Is it viable?

Today, after so many occasions refusing it, I went for this so called business presentation. All because my daughter who has just got a part time job as a telemarketeer insisted that I go for this presentation so that she could earn a bit of a commission. So in the blistering rain today we went to Bangsar. I reached the place drenched despite the assistance of an umbrella. The place in Jalan Bangsar looks respectable enough. Maybe to impress sceptical would be customers like me, there were this huge S320 SL and a Perdana V6 parked in front. It was a statement that says “Look , we’ve made it, you better believe us. We are not fly by night people”. I was impressed. The presentation was a typical sales proposition, a real clever one, if not for the stained tea cups, I am tempted to be sucked into it. Ok, let me enlighten you on the proposition. We are invited to invest in the region of Rm20-40K to gain a licence to operate this prepaid top up vending machine. I am sure you have seen this ubiquitous vending machine in places like Pusat Bandar Damansara or university’s college of residences or somewhere near the Indonesian or Bangla kongsi. By paying this licence you have the right to operate this machine that dispense all the local telcos prepaid in RM5, RM10 and RM50 denominations. You can even chose the location to install this machine. As the operator, you have to regularly collect the money from the machine and deposit them into local banks and you have the right to keep 13.8% of the gross collection. According to the presenter, ROI is quite lucarative and can be recovered within a year. So after a year it would be pure profit (well minus a bit of rental, maintenance and insurance). It reminds me of the RO water vending machines. The arm of the company that deals with this thing has been in operation for 8 months and the machines were installed for the last two months. They were quite reluctant to tell me the performance of those who has invested in the past two months.

I have a few queries which the presenter failed to give satisfactory answer:s

i. Why do I have to decide and pay there and then, no grace period or cooling off period – at least give me time to check with the authority regarding the legality of the company.

ii. How fast the machine would go obselete? we have seen many of these type of kiosks which went out of fashion, obsolete, beyond repair within a few months.

iii. What about the legal aspects, licensing, PBT’s permission, etc.

iv. Any hidden charges?

All I get is, “as an investor, you invest and any unforeseen risks you have to bear it”. All very clever is it not? It must be an iron clad money making proposition or else they would not be so smug about it. You have an idea an you do not have funds to pursue it and you asked others to do it for you with minimal risks on your side. I wonder how much that machine actually costs. I am sure if a certain critical numbers is breached, the cost would come down.

I was quite impressed with the success chance but being a government servant and a poor one too. I have to decline, thanks for the tea in that heavily stained cup. Fortunately this is nothing like those scratch and win company.

Two things that warm my heart in that cold and blustery afternoon; one,the technology is local and two, I have in my possession a one night -two -day stay voucher redeemable at a few local hotels. Valid only on weekdays excluding school holidays and public holidays – predictable isn’t it, any takers?

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