You dial the number and inwardly groan (or outwardly shout) when you get the all-too expected/dreaded message: ‘push one for accounts, push two for new’…etc.

This was a slightly different complaint in that all Malcolm Thompson was trying to do was to get a new paying-in book and cheque book for his Premier store in Darlington.

He had been ringing the Co-operative Bank every day for the past six weeks. The answering service says it will be with him in three minutes, but after waiting for 15-30 minutes he gives up. He needs the books because he pays cash into the post office which is handily located on his premises and then transfers it to the Co-op Bank (there is no clearance waiting time) and then deposits it with NatWest.

He couldn’t understand why the bank didn’t automatically send him new books when he was getting near the end of his existing ones. He would go and get them himself, but the bank doesn’t have many actual branches left and none near Malcolm. Although he had a few more cheques and paying-in slips left he was getting a bit worried about time running out when he rang me.

I contacted Co-op Bank and they sent me a link and a list of service requests you can make if you are a user of online banking without having to phone. The list included those Malcolm requires.

Malcolm says he doesn’t do online banking because he doesn’t trust it - a friend of his lost thousands owing to online activity.

However, simple solution. Just set up an account online and use it to order supplies. Co-op won’t mind.