I've had three complaints about Camelot in the past month. Not many, I grant, in the great scheme of things, but to the individual retailers concerned, obviously important.

Two fell into the most common complaint category. They want the lottery and they can't get it.

Hartal Rai, who runs the award-winning Rai Wine Shop in Harborne, Birmingham, has tried several times to get a terminal. "It is the only thing missing. I would be willing to do it for zero commission."

He thought he would score when a Star's branch opposite closed and when a nearby petrol station lost its terminal, but it didn't happen.

"There are other stores around here of much lower calibre, but they get the lottery. I think there is a lot more to this than meets the eye."

He suggests that reps have a lot of influence over who gets the lottery.

Jennie Simmonds emailed from Laughterton Shop & Post Office in Lincoln to say that her customers have a 12-mile round trip to access lottery tickets. Once they have made the six-mile journey they will find two terminals within a quarter-mile of each other.

Her rep asked her whether she had been told why Camelot had declined her application, or had she just received "the standard letter"?

She had received neither and asks: "How can I improve my shop to their criteria if I am not given any feedback whatsoever?"

Finally, Robert Nicoll from Micmac News in Brill, Buckinghamshire, has issues with the lack of reps.

He says: "The reps used to pick up out-of-date Scratchcards. Camelot seems to have done away with their reps recession, I suppose. They used to come in regularly and now we only get the occasional telephone call."

He had two pads of Scratchcards left and rang way back in May for the 'bag' to return them. The bag never arrived and Camelot implemented a £50 fine per pack. That's £100.

"Apparently, the terminal flashes a warning, but staff might be busy with newspapers first thing in the morning and not notice," says Robert.

He also says he doesn't receive Camelot's Jackpot magazine, which carries reminders.

I put all this to Camelot, which pointed out it does not comment on individual cases, but did send a full explanation of how Scratchcard returns work.

The statement said in part: "Unlike most categories, retailers are not committed to pay for Scratchcards until individual packs have been activated for sale and placed in dispensers. Retailers are then only required to pay for these packs after 30 days, or when 60% of low-tier prizes have been claimed, whichever comes first. Retailers can therefore decide what to activate on a pack-by-pack basis this is hugely beneficial to their cash flow and means that if they choose not to place any packs of Scratchcards on sale, they can return them without ever paying for them.

"When games are going to close, Camelot's overriding aim is to give retailers every opportunity to sell through any stock which they have already activated for sale, as well as to return all non-activated stock.

"The returns process begins approximately 10 weeks before any game closes. At this point, retailers receive a message through their lottery terminals, as well as a letter from Camelot, advising them about which game is closing and by what date unused packs need to be returned.

"About six weeks before these Scratchcards need to be returned, retailers receive an 'End of Game' pack through the post. This pack contains another letter reminding retailers of the deadline and which game or games they need to return. They also receive a returns form to complete, and a returns bag. Retailers are asked to put all non-activated stock into this bag and to arrange for its collection with an agreed postal supplier. This collection is paid for by Camelot and comes at no cost to the retailers themselves."

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