What you might call bags of complaints 

Every so often those black bags that Camelot uses for Scratchcard returns crop up. This time rather like number nine buses: none for a while then three in a row. First to ring was Peter Atkinson from Atkinson’s News in Sunderland. He had 55 Lucky Bug cards left. “We can’t sell them, we can’t send them back, we can’t even scratch them,” he says. “They’ve increased the size of the packs and we can’t sell them all.”

Peter says he didn’t even know the game was finished until a customer came in with a fiver winner. The machine wouldn’t validate so he paid the man out of his own pocket.

Camelot pointed out that this is a very old game. A spokesman said: “The Lucky Bug Scratchcard game was included in our 3 September 2018 game closure – and, as per the closure process for all Camelot retail partners, retailers are informed by letter approximately 10 weeks prior to the Scratchcard closure date.

“The last date retailers were able to activate a new pack of Lucky Bug Scratchcards was 3 August 2018 – giving them a month to sell through any remaining stock, while also preventing them from activating new packs before the closure date. Our Jackpot magazine also offered information about the game closure.

“Once a Scratchcard game is closed, players have 180 days to claim prizes, which, in this case, was 2 March 2019 – that’s why the retailer wasn’t able to validate the ticket. We would urge retailers not to pay out prizes on invalid tickets from their own pocket (as Camelot won’t be able to reimburse them).”

I got on better with Dipak Patel’s problem. He had ceased trading as Kents News and had been trying to return 26 packs of Scratchcards for about a month. He had spoken to Camelot at least half a dozen times when he rang me.

This was solved super-quick.

And then there was the interesting case of Baldev Maan, who rang to complain that he was being penalised for following the rep’s instructions. He was adamant that he hadn’t received a black bag and got charged £50. First time ever.

Camelot made an exception. A spokesman said: “Having looked into this further, we can confirm that the bags for this particular Scratchcard closure were sent via Royal Mail between 23 July – 3 August 2018. However, given that he was following his rep’s instructions and we have never had any issues with him returning Scratchcards before, we will reimburse the money as a gesture of goodwill. However, he does need to follow the procedure in the future to avoid any charges.”