Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Bombarded with nuisance telephone calls?

Everyone at one time or another has experienced the frustration of cold calling. The majority of people will experience this and in the event that it is a one off, or from various different companies, this may be easily ignored. So what is the position where you experience relentless calls which can be considered to be aggressive in nature? The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 states that a person must not pursue a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another and which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment. So what is harassment? Harassment is deliberate conduct directly against another person or other people which attains a certain level of severity or if it is of such gravity to justify the sanctions of criminal law.

Dispute Resolution Solicitors of Hertford
Article by Lucy Walpole
These cases are not uncommon and the courts have recognised in Majrowski v Guy’s and Thomas’s NHS Trust [2006] that a case for harassment, the boundary between ‘conduct which is unattractive, even unreasonable, and conduct which is oppressive and unacceptable’ needs to be recognised. The important point to consider with any civil claim is whether the court is likely to take the view that the level of contact was reasonable in the circumstances. Take for instance a client of a bank who owes money. The judgment in the key case of Roberts v Bank of Scotland PLC [2013] provided that the bank was entitled to contact their client to ‘seek a mutually acceptable resolution of the problem’ but that the mere existence of a debt ‘does not give the creditor the right to bombard the debtor with endless and repeated telephone calls’. In this case, Ms Roberts was awarded a sum of £7,500.00 in damages for the harassment caused as a result of repeated phone calls. 

Solicitors of HertfordConsidering the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, ‘the person whose course of conduct is in question ought to know that it amounts to harassment of another if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct amounted to harassment of another’. Therefore, you must consider the personal situation of each case. They provided in Roberts, that the context includes ‘the identity of the person receiving the call, in this case a single lady with some financial problems, receiving calls on her private phone at home, sometimes in the evening.’ The court would also need to consider the ‘state of account between the parties, the state of the correspondence and the respondent’s declared wish not to enter into discussions with the bank.’

If you have suffered a bombardment of nuisance telephone calls, you may be able to bring a civil action if you have suffered as a result. Damages and compensation may be awarded for (among other things) any anxiety caused by the harassment and any financial loss resulting from the harassment.

There are three broad bands of compensation available for injury to feelings, as distinct from compensation for psychiatric or similar personal injury. The bracket in which each claim falls depends on the facts of each individual circumstance. The highest bracket will only be awarded in serious cases where there has been a lengthy campaign of discriminatory harassment on the grounds of sex or race. The middle bracket would be used for all other cases that are considered serious but do not fall under the grounds of sex or race. The lowest bracket is for less serious cases where the act of discrimination is an isolated or one off occurrence.

If you or anyone you know are experiencing a bombardment of phone calls from a bank or other organisation and you think you would benefit from quality legal advice please contact Lucy Walpole on 01992 422 128 or by email to
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Solicitor in Hertford

Tel: 01992 422 128

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.


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