Big corporate bookmakers pick on a grandma

The story:

I am a grandmother, minding my 4 year old granddaughter fulltime including every Saturday. I have had a account for some number of years (I guess it is at least 7 years but Betfred cannot confirm this for me – further below). I use this account to place scoop 6 bets on Saturday mornings and the odd placepot/jackpot. I live in **************** ****** ********* are the only bookmakers who take scoop6 bets but I am not allowed to take my granddaughter into their shops and hence the only way I can place a scoop6 bet is with I do 2 or 3 x £2 scoop6 bets every week, very rarely the odd £4 bet but nearly always for £2. The scoop6 was operating every day of the Aintree festival and on Thursday 7 April I logged in and could not place complete the £2 bet – I got the message ‘unit stake is over the maximum allowed’. I got in touch with Betfred support who asked me to try a number of things and could not explain what was causing this – I have correspondence attached. This problem was still there on the Friday and on the Saturday, and for the whole of Aintree I could not place a scoop6 bet. I eventually got an email on 9 April at 14:55 telling me that a restriction had been placed on my account following a recent review of my account (email also attached). I requested an explanation but got a reply saying that they can’t discuss it any further. I asked them for a statement for the last year and how long I had been a customer. They told me they could only provide this information if I sent them a ‘subject access’ letter and enclosed £10. However I can see my history on their website for the last year and can only see small scoop6 bets placed. I thought someone may have accessed my account unknown to me and used it in some suspicious way but cannot see any evidence of this. I am now in a position where I can no longer place my scoop6 bet on a Saturday morning. My routine on Saturdays was to buy the Racing Post, go through the races, pick my selections, do my bet online and then get on with the morning looking after my granddaughter, then settle down to watch the racing in the afternoon. I cannot explain how upset I am with this. They have not only taken away the enjoyment of the day I looked forward to all week, but have made me feel ashamed and humiliated, as if I had been accused of theft or fraud. I strongly feel that Betfred should be obliged to supply an explanation of what was discovered on my account that would cause this restriction. It is a myth that they don’t restrict £2 punters as you can see. I cannot be refused alcohol in a pub without a valid reason, and can demand such, but bookmakers seem to be outside the laws of discrimination and also seem be the only commercial enterprise who treat their customers with such disdain. You can publish my name if you wish.

The outcome:

Betfred/Totesport customer service staff flatly refused to provide any further information, because that is how they are trained, if person is deemed as ‘not wanted’, so ‘Justice for Punters’ drafted a letter for ‘our grandma’ to the owner of Betfred/Totesport, which outlined a number of consumer guidelines.  Like the bullies the bookmaking industry is they caved in immediately and opened the account again including £50 in free bets.

Does this case solve the wider problem?  Of course not, customers are deemed as ‘not wanted’, with no reason given, every single day of the year.


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