Camelot drops CardCall after Mercury dispute…>

Camelot has terminated its contract with telecoms company CardCall to market National Lottery-branded telephone cards, and the National Lottery Anyphone card is being axed.

The move follows legal action by Mercury Communications, which handles calls made using the cards, as it pursues CardCall for repayment of money owed for operating the service.

The development is a damaging blow for Camelot’s National Lottery Enterprises division (NLE), which has set up a range of deals licensing the Lottery logo to consumer companies.

The telephone cards were launched last September by CardCall, which had been given a licence to use the National Lottery logo on the telephone cards by Camelot. Half of the profits from the deal were to be paid to the National Lottery’s good causes, and half to Camelot.

The pre-paid cards used 0500 numbers on Mercury Communications telephone lines. A spokeswoman for Camelot says: “Because of the dispute between Mercury and CardCall, the contract was terminated – CardCall couldn’t provide the necessary service to the consumer.”

Camelot has agreed to underwrite the costs of calls made on any phonecards still in circulation if necessary, and says it will try to recover any such costs from CardCall.

The funds to underwrite the calls would be paid from Camelot’s NLE division, which set up the original deal and has other marketing partnerships with McVitie’s, McCain’s and Freemans.

Earlier this year, Camelot launched an investigation into

CardCall after revelations in Marketing Week and the Mail on Sunday that the company’s founder and vice-president of marketing, Michael Zwebner, was an undischarged bankrupt as a result of his property company collapsing in 1990 (MW August 9 1996).

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