THE term “punters’ pal” gets bandied around a lot, whether it’s to describe claret-quaffing racing correspondents, or popular jockeys, but in today’s hard-hearted world, there aren’t many avenues whereby the beleagured bettor can find succour, particularly when feeling hard done by at the hands of the bookmakers.

While customer service was once a central pillar of the industry, and excepting the band of on-course layers who continue to abide by such old-fashioned principles, the terms and conditions which the increasing number of online books seek to impose on unsuspecting customers is becoming a scandal.