Both this piece and the one following concern direct debit mandates and both are about Camelot. To start at the end, they both got sorted quite rapidly after Convenience Store intervened.

Shirish Chotai (Foundry Lane Foodmarket) sent me a copy of a formal complaint he had made to Camelot. His frustration centred around Camelot not taking its payments. His wife, Arvinda, notified the lottery operator that three payments had not been taken. She was told that as soon as a payment is missed the terminal would be blocked… but the system had not flagged up a problem of any sort.

The bank confirmed that the direct debit was fully active. She rang Camelot again and while they were talking, the terminal was blocked.

“While we were still on the phone, we made the payment online to Camelot which was confirmed as received. Out terminal was subsequently unlocked,” says Shirish in his letter to Camelot.

“Each time we had to phone Camelot we had to wait at least 20 minutes to get through to someone. It should not have been our job to chase them to take their payments.”

Then in April the company again failed to take its money.

Shirish said: “As you can see this has been going on for a while and I have yet to receive any response, or any attempt to reinstate my payments. My rep has emailed and called several different people with no luck - if she can’t get through, what hope do I have?”

As I said at the beginning, after a couple of days and it was sorted. A spokeswoman said: “We’ve spoken to the retailer and let him know that his direct debit is up and running, and we will continue to collect from his account weekly. We’ve apologised for the miscommunication and any confusion or frustration it may have caused.”

Read on for instalment two.