In this twentieth post in the Barter Series, I show how IRTA (The International Reciprocal Trade Association) had a conflict of interest over a secret deal brewing with Bartercard and then stood by knowingly while Bartercard (one of their members) raped a Sussex Barter Exchange even after the victim had laid a complaint with IRTA! In a disgusting display of corwardice and self-interest, the IRTA Executive singlehandedly denied the victim justice at two ends of the scale and the real perpetrator not only walked free, but then announced their exclusive endorsement from IRTA. It’s the stuff of vomit but it happened in 2014. This story just has to get out there!
IRTA’s rules are straight forward, simple, sound and unambiguous. Put simply this is, “just do the right thing guys”.
If things go wrong, and they do a lot when you’re dealing with Bartercard, there is a simple process for lodging a complaint with IRTA. You pay a couple of hundred bucks; state your case and something unspecified will happen. In doing so, you also waive your rights to litigation, however this time IRTA probably just handed the victim a ‘get out of jail free’ card.
The Managing Director of a Sussex Trade Exchange wrote to Annette Riggs, President of IRTA and copied all members of the IRTA Board on Nov 21 ,2013:
I am the Managing Director of Satachi Trade Bank Ltd, which owns and operates a bartering business based in the Brighton & Hove area in Southern England. The exchange was built from scratch and has been operating since 2006.
Recently, my principal sales representative Stuart Leopold (and friend of twenty years, left my employment and took on a Business Development Consultancy with Bartercard UK Limited covering exactly the same region. He had occupied a position of absolute trust and had privileged access to my members’ contact details and account balances.
It came to my attention soon after he departed that my former employee was approaching my company’s members with offers of discounts and preferential treatment if they agreed to join Bartercard. So far I have become aware of offers to:
- waive the customary joining fee of £1,000
- credit the customer on joining with a balance equivalent to the balance of their account in
the Satachi Trade Bank
I understand that Bartercard UK Limited is a member of IRTA and I have therefore consulted your ethical code. I note as follows from your website under the heading of ‘ethics and bylaws’:
lV. New Member Sign-Ups * Unfair competition
a) exchanges are not permitted to gift unearned trade dollars to new members who sign-up with their barter exchange
b) Exchanges are not permitted to match clients’ positive trade balances from another barter exchange, (this does not apply to corporate AR credits). Nor are exchanges permitted to pay-off a client’s credit line from another exchange or convert any portion of another exchange’s members’ balances into their own exchange
c) Exchanges are not permitted to offer client’s of another exchange a free membership or reduced fees in their exchange in an effort to induce clients into their exchange, unless such free membership or reduced fee policies are the customary practice of the exchange
It seems to me that Bartercard UK Limited have breached your code of ethics, have practiced unfair competition, and are threatening my business’s very survival. I have complained to them on the basis that they are exploiting my company’s confidential information through Stuart Leopold. However they have denied that the information is confidential and have not provided any undertaking that they will cease this practice.
ln my view the conduct of Bartercard UK Limited threatens to undermine the good name of bartering exchanges generally and it will also devalue the currency of their own exchange.
I would therefore wish you to regard this as a formal complaint to be dealt with within the IRTA complaints procedure. I have a copy of a letter signed by Simon Barker, Chief Executive of Bartercard UK Limited which was sent to one of my members. Two issues are of significance. First it proves that balances are being created artificially as an inducement. Second, it has been saved (if you see the name of the attachment) as “Bartercard letter for Satachi members”.
I also enclose an email from one of my members, Sussex Magazines, showing that they were contacted by Stuart Leopold and that there were inducements offered. This is typical of the feedback that I have received from my membership. You will see that he was offered a fee waiver (£1,000) and balance recreation with the equivalent amount of money that is in their Satachi account.
I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible since the longer this bad practice continues the more it threatens my exchange and the assets of my company’s members.
He provided clear evidence of this claim in his letter copying in one of his Members’ communications that verified this and a copy of the template used by Bartercard to poach his clients.
The next day the President of IRTA responded with:
Have you gotten any response from Bartercard on this? I see he sent it to the entire board. I was surprised that you included the whole board in your inquiry to them but now I see why.
