This is a short general update as at Q1, 2018 on the Bartercard situation, a Trade Exchange in the advanced stages of demise, wracked with serious problems; including chronic currency devaluation, multiple waves of skilled labour losses, falling membership & turnover, vanishing goodwill, badly cash-strapped and a share-price that has taken a huge whack when one investor got the inside knowledge of fraud within the companies leadership, and another one today when the company announced quitely that [Oh dear!] we lied. Oh and that we’re actually strapped for cash we’ve laid some people off . . . like the rest of the Founding Directors!
ASX:BPS (BPS TEchnologies) is essentially the Bartercard business masquerading as a general technology company. BPS was established as an exit strategy for three directors (owners) of the Bartercard business purchased from the founder Wayne Sharpe at an inflated price. Cobbled together and marketed with a huge dollop of BS, its launch was pre-subscribed by essentially one corporate investor, sucked in by a crooked silent [secret] partner who was on the board of a Pension/Superannuation Fund but actually working FOR the crooks.
Since then one Bartercard/BPS director has bailed with his golden parachute (“Thank you very much!”) – he’s the lucky one. Another has gotten caught with his hands in the till and a ‘deal’ was done to give him the flick (“Bye, bye, Trev!“) and one investor (who as I understand it was unsuccessful in bringing about a change for the better) bailed, thus crashing the ASX:BPS share price to less than half what it was . . . ouch!
Them’s the breaks eh?
Then today their stock market announcement that Bartercard’s owners actually lied, and the rest of these ‘crooks’ have been briefly ‘thanked for their services and then suicided’ and another fall in share value to a third of what it was (33c in the dollar) has been yet more proof that these goons really didn’t get the hang of driving a public company. Caught, red handed, the proof is now out there.
Bartercard has always been desperate for cash, certainly the last decade has seen a lot less of it than they wanted, and now need. Since its inception BPS has borrowed and borrowed and borrowed . . . cash that is, and paid out, paid out and paid out to [you guessed it] the shareholders – themselves of course!
Modus Operandii has been to buy averagely performing technology companies, pump the BS out of the new acquisition and then borrow still more from suckers who will never see any ROI, let alone their investment back. Bartercard is very good at BS talk and has a stunning track record at fleecing suckers out of cash – its members, its staff, its partners and investors. Those who have worked within the organisation all report ethics absent, greed and immorality in the stratosphere . . . the genetics of the company are set from the Board.
Late last year the Board announced layoffs – not directly, but they hinted at overhead reductions. Apparently this is now biting with not only the original directors getting the boot – Head Office staff have been reduced heavily – these people are not particularly happy, dissatisfaction that will filter down through the various branches, staff and to the members. More bad karma!
While it might be too soon to sound the death knell, this repeating story from the last decade has now crystalised into specifics. Maybe gossip, but certainly a good chance of being based on fact, and fitting into the whole scheme of things, the tip is that the stooges at the top have every intention of letting the Bartercard Beast wind down, go into Administration and then to snaffle it up for a song [hint, hint: most likely another prearranged deal]. I can believe this, as this is after all a repeating pattern – strip assets, sell off, strip assets, buy back, BS, BS, BS.
Why Do They Do It?
Never forget this . . . it’s money . . . cash. That’s all!
The question as to how the members can put up with this ongoing nonsense has to be understood by analysing the position they are in. Except for a few smart ones who are on the inside and get the best deals before the general membership hears about them (yes there are tiers of membership that are ‘looked after’ in different ways), most members are caught in either the credit Catch 22 or debit Catch 22.
It’s deliberate – designed and developed very well over time by the crooks who established and have milked the system for years, actually decades.
In the first category a Bartercard member in Credit has usually supplied goods and services to other members, usually at a fair price only to find that (contrary to all the marketing BS) there is “nothing [meaningful/of value] to buy” or that everything is overpriced. The reason for this is that the currency has been devalued (inflation) and this has been the case, getting worse year by year for decades. Bartercard sales people will present the story that “One Bartercard Trade Dollar equals One [Local Currency] Dollar”, and the Bartercard Terms of Trade state this as fact, however we all, in the system, know full well that the Trade Dollar is actually only worth 20c cash in the dollar, if that. Pilfering by the currency owners the primary cause. More members in trade credit than those in trade debit is the proof of the pudding. Hmmm . . . the cookie jar is empty!
Sometimes this can be a HUGE trade credit. I was talking to someone who had a $T7m trade credit in one failed exchange and another
sucker member of another exchange I investigated had a $T2m debit.
When you have a trade credit, it is human nature to keep paying the monthly cash fees because you do not want to take the loss. Bartercard wins! They have the goods AND they keep getting the cash month after month – always remember, it’s all about the cash for these crooks!
Members in Debt also have a huge problem to get out of the trap. They have purchased goods or services from the system but must supply goods or services back into the system or cough up cash to the value of their Trade balance. Make no mistake about this, Bartercard is an aggressive, litigious operation highly skilled in leveraging cash from all or any situation. They are a business and while some individuals within their folds may appear to be polite, kind, helpful and understanding, they work for a company without ethics. The good ones have long gone! The instant they realise that you are about to bail [i.e. that they are going to lose the opportunity to get your cash] they will cease being nice [“So sorry, it is out of my hands”] simply close your account on you, unilaterally and with a million excuses why, they will [again] cash-convert your trade balance into cash. You will be taken to the cleaners, being forced to honour your PG and cough up cash for what you owe ‘them’. Rest assured that while your goods go into the system to be traded with other members all cash will go into THEIR COFFERS!
Always remember . . . and you’ve probably got it by now . . . it’s always about the cash!
In my next post I share the ways that one can tackle court cases fighting Bartercard, detailing the principles that can be used to fight these crooks at their own game, answering a question from a reader. Standby for the juicy bits . . .