A salutary lesson was handed down by the Court of Appeal last week in Roberts v Bank of Scotland plc  EWCA Civ 882 when it upheld a decision that excessive calls about an overdraft amounted to harassment.
The bank wanted to speak to Ms Roberts as she had exceeded her overdraft or credit limit. She did not want to speak to them and asked them to stop calling.The bank refused and continued to call or attempt to call her to an extraordinary degree.
Between December 2007 and May 2008, the bank made or attempted to make 547 telephone calls about her accounts.
Upholding the County Court judgment that those calls amounted to harassment, the Court of Appeal said the existence of a debt did not give a lender the right to bombard the debtor with calls. It was for the debtor to decide whether to discuss the matter with the creditor.
Ms Roberts had made it perfectly clear that she had not wanted to speak to the bank, and she had been perfectly entitled to do so. Once the bank had phoned a few times, it had been clear that no progress was to be made. The judge had been right to characterise the calls as intimidation and they had been wholly unjustified.
The County Court judge had awarded £7,500 in damages and in answer to the bank’s appeal, the Court of Appeal held there was no possible ground for interfering with that assessment.