This was meant for Ron Whitney, not him (but how was he to know?) so he replied to Annette on Monday 26th Nov 2014:
ls this your official response to my email sent out to you and the whole board last Thursday regarding Stuart Leopold and Bartercard’s breaching of the code of ethics of the IRTA?
She replied the same day:
No this is not my official response. My apologies, this email was intended for our Exeeutive Director, Ron Whitney only. Ron has sent correspondence to Bartercard and we are waiting for their reply. We will follow up with you.
Thank you for your patience
On Dec 16th he sent request for action
Please would you be good enough to inform me in the next seven days as to when I should expect your organizations formal reply to my complaint of November 21st.
In the meantime Bartercard UK Limited have actively continued, without pause, to erode my membership using the same methods as reported to you.
These methods are clearly in breach of your organizations ethics and bylaws, for which self evidently Batercard appear to have no regard.
Would you be good enough in your reply; to set out the process leading to, the timelines for, and how your organisation censures members who are in breach (in instances such as my business is experiencing).
Alternatively is it that adherence to your code is somewhat voluntary?
I look forward to your timely reply.
Which is from Ron Whitney:
.* Please see below Bartercard’s response to your allegations.
Would you kindly address your reply directly to me individually, rather than the entire IRTA Global Board,
Thank you for your cooperation. Ron Whitney, IRTA Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org”r V57-393-2292
Response to Complaint against Bartercard UK for Code of Ethics Violation made By Satachi Trade Exchange
The situation with regard to Bartercard and the Satachi Trade Exchange is that nearly a year ago Bartercard UK was
approached by Satachi with a view of Scott, the majority shareholder selling the exchange to Bartercard. Simon Barker
CEO of Bartercard UK met with Scott and Stuart Leopold (who was the onlv person working full time on the exchange).
Simon was very clear with them at the outset that Bartercard was looking at setting up in the south Sussex area in the
very near future and that his approach was very timely.
Scott had a major financial issue on his hands and members were not happy with the limited level of support they were
.- Simon and Scott had a number of discussions but failed to come to a final deal because it became there were a number
of very serious issues with the Satachi Exchange.
The Satachi Exchange had an extremely dire issue with credit wherein the vast majority of the members were in credit.
The exchange had an established business model of charging t5% on sales with zero fees on purchases – importance of
which will soon become apparent.
It was discovered that at some point in the recent past the operators of the Satachi Exchange had purchased “bearer
certificates” from a very large number of members.
The effect of was as follows:
the vast majority of members now had substantial positive credit balances
The Exchange itselfnow had an even larger debit balance, and
The transactions had the effect ofcreating a level offees that benefited the Exchange operators in the
process with no benefit to the members.
Scott wanted a sale price of at least 10 times calculated EBITDA. Bartercard wanted to help the industry be taking over
an ailing Exchange and made an offer for which was below the amount asked for by Scott and was dependant on an
After much deliberation Scott decided he was not interested in Bartercard’s offer and we ceased further negotiations. ,r
Some weeks later Bartercard UK was contacted by Stuart Leopold who, by that time, had resigned from Satachi. l
All contact between Stuart Leopold and Satachi had already been terminated. ]
Stuart purchasedasalesagencywithBartercard. OneofthekeyreasonsthatBartercardUK decidedtoofferStuartthe I
chance of a Sales Agency was because in the past few months they had sold a new franchise for the adjoining Kent area I
so that the Sussex area was now bordered by two Bartercard brokerages. i
As this is a new “virgin” area for Bartercard we have offered various marketing inducements to the market so that they
could get a core membership for the area. Bartercard UK do offer a number of inducements and do occasionally offer
free memberships for particular members that we need within the exchange.
After Stuart had left Satachi this meant that there was now no full time staff working with the members of Satachi,.
As Stuart was the only real contact within that Exchange, many of the Satachi members had had over the previous few
years there was some consternation when members discovered that he was no longer with Satachi.
At no point did Bartercard UK advertise or send unsolicited marketing materialto the Satachi members.
Bartercard UK has confirmed that they do not have a list of the members,
Stuart has been contacted by some Satachi members who were concerned with their ability to continue trading when
they felt that there is very little likelihood of any new members and zero support.
Bartercard UK only responded in writing to requests for help from these members.
Bartercard UK did not precipitate the situation in which the members of Satachi find themselves but Bartercard UK
agrees that they have been trying to lend support to both the owner and members of that exchange but only with the
view to prevent the image and name of the Barter lndustry being brought into disrepute.
On Friday Dec 20, Scott Kennedy replies to Ron Whitney:
Thank you for forwarding the email from Bartercard UK Limited. I fully reserve my rights to comment in detail at a
later date, on what in-my opinion is, a somewhat imaginative explanation, crafted to place a positive spin on
Please can you inform me whether the IRTA condones members who prey upon non -IRTA member exchanges,
such as mine here in the UK. Providing this is not the case would you be good enough in your reply; to set out the
process leading to, the timelines for, and how your organisation censures members who are, if proven, in violation
.-_’IRTA’s code of ethics and bylaws.
Subject to your reply, I will provide you with sufficient indisputable information, to enable scrutiny of my allegations
in the round, with a view to whatever censure IRTA may deem fit for Bartercard,
I look fonruard to your reply, which I would be gratefulto receive after the holiday season, by Friday 1Oth January
On January 17th he again tries to get a response to some simple questions
I am disappointed to note I have not received a reply to my email of 20th December last.
The questions I asked therein should pose no difficulty as the first merely seeks to understand IRTA policy, and
the second IRTA’s procedure.
As Bartercard continue to predate my membership time is now of the essence. Accordingly I formally request you
reply within the next seven days.
You will appreciate should I not hear from you I will not feel constrained to limit any further correspondence to just
._ rurself and Annette.
Executive Director Ron Whitney replies the same day:
We have tried in good faith to provide answers to your questions and concerns by supplying you direct information from
IRTA has an Ethics Complaint procedure in place to handle such situations, I have attached the Ethics Complaint Form as
well as the IRTA Code of Ethics and Conduct.
lf you would like to pursue this matter further through IRTA you need to initiate the Ethics complaint process.
On Monday Feb 10, 2014, Scott Kennedy writes to Ron Whitney:
Dear Mr Whitney,
Please find attached my ethics complaint form. Also attached are emails from three Satachi
members who were approached by Batercard . Additionally attached the Bartercard letter sent to
Satachi members clearly evidencing the “kick start payment ” (their expression), These
.tachments demonstrate Bartecard are in clear violation of IRTA’s code of ethics – IV. New
Tiember Sign-Ups – Unfair Competition.
Bartercard have approached the majority of Satachi members over the last four months. They have
signed in excess of thirty of these (listed below). Their offer to all has been membership free of
joining fees, plus gifting them a “kick start payment ” equivalent to the balance held in my
member’s Satachi account at the time.
Satachi Members that Bartercard has signed onto their exchange by violatins the code of ethics of
[33 companies names listed]
Mr Stuart Leopold (my former employee of 7 years) now of Bartercard Suss€x contacted me at
8:06am on Tuesday 28th January 20L4 via telephone, He confessed to having recruited only six
fresh members (non Satachi) in the period from 1st October 2013 to the present, These six
iembers received no free money, and paid a membership fee of several hundred pounds. This
-clearly shows how he and Bartercard are focused on targeting my Satachi members, rather than
directing their efforts into the marketplace in a straightforward manner consistent with iRTA’s code
l\one of my membership actively requested Bartercard’s intervention, Their suggestion that they
“have been trying to lend support to both the owner and members of that exchange but only with
the view to prevent the image and name of the Barter Industry being brought into disrepute” is a
cynical fabrication. I was unwilling to sell my business to Bartercard, for them to pay me from the
future income they would have derived from my erstwhile members. Thus, instead of a direct and
honest purchase they have simply decided to subvert my members awayr by gifting them Bartecard
cLrrrency and membership.
The actual period between the collapse of negotiations between Bartercard and Satachi was ln
March 2013. Mr Leopold did not resign his employment from Satachi until 6pm on the 26th
September 2013, in other words over 6 rnonths later. This was the day after Bartercard Sussex was
formed. Therefore it is utterly false and misleading for Bartercard UK to claim that it “was
contacted by Stuart Leopold who, by that time, had resigned from Satachi”.
in the form number 3 – What is your recommended course of action
1. Bartercards be formally censured for bringing the industry into disrepute and for violating IRTA’s
code of ethics, and be required to desist from this forwith.
