Banks Beware

Picture of Say No to CallsA salutary lesson was handed down by the Court of Appeal last week in Roberts v Bank of Scotland plc [2013] 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.



Filed under Cases, Harassment

7 responses to “Banks Beware

  1. Pingback: Banks Beware 2 | Chop the Knot

    • Nick Hanning

      As Jon’s blog records, there were several pretty obvious mistakes in the written judgment which probably explains why, today,it has been removed from BAILII for correction!

      As soon as I know it is back I’ll amend the link as it is a very useful analysis of relevant law.

    • Nick Hanning

      Many thanks Jon. I’ve added the link and changed the case reference. Good Judgment and I’m a big fan of Jackson LJ’s practice in structuring his judgments. Helpful and clear.

  2. Amanda Roberts

    I thought that harassment could not be heard as a criminal offence in a civil court.
    If the court thought the harassment was capable of a criminal judgement, could this be looked at again by the court?

    • Nick Hanning

      The position is that the PHA makes harassment both a crime and a tort.
      A criminal prosecution would be brought by the CPS and be considered in a criminal court (magistrates’ or Crown Court).
      An individual may also bring a claim in tort which is a civil claim and so is brought in the county court or the High Court.
      Not quite sure what is meant by ‘looked at again’. If one court has made a decision this cannot usually be reviewed except by way of an appeal (which must be brought within prescribed time limits).
      If new evidence has come to light which could not have been obtained at the time of the original decision then there may be scope to review but not easy.

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