Up to 10,000 small retailers and newsagents will refuse to sell Vodafone products across the UK tomorrow and Saturday in protest against e-top up commission cuts.
Vodafone is dropping the amount of top-up commission it pays by 1% costing up to 12,000 newsagents and retailers a total of £1.2m, around £100 each.
Small retailer Kevin Hunt, who set up the online petition to demonstrate his dissatisfaction at Vodafone, said: ‘We are on target to get 10,000 stores to switch off on Friday and Saturday.
‘This has been a remarkable start to my campaign – quite an achievement for an independent retailer.
‘If Vodafone are to consider reversing their 1% commission reduction decision, the campaign needs to be even more effective. We need more retailers and stores to support us.’
SPAR UK is one big name who is backing the boycott with the majority of its 2,600 UK stores expected to join the protest.
Chris Lewis, trading director for SPAR UK, said: ‘Post Offices, forecourts, convenience stores, newsagents, off licences and independents have now joined Kevin Hunt’s campaign.
Lewis said he is also looking at ways they can positively support the other networks.
Specifically, SPAR will be giving Sim cards away to Vodafone customers and encouraging them to switch over to more profitable networks.
He said: ‘We are also reviewing our business handset contracts, and will be telling Vodafone that we will not want to support them in the future.’
The campaign has gathered pace despite Nick Birtwistle, Vodafone’s head of channel partnerships, claiming that the operator’s move will profit retailers in the long term. He told Mobile last week:
‘I would appeal to newsagents that it is part of our strategy to get more usage away from voice and text. In the long term it will increase their footfall. We’ve had a look at our costs, and this is just one of those things that we’ve had to do to deliver on that strategy.’