2. 2. They be required to close all the Satachi members’accounts they signed whilst in breach of
IRTA’s code of ethics. They should withdraw the money they gifted my members as an inducement
to join Bartercard
3. 3. The outcome of IRTA’s action to be circulated to the entire IRTA membership.
4. 4. Financial compensation be ordered against Bartercard for the damage and loss of earning
they have caused to Satachi’s business in the amount of 824,750. Each account on average
generates €750 pa, made up of monthly and trade fees. Multiply this sum by the number of
members they have recruited from Satachi i,e. 33 = 824,750. Failure to pay this sum within 30
days of being ordered to do so by yourselves should result in the expulsion of Bartercard from the
IRTA indefinitely, or until compensation is paid,
Please email me how you would like the payment of $200 to be made as I am not a member of the
After a couple of minor communications to do with payment and due process, on Monday Feb 17, 2014, IRTA confirms receipt of the Complaint and payment:
Thank you for the bankcard information, the $200 has been processed.
Your complaint has been submitted to the IRTA Ethics Committee.
We have requested BC/UK/BIG to respond formally. Once I receive their response I will forward it to you for your
I expect to receive their response by the middle of next week.
On Thurday March 13, 2014 Scott Kennedy writes to follow up:
Dear Mr. Whitney
Please can you update me on the progress of my formal complaint against Bartercard for violations of your Code of Ethics.
Please can you also tell me when you expect to conclude the matter.
IRTA replied the next day:
I should have some materials to you early next week to resporid to,
I do not have a definitive time as to when the investigation wil\be concluded, it is an ongoing process.
Another follow-up on Tuesday 1st April:
Dear Mr. Whitney
Your email below offered to have some materials with me during the week commencing 17 March. lf you have
sent to me, I have not received anything. Please advise.
Can you confirm that following receipt of my ethics complaint form submitted on 6th February last; whether or not
you requested Bartercard UK
to desist from approaching my members whilst my complaint was under investigation. lf you did ask them to desist
on what date did you do so?
and again on Thursday 17 April 2014:
Dear Mr. Whitney,
I am quite concerned that I have not received any reply from you in regard to my last email (see below), I assume
you received it. ln any event please reply without fail by the end of next week (Friday l Bth April 2014).
whereupon Ron Whitney advised by return:
I actually discussed your case at length with Simon Barker of Bartercard/UK last week.
He assured me he was going to call you directly in an effort to discuss the matter, with the goal of arriving at a mutually
I am hereby copying Simon on this email to remind him to follow-up with you, pursuant to my recent conversation with
Thank you for bringing this to my attention.
The same day:
Thu, Apr 17,2014 at 3:50 PM
I have today heard by email from Simon Barker of Bartercard/UK, who is requesting a meeting with me.
Please can you tell me what the substance of your conversation with Simon was?
What conclusions have IRTA reached thusfar regarding the behavior of Bartercard in relation to breaches of your
code of ethics?
Please can I also have the materials you mentioned in your emailof the 13th March 2014.
and this in reply:
I simply was asking for him to supply us with his written answer to your complaint.
He suggested that he wanted to reach-out to you unilaterally to try to resolve things.
Yeah right! Scott replies:
Dear Mr. Whitney
To put matters into a time frame; Bartercard
a complaint with IRTA on2111112013, which
that Bartercard are in clear violation of the IRTA code of ethics –
UK commenced pirating my members in early October 2013.|’raised
I formalized on 0610212014. IRTA’s fee of $200 was paid on Feb 17,
My claim contends
lV. New Member Sign-Ups -Unfair Competition.
J evidenced that Bartercard offered free joining fees to my members and gifted the equivalent balance held in the
Satachi account into their new Bartercard account. They had recruited 30+ at the time of my formalised complaint
in February 2014. Barlercard have not denied these actions.
Bartercard have now approached almost every single one of my members, and I believe are already making a
second sweep of those they didn’t recruit first time round.
Despite my asking you Ron, have you disclosed IRTA’s process, or given a specific timetable as to when it will
conclude it’s investigation. Please do so in the next seven working days.
You did not answer me when I asked whether or not’Bartercard UK have been asked or directed to desist from
approaching my members whilst my complaint was/is under investigation’. Please do so in the next seven working
days. Nor have you answered my question ‘lf you did ask them to desist on what date did you do so?’ Please do
so in the next seven working days.
