My widowed uncle is receiving palliative care for brain cancer and is no longer able to handle his affairs.
His daughter had power of attorney (POA) but she died of cancer last year, and the rapid decline in his health left no time for me to become the replacement guardian.
The issue is, he has a funeral plan that is paid by direct debit from his bank account every month, and will be voided if we miss a payment.
Because he no longer has money coming into his account, I have been trying to stop all other payments to ensure it remains in credit. But without POA his bank won’t let me manage direct debits, or even tell me his balance.
I have been approaching companies, working out who’s who from one of his old bank statements, and have been able to stop payments for his TV, phone and internet services with no problems and much sympathy.
In fact, everyone has been helpful except Camelot despite explaining that the monthly £18 could empty his account and affect his funeral plan.
Staff say it cannot be cancelled because of “data protection” and wouldn’t even tell me if his account was active, which could have saved a lot of anguish.
I offered to forward his hospital report but it would not accept this and wanted to speak to him directly. It suggested I pay money into the account to cover it.
I am prepared to meet payments for the funeral plan but not for lottery tickets.
You were understandably very upset by the way the national lottery operator dealt with this and say that, in contrast, you were able to shut his Postcode Lottery account with one phone call. In the end you were able to log on to your uncle’s online account and cancel the payments yourself.
Camelot says: “We’re really sorry AG didn’t have a good experience, especially given the difficult circumstances. There are obviously checks and processes to which we have to adhere to ensure that, with millions of national lottery players, we only follow the instructions of the correct account holder.
“However, an exception should clearly have been made on this occasion, and we’re very sorry that her case wasn’t handled more appropriately. We have written to apologise, and will learn from this and aim to do better in the future.”
We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions