Bina Patel rang from Bristol (Bentry General Stores) with what seemed a disturbing story. She said that when she had had a Post Office she always got black bags to send back unsold Scratchcards, but didn’t think she had had a single one since leaving the network.

She said she had just got a call from Camelot that morning asking what have you got left? Bina said ‘Payday’ and was told that that game was finished and she needed to replace it with Christmas games.

As she had 82 Payday cards left, worth £82, she asked what she was supposed to do with them. She said: “They told me you can scratch them off yourself. They are now your property.”

She added that she didn’t ask for the game, didn’t know when it finished, and asked why should she pay for it? If a pack is activated and doesn’t sell, how can she return them?

She asked for a rep’s visit, but when it didn’t happen rang me. I contacted Camelot to ask if this was some sort of new policy.

A spokesman replied: “Our Scratchcards returns process has always worked this way. For background, we use a number of ways to inform our retailers in advance about the process to be followed when a game closes. For example, we send game closure letters to all retailers: update the information on our website and retailer hotline; send messages to retailers via their terminal; provide all game closure information in our Jackpot magazine; and, although not applicable in this case, we send black collection bags.”

A couple of weeks later, I had Bina on the phone again. She still hadn’t had a rep’s visit. She said she would now be refusing to activate any new Scratchcards.

Once again I contacted Camelot and then had confirmation that one of its reps had just visited Bina.

Camelot said: “After running through the returns process with her, we understand that Ms Patel is happy with what she needs to do and is going to continue to sell National Lottery Scratchcards.”

Well, that is true up to a point. There was a new rep who saw Bina’s view and got on well. She will still sell Scratchcards, but will not activate anything she thinks won’t sell.

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