You informed me that BC/UKBIG failed to respond formally to the Ethics Committee regarding my complaint.
(This is of course if you exclude your minimally reported telephone conversations with Simon Barker). lf
subsequently there was a formalwritten reply please fonryard it to me in the next seven working days. Whilst you
say you “actually discussed your [my] case at length with Simon Barker of Bartercard” he didn’t bother to contact
me, without you chasing, and then only after I chased you yet again for progress.
I regret the need to state the obvious; but what is evident throughout my correspondence with you is that I have to
routinely chase you personally for information, rather than you keeping me informed without my asking. This is not
what I would expect from the IRTA Ethics Committee, or you – as an IRTA Executive Director. Let us not forget the
IRTA have taken a fee from my company to investigate my complaint.
Accordingly, both to put matters on a correct and cooperative footing, and to keep matters within the existing
circle, please respond clearly in full in the next seven days to the questions I have raised yet again above.
Most importantly, please disclose if IRTA’s Ethics Committee do, or do not support Bartercard’s actions, and why.
Alternatively if there is a written adjudication from them on the matter please provide it. Either way please do so in
the next seven working days.
Upon you disclosing allthe relevant information I have quite reasonably asked for, I can consider my position regarding a meeting with Bartercard.
And from IRTA:
As I advised you recently, Simon Barker told me he was going to reach-out to your to attempt to settle the matter
directly with you.
Per his email below, it appears he has done that, but you have not responded back to him.
Please do so at your earliest convenience, as it may well result in a reasonable solution to the entire matter.
Ron Whitney, IRTA Executive Director
The heat goes on from Scott Kennedy on April 29th
Dear Mr Whitney,
I am most disappointed that you have yet again avoided answering direct questions.
Any commercial resolution I might achieve with Bartercard requires me to be in full procession of the facts
concerning the longstanding complaint lfiled with IRTA.
Without the facts a conversation / meeting with Bartercard would put me at a distinct disadvantage. Your repeated
unwillingness to be forthright and transparent could be seen by others to
suggest you, and or IRTA are actively biased in favour of your member .
My polite request to have answers in the next seven working days stands.
lf it is not your intention to answer my questions tell me forthwith.
Wed, May 7,2014 at 4:50 PM
I am not sure what you are waitimg for from Rcn but I feft that it was only right that we should meet up to
discuss what happened and look at how we work going forward.
We have not ccntacted any more Satachi members in 2014.and we have terminated the manager who had
authorised the gifting of trade pounds into new member accounts.
Should you wish to meet with me to discuss then I would he happy to come down to see you.
SlMON C BARKER
Chief Executive Officer
Bartercard UK Ltd
Wednesday May 14th:
Dear Mr Whitney,
I am disappointed to note that you have chosen not reply to the questions set out in my
email of April 29,2014 4:30 AM.
You did however decide to fonruard my email to Simon Barker and other individuals within
Bartercard UK. Some people might feel that you are being deliberately obstructive and highly
partisan. I am sure you would not want to justify that kind of thinking, which would hardly be
*o the credit of IRTA.
Perhaps there is some logical explanation to account for the absence of your reply?
That said I have corresponded with Simon regarding a meeting, which I am open to. He is
also aware I am waiting on a reply from you.
I would be pleased to hear from you in the next forty eight hour with a view to being able to
move towards to a resolutions.
IRTA’s response later in the day:
I just got off the phone with Simon Barker at Bartercard/UK.
He has advised me that he wants to meet with you ASAP to “make an offer to you that will make you quite happy.”
While I am not privy to the details of the offer, I can say that the overall structure he is willing to offer you is far better
than any resolution that the IRTA Ethics Committee would ever be able to provide.
As you know, the IRTA Ethics Committee is not a court of law, and therefore does not have the authority to assess
.,.-rrrrt.r in matters brought to its attention.
It is our sincere hope that you will meet with Mr. Barker in the very near future to resolve this matter to your and
Bartercard/UK’s mutual satisfaction.
Once that resolution is reached directly between you and Bartercard/UK, we will refund your initial $200 tthics form
deposit, since the traditional Ethics process was not completed regarding this matter.
Let me know if you have any questions whatsoever.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Friday May 16th in reply:
Dear Mr Whitney,
Thank you for your email, the contents of which I note.
I shall make contact with Simon Barker with a view to a meeting. Should this lead to an entirely suitable settlement
then I will advise to you accordingly.
ln the event that Bartercard’s offer proves unacceptable, I will promptly revert to IRTA to press my complaint to the
Committee; accordingly I reserve all my rights.
On August 12 204 Scott turns the matter back to IRTA President Annette Riggs and copies in an email he sent to Simon Barker [italic] following a failed Franchise sale/takeover offer from Bartercard:
You will recall I emailed you on 21 .11.13 regarding a Breach of IRTA’s Code of Ethics by Bartercard UK.
I formalised my complaint on 10.02.14. The matter was thereafter in the hands of Ron \Mitney. I understand Scott
Whitmer is now Vice President. I should be grateful if you would forurard this email as a matter of urgency to
whoever is tasked with resolving my complaint, and advise me accordingly forthwith.
To bring matters up to date;
ln May this year after some urging from Ron I agreed on 16.05.13 to the principal of a meeting with Simon Barker
CEO of Bartercard. ln particular Ron had emailed me on 14th May to say
“he [Simon Barker]wants to meet with you [Scott]ASAP to “make an offer to you that will make you quite happy.”
ln respect of the meeting I did email Ron to say “ln the event that Bartercard’s offer proves unacceptable, I will
promptly revert to IRTA to press my complaint to the Ethics Committee; accordingly I reserve all my rights”
I have now had two lengthy meetings with Simon, but regrettably no settlement could be agreed.
Accordingly my complaint is resurrected herewith.
The reasons negotiations were fruitless are set out below in my email to Simon Barker of 04.07,14. (A hard copy
of which was also sent to him by recorded mail on 08.07.14) . To date no acknowledgement or reply whatsoever
has been received.
I believe the information contained in that mail copied below, along with the points that follow it should be
considered by the Ethics Committee along with that already provided in my complaint, and as updated in my
exchanges with Ron Whitney up to 16,05.13.
From. scott^s*tachitr**Je@grn*il.c*nr [mailto:scntt.satschitradeffigmaii.n*rn] On Behalf Of Scott Kennedy
Sent: 04 July 201412.01
To: Simon Barker
Subject: Re: Final request for compensation Satachi / Batercard!
I regret you feel we are too far apart, and as a consequence we cannot settle this matter amicably.
For the record, and your Board of Directors, I should like to make the following points:-
1. The purpose of our meetings as urged upon us by Ron Whitney of IRTA was to settle the matter of your
admitted breaches of their Code of Ethics. Accordingly we expected to receive an offer of compensation.
2. You approached the meeting with a view of offering to buy out our membership, rather than to pay any
3. Your various buyout offers were on terms less favourable to ourselves than those discussed with your firm in
early 2013. ln particular whilst the fee split discussed in 2013 was 50/50, your recent offer dropped to 90/10 in
It was pointed out to you; the change in our firm’s circumstances with primari[ caused by your firm’s Ethics
breaching recruitment of our members, and the crisis of confidence amongst them in trade pounds generally due
to the lavish way Bartercard have given its away.
4. You maintain that you were unaware that your firm was actively and repeatedly breaching IRTA’s code of ethics
during 2013 when recruiting Satachi members. You stated that Nick Whitford did so without your authority (despite
correspondence issued in your name which suggests othenruise.) However, you said on discovering what Nick was
doing you dismissed him for the Ethics breaches (and other matters).
5. You informed us that no further similar breaches of the IRTA Code via Stuart Leopold / your firm, had taken
place since end of December 2013. Further you explained you personally interviewed and instructed Stuart to
desist once you became aware of the situation. Yet despite Stuart Leopold being the ‘man on the ground ‘ who
enacted the breaches he remains in post.
6. lt was interesting for us to note that unusually Stuart Leopold paid no fs sterling to become a local Business
Development Consultant (BDC). You stated he is paying off his BDC fee in Bartercard fs as he earns them. Some
might wonder if the special ‘no money down’ terms granted to Stuart were because he offered, or your firm
encouraged him, to bring on Satachi members, in the ethics code breaching manner he did. (At this point I reserve
the right at a later date to bring out to IRTA; the misleading inaccuracies in the way your firm reported events
leading up to Stuarts appointment with yourselves).
