Earlier this year Anand Patel wrote from Farnham: “I’d like to ask my fellow retailers am I the only one with a Scratchcard supply problem - where the scratchcard dispenser remains almost half empty most of the time?” Short answer, no, not the only one.
I had first featured Anand’s problem last October and Camelot duly fixed it. But it was same-old, same-old by January. Once again Camelot fixed it. Then a few days later Bhavin Patel from Tylers Green Stores, North Weald in Essex, copied me in on complaints about empty slots. He too had written to the CEO Nigel Railton.
And now Subhash Varambhia (Snutch News, Leicester) is on the case. He has written to Camelot’s CEO saying that, for the past month, his card dispenser had three vacant windows. His wife Rama sent me a picture to back this up.
Subhash says Camelot keeps sending him duplicates of cards. “These have no value or use,” he wrote. “This has a negative impact on sales and is costing me rental fees. Camelot regularly quizzes us about planograms. What a farce. How can we have a planogram if we are not replenished properly?”
He adds that it costs him time to talk to Camelot’s staff and that it doesn’t get him anywhere. He ends his letter: “We suggest that Camelot compensate for loss of trade, time, costs and distress.”
I don’t think that’s likely. In fact, at time of writing, there had been no response from head office.
The press office told me that the team had contacted the store, but Rama had not wanted their offer to help. They urged her to ring the helpline.
The Varambhias refute this. It was the same staff asking about the planogram, not addressing the problem of empty windows and duplicates. “No one has answered the letter,” says Rama. “It’s not cheap to ring and they ignore emails.”