I really should have been expecting this at some point. My blog has stirred up a few moral issues for some and now one kind subpostmaster has decided to reveal all in a phone call to me over the weekend. I have no idea who he is but what he told me makes complete sense.
I don’t know how many former and current subpostmasters are now claiming money back from POL via JFSA/Freeths but I believe it runs into the hundreds. It is entirely likely that all of them at some stage will receive compensation once the truth about Horizon becomes clearer. These are people who lost money to POL.
But the computer doesn’t differentiate between Credits and Debits when it makes a mistake. It is just as likely that there are a similar number of SPMRs out there who have benefited from Horizon mistakes. The SPMR contract is clear though. All gains after balancing the books are for the SPMR to withdraw from the safe for his own benefit and of course he/she is responsible to settle all losses with POL.
Which brings me back to the phone call from a very kind soul who has for the first time as far as I am aware revealed an error in Horizon which has resulted in him gaining a five figure sum. He didn’t tell me the exact figure but he did say it was closer to six figures than four!
He explained the details. A business customer made a large cash deposit at one of his branch’s counters and the assistant later remmed it out to the Safe Stock Unit. The SPMR remmed it in as normal. At the close of business however the counter balance showed a significant gain which he could not understand but he recollects that it did seem to be a multiple of the stock transfer but as it was a gain he left it assuming that it would rectify itself. By the end of the month nothing had happened to rectify this so he set the money aside in the safe in case of a visit by the auditor.
To cut a long story short – this happened a further two times over a period of 18 months or so – and the gains mounted up. He admits to not informing the help desk and I agreed with him that he didn’t need to not only because of his contract but also because the CEO of POL says that there are no errors in Horizon!
You would think that such large losses to POL would be noticeable but no – bless their cotton socks – they aren’t and never have been. So when NT came along this SPMR decided to leave the network and found a replacement shop willing to take the PO on. he received suitable compensation when he left and he also received an audit on his last day in the office.
That audit revealed no surprises although the SPMR had retained all the gains in cash just in case something cropped up. This all happened some time ago. The money remains invested he says just in case POL come snooping – but even if they did wouldn’t that be an interesting case to put before a Judge and Jury just as POL did to Seema Misra? POL as prosecutor could only put the case that Horizon is fallible in order to win!
Whoever you are Mr SPMR – thanks for letting me know. I am sure there are hundreds in a similar position.
Co-incidentally – as I have now taken over a lottery terminal with my newsagent business I have just come across a letter Camelot sent out to all their retailers. Makes really interesting reading in that it acknowledges an intermittent fault with their system and provides retailers with information on what to look for and how to deal with it when it happens. Now if only POL could do something similar!!!