7.You are unwilling to reverse the free memberships, and positive balances paid to our members to join
Bartercard, and continue to derive ongoing financial benefits from their monthly and trade fees.
8. Again for the record; you say Bartercard have apologised (in writing) to IRTA for the breaches, albeit we have
seen no evidence of this. At our first meeting you suggested if we pressed our claim “the worst IRTA would do is
to give us [Bartercard]a slap on the wrist”” At our most recent meeting (18.06.14) when we explicitly reiterated our
objection to the way you have attacked our membership. Your response was to suggest we were being
“emotional”, and that “you I I ] need to accept this is what happens in real life, and move on”. Considering this
altogether surprising statement of yours, some might be inclined to think your firm’s apology to IRTA was a selfserving
corporate statement lacking any sincerity.
9 l politely request that at your next weekly board meeting; you urge the members to authorise you to settle our
claim for compensation forthwith, in full, in the amount of f20,000 (as discussed at our meeting of 22.05.14. This
sum being t4,750less than our claim to IRTA). We cannot accept your assertion that Bartercard simply hasn’t the
ability to pay the sum requested, and site the f2 million + value of your 2012-2013 balance sheet. You indicated
that funds were elsewhere within an associated structure. This being the case we have no objections as to how
compensation is channelled to us.
10. Should the board unwisely not support your representations I will not hesitate to vigorously press our claim
with IRTA, with a view ultimately to Bartercard UK’s expulsion from that organisation. We believe IRTA’s decision
should be widely circulated as a signpost to all, that IRTA is a responsible professional body, dedicated to
upholding the high standards it sets for it’s membership. To positively enhance its positioning as a regulatory body,
it would be in IRTA’s subscription interests to ensure their judgement reaches well beyond its membership, to
other groups and non aligned exchanges.
Hopefully your board will see the benefits of settling with us without delay.
I look fonvard to your response. However I shall immediately and without further notice re-engage with IRTA if I do
not have an acceptable reply from you in the next fourteen days.
SatachiTrade Bank Ltd
Ref Point 3- para 2 above;
Overallthe damage to Satachi’s business has been very considerable. This has lead to an ongoing and total
restructure of the business.
Ref Point 5 above;
On 1st Juiy of this year Bartercard recruited another Satachi member (see attached email) using the same
balance matching , cost free joining method as formed the basis of my Complaint. This rather starkly sets the lie to
what Simon Barker would in contrast have myself and your Ethics Committee believe. (Simon Barkers email of
Ref Point 6 above;
Regarding the misleading inaccuracies in the way Simon Barker firm reported events leading up to Stuart
Leopold’s appointment with Bartercard.
Simon Barker stated in an email received by, and widely circulated by Ron Whitney (on Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 8:13
PM) referring to the early negotiations for purchase of Satachi by Bartercard which ended unsuccessfully on
“After much deliberation Scott decided he was not interested in Bartercard’s offer and we ceased further
negotiations. Some weeks later Bartercard UK was contacted by Stuart Leopold who, by that time, had resigned
from Satachi. All contact between Stuart Leopold and Satachi had already been terminated “.
The truth is that Sussex Barter Ltd, was formed six months later on 24.09.13. The sole director of which was and
is Stuart Leopold. Whereas far from “All contact between Stuart Leopold and Satachi had already been
terminated” Stuart did not resign from Satachi until two days later on the 26.09.13.
lf indeed Stuart and Simon Barker were in contact from a few weeks after negotiations ceased then some might
wonder what degree of collusion / business espionage took place between those two, in the six months leading to
Stuart’s resignation. I have recently been informed by an unimpeachable source, that Stuart accepted an offer
from Bartercard, (rather than the other way around). The clear implication is that Bartercard initiated Stuart’s
recruitment, which again is in stark contrast with Simon Barker’s version of events. I have to wonder if this is
merely extremely poor recall on Simon’s behalf, or is it perhaps a very convenient re-working of the facts to
minimise third party criticism?
Ref Point B above;
Please can I see have a copy of Bartercard’s apology as none has been provided to me.
Ref Point 9 above;
Bartercard have signed 3Sappx Satachi members. Each signed in Breach of IRTA’s Code of Ethics.
