Every direction looks like a dead end for Kanagaratnam Naresh. ‘Kay’, as he is known, runs Green Lane Post Office in Thornton Heath, Surrey. Five years ago he installed a free-to-use hole-in-the-wall ATM. As the PO had no machine available he went for a Bank Machine, now operating as Cashzone.

When the five years were up and the PO offered him a Bank of Ireland machine he readily signed up for it. He quit his Cashzone contract, which expired last month, via email last September and asked for confirmation – it was not forthcoming.

Cashzone has now informed Kay that he could only serve notice in the last three months and only by post, so he had been rolled over for three years. They would not remove the machine until he coughed up £18,000+ in back-dated business rates.

“Why didn’t they tell me that? They are making it my only option to stay with them.” He also doesn’t understand the ratings system. “It’s my bit of pavement so why is the council charging?”

He consulted the NFRN legal team, but they said they couldn’t help – there will be a line in the contract even if it had been written before the government decided to tax ATMs and even though ATMs replace an untaxed service previously offered by banks. The Bank of Ireland machine does not attract rates.

And he still has to contend with the new contract he signed through the PO three months ago.

Has anyone else been banjaxed with a bill like this?