Laying the cards on the table

A disagreeable and, in our view, misleading tenor was set by the opening paragraphs on Michael Zwebner’s personal life in your piece on Cardcall (MW August 9).

Mr Zwebner did not flee, and certainly not to avoid creditors. Like many businessmen, he did indeed suffer from the property collapse a few years ago – and we would point out that all advisers who are concerned with CardCall’s entry to AIM had been made fully aware of the circumstances.

Turning to CardCall, on the one hand you understated our exclusive Camelot licence with its “28,000 outlets.” In total, we expect to distribute to approximately 67,000 outlets, both lottery tickets and others. On the other hand, you overstated the significance of Camelot to CardCall’s business in saying that “Camelot is lending its name to establish the deal”. In fact, although Camelot’s name is of course of major importance to us, and we are delighted to have been selected, our business plans include significant turnover and profit totally unrelated to Camelot/National Lottery, and in markets other than retail.

Our technology is digital state-of-the-art, with many unique switching features. If inability to use the cards “outside the UK” and to “offer recharging” of cards signify problems with “the technology (CardCall) uses”, then we are pleased to say that our cards can be used widely abroad (admittedly not in Mongolia or Tibet) and are rechargeable, but for commercial reasons we chose not to recharge cards to protect our retailers.

It is not for us to discuss the benefits of the CardCall relationship to Camelot. But your readers might appreciate a more positive picture insofar as matters concern CardCall.

Is it not praiseworthy that a start-up company has successfully negotiated on a national level, and exclusively, with several of the UK’s most prestigious marketing and distribution groups, as well as with Global One and other airline carriers, to form potentially a major force in marketing prepaid cards?

As to the “stunt” whereby we gave cards to help the police locate a missing person, we have never claimed this “gesture” was charitable; but is there something wrong in combining social and business goodwill?

Finally, turning to the unused airtime on the cards, that is only potentially a part of the profit in prepaid cards; but even if you were correct that CardCall “makes its money” just from that, it would be as normal to “scrape out” that margin as for Colman’s to take its profit from the mustard left in the pot.

Maurice Alberge


Cardcall (UK) Ltd

London EC1

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