The likely revenue to Bartercard* from these members (since October 2013) is as follows:-
35 (Members) x f24.99 (Monthly fee; = f874.65 per month x 10 months = f8,746.500
.At the first of my two recent meetings with Simon Barker he stated Bartercard receives an average revenue per
member / month, of
Tt1,000 x 5.5% Cash fee.
Therefore 35 (Members) x f55 (Transaction fee) = f.1 ,925 per month x 10 months = f 19,250.00
I must stress that the figures above are based on Simon Barker / Barterard’s numbers not mine.
Not factored in is the lifetime value of those 35 members. The revenue from which is conservatively over the next
few years likely to exceed. t100,000
As I am sure you will appreciate, for Bartercard to suggest they do not the ability to pay compensation having
already collected t28,000 apox. is more a matter of ‘won’t pay’than ‘can’t pay’. This is entirely unacceptable
position for them to adopt.
I had repeatedly asked Ron \|/hitney the following questions without response.
a) The specific timetable as to when IRTA will conclude it’s investigation (albeit it has now re-started)
b) Whether or not Bartercard UK have been asked or directed to desist from approaching Satachi members whilst
my complaint was / is under investigation, and if so on what date?
As a matter of courtesy and to show goodwill please would you, or the person now responsible for my complaint
please answer questions a) and b) in the next seven working days.
Were it to be that IRTA should find itseif unable to hold a rogue member to account regarding the New Member
Sign-Ups – Unfair Competition provisions; as a consequence should these specific principals be deleted from its
Ethics and By Laws, as they hold out a protection to Barter exchanges that in reality does not exist?
I also look forward to an early response and resolution to all the matters raised by this email.
SatachiTrade Bank Ltd
Summary & Advice
My summary of this matter is:
- Scott Kennedy has been on the end of illegal and immoral practices from Bartercard UK, generated and endorsed by none other then it’s country CEO.
- Bartercard admitted that the crimes were done and failed to rectify the matter. They will surely be legally liable for all lossess incurred. All Satachi needs to do is file a court case and Bartercard is toast. They may be able to argue the extent of the losses but not the fact that it occurred. As Scott Kennedy said to me, “Dennis, it’s like a burglar saying, ‘Oh yes we’re sorry we took the jewels but we’ll keep them thanks!'” I’d say and the Police officers nodding their heads while it all happened because they all drank at the pub together! It’s DOWNRIGHT DISGUSTING and a total blight on the industry.
- IRTA not only failed to declare their clear conflict of interest with a private deal under way with Bartercard (which certainly makes them criminally liable for that deception) but their Executive (Annette Riggs and Ron Whitney) showed callous disregard for their own Ethics procedure and the welfare of a business that paid it money for a professional service it failed to deliver, clearly due to an undeclared conflict of interest.
- Nobody ever, should attempt to take any matter to IRTA that involves an Ethics complaint with Bartercard, for they too will likely be pushed around for many months, treated like second-class citizens and as we all know now thanks to Simon Barkers reported confession here, IRTA will simply slap Bartercard on the wrist due to their ‘close’ relationship. IRTA has no credibility with their shonky deal with Bartercard.
UPDATE October 2014: IRTA’s Ethics Committee found Bartercard guilty. I hvae a copy of a letter from IRTA to Satachi advising that Bartercard was found guilty of one aspect of the Code of Ethics. This was posted on an obscure section of the IRTA website without any direct reference to the Bartercard name (simply listed as BC/UK). Satachi has a moral victory. Bartercard has, as bartercard’s CEO rightly predicted, a slap on the wrist!
But IRTA’s conduct was much more than just favouritism, it was collusion at the highest levels and the Board of IRTA should be notifying their indemnity underwriters forthwith, for the moment that Scott Kennedy from Satachi finds out that while his exchange was being decimated by Bartercard they were actually stiching up a secret deal with IRTA, they will be top candidates for legal action.
Personally I’m beyond disgusted with both Bartercard and IRTA . . . but a lot of that is because I still have much more to reveal about this crooked IRTA Executive. My next post will really put the pidgeons to flight however as I expose corruption and irregularities in Universal Currency, the flagship of the IRTA organisation. Not everything is as it seems and there are some serious skeletons in the closet that will likely have heads rolling. Stay tuned while I prepare the figures for your good reading pleasure.
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