Victory For Man Who Took Cold Caller To Court
A businessman plagued by nuisance phone calls offering compensation for Payment Protection Insurance has secured £220 in an out-of-court settlement.
Richard Herman, 53, was so fed up with the unwanted calls arriving from India, he decided to take matters into his own hands.
He warned the company that, in future, he would invoice them £10 for every minute of his time they used.
When the calls continued he began recording them before finally invoicing the company £195 for their use of his "time, telephone and electricity".
Upon receipt of the invoice the marketing firm acting on behalf of UK-based PPI Claimline Ltd, denied making the calls. When Mr Herman revealed he had recorded evidence, they still refused to pay.
But when Mr Herman filed a claim in the small claims court for the unpaid invoice - plus £25 in costs - the company offered to settle the debt out of court and transferred £220 into his bank account.
Mr Herman said: "I kept being called, as we all do, and I thought the only way for them to stop would be for me to speak to them and say, 'For goodness sake, take me off your list!'
"Then it occurred to me to tell them that if they call again I'll charge for my time. When they continued calling I sent them an invoice for 19.5 minutes."
To encourage others to do the same Mr Herman has set up a website with examples of covering letters and invoices to send to nuisance callers.
Even though the validity of Mr Herman's original invoice was not tested in court, he believes anyone who warns cold-calling companies they will be charged if they call, have a right to invoice them.
"I did business studies at 17 and studied 'offer-and-acceptance' so I knew a verbal contract is just as valid as a written one but harder to prove.
"The recorded calls proved I did tell them I would charge for my time if they called again".
Mr Herman, who works in the telephone industry selling call-recording equipment, said his action was a last resort after asking the Information Commissioner and the Telephone Preference Service for help.
In a statment, PPI Claimline said: "We would like to stress that all our supplier relationships are subject to strict contractual provisions requiring full compliance with all relevant regulations, including those which relate to data protection and the telephone preference service.
"We would like to draw a clear line between the two calls to Mr Herman made on behalf of PPI Claimline and any other calls he received, which were nothing to do with PPI Claimline or its suppliers."