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Sellers seek compensation

7b mfone prepaid
Mfone commercial banners sticks at mobile phone shop in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Meng Kimlong/Phnom Penh Post

Wholesalers and retailers of bankrupt Cambodian telecommunications company Mfone are seeking compensation for their stock of the mobile provider’s obsolete scratch recharge cards.

Wholesalers say the issue is also affecting retailers’ confidence in purchasing recharge cards of other providers, and is slowing sales.

Pann Chesda, general manger of Sophat Phone Shop, formerly the main wholesaler of Mfone recharge cards, said he was still holding about $20,000 worth of cards and that close to 100 retailers had told him they were holding cards collectively worth at least $70,000.

“Previously, many depots would spend about $2,000 buying scratch cards for two weeks’ selling,” he said.

“But now they just spend about $200 on cards, even though they need to come very often to purchase them to sell.

“It means sometimes they have to tell their customers they don’t have the cards available.”

The owner of the Sok Na phone shop, who asked not to be named, said the total value of the cards held by her and other small retailers was about $130,000.

She said Mfone’s bankruptcy had cost her money and customers.

“Previously, we would meet our monthly sales target,” she said.

“But after the Mfone collapse, retailers are not buying from us as much and we are not meeting our monthly targets.”

Chesda said the value of unused Mfone cards on the market could be more than $1 million.

He said he had received this information from former Mfone employees when he heard about the company’s financial troubles.

In response to complaints from wholesalers and retailers, court-   appointed liquidator Ouk Ry said the court would need to go through the appropriate legal process.

 At the moment, he was seeking companies that might want to buy Mfone’s assets so as to compensate the provider’s creditors, he said.

“There are many people who have been putting their complaints to us, including the wholesalers and retailers of Mfone scratch cards,” Ry said.

Posts and Telecommunication Minister So Khun could not be reached for comment.

Chesda is appealing to the government to find a resolution that will improve the confidence of distrib-utors throughout the country.

“We are the small businesses with small debts that Mfone owes,” he said. “We hope the government will provide us with an appropriate sol-ution on this issue.”



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