In the last issue of last year I advised against direct debit failures on the Camelot front, because it appears that the lottery operator will switch you off until your next one goes through. This was a new one on me, but Camelot didn’t exactly confirm that it was a new policy - just that it was policy.

So thanks to Nigel Crocker, who runs Hayes News in Cardiff, who sent me his story. “A few weeks ago our terminal was switched off with no notice from Camelot. When I phoned them they told me it was because our D/D had failed, which I found strange because we use a separate lottery account and I had paid the money in myself the day before the D/D was due to be taken.

“I checked our receipts from the Post Office and they confirmed that the money had been paid in. I phoned Santander and again they confirmed that the balance on the account was more than sufficient to cover the D/D. She did say, however, that for some reason the cash had taken a little longer to clear than usual. (She seemed a bit vague).”

He continues: “I phoned our Camelot rep who confirmed that the new rules state that if a D/D is returned then your terminal will not be switched back on until after the next D/D has been paid.”

He phoned the relevant department at Camelot and was told if he could get Santander to email them confirming that it was their fault, rather than Nigel’s, then they would switch it back on immediately. Santander agreed. “They sent it while I was on the phone and our terminal was put back on. All in all it was off for just over three hours.”

But all was not well, as he adds: “Camelot have now charged me £50 for a failed D/D, which I intend to take up with Santander.”