep advice line on 0161 7860545.

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