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Informed company would charge for dealing with further correspondence - Small claims?

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  • Informed company would charge for dealing with further correspondence - Small claims?

    Background: Having used the services of a company, when we came to cancel they said they would hold us to an agreement we had originally made over the phone and would have to pay a cancellation charge. Having had no previous knowledge of this agreement I requested a copy of the recording and having listened to it, they have absolutely no leg to stand on. Basically what they said we agreed to was not mentioned at any time on the recording of the call. We therefore declined to pay their cancellation charge and they started sending us regular demands by post.

    Eventually I wrote back to them explaining why we were not agreeing to pay their cancellation charges. In the letter I informed them that if they sent any further correspondence they would be entering in to an agreement that meant I would charge them 50 as an administration charge for each letter they sent and I had to deal with. Letters continued to come and each time I wrote back to them, referring to the previous letter and enclosed an "invoice" for the 50. We're up to 3 so far.

    Originally I hoped it would just be a deterrent. But now I am considering the possibility of making a small claim. Is there a possibility I may "win" or is this not really worth pursuing any further?

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by elephantintheroom; 20th April 2017, 15:43:PM. Reason: spelling
    Tags: None

  • #2
    Re: Informed company would charge for dealing with further correspondence - Small cla

    Interesting question, I remember some years ago that someone issued a claim against a cold calling company charging something like 10 for each call, they then eventually settled the matter so it didn't get as far as court.

    My personal view is that it might be difficult to prove that that the services company agreed to pay the 50 each time they contacted you, because they will probably argue there is a genuine reason for it i.e. claiming a cancellation charge. What you could probably argue is that if their demands for the cancellation fee is wholly unwarranted, you could argue that there is a harassment by them, of which you have charged them 50 for your time to respond. Perhaps there is an argument on vicarious liability too but that would also depend on the circumstances.

    Would you be awarded 50 for each letter sent? Depends how nice the judge is feeling, if the demands are causing you stress and nuisance and is oppressive an unacceptable then the judge may give you that amount, or a lesser sum and/or an injunction if you asked for it.

    It also depends on the time between each letter being sent, is it every week or two, or every month, or every few months? The longer the gap between the letters the less likely a harassment has taken place.

    Unjustified issue of a claim may also amount to a harassment.

    All in all, it would be prudent to send them a letter before action citing harassment and/or vicarious liability before you issued a claim, to comply with pre-action protocols.

    I am sure others may have a different view on this
    DISCLAIMER: ANY CONTENT I POST IS INTENDED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT A REPLACEMENT OR SUBSTITUTION FOR LEGAL ADVICE. I MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS AS TO THE ACCURACY OF MY POSTS NOR DO I ASSUME ANY RESPONSIBILITY. USE OF ANY CONTENT IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK AND COST AND I ACCEPT NO LIABILITY. YOU SHOULD SEEK INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE BY GOING TO Law Society's Find A Solicitor OR CONTACT YOUR LOCAL Citizen's Advice Bureau.

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    • #3
      Re: Informed company would charge for dealing with further correspondence - Small cla

      Thanks for your reply [MENTION=71570]R0b[/MENTION].

      I'm certain I could argue that their demands are unwarranted but I wouldn't go as far as calling it harassment at this stage (1 letter a month). Perhaps stupidly on my part its all about the principle and a way to punish their lies and deceit, I'm not fussed about the money. I probably should have 'charged' a lower amount than the 50 but at the time I was hoping it would just be a deterrent.

      I would definitely send a LBA first but will think on it a little longer for now.

      Thanks again.

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      • #4
        Re: Informed company would charge for dealing with further correspondence - Small cla

        For harassment there needs to be at least two occasions, there have been a case or two that letters 3 months apart have been held to amount to harassment. Again its all dependent on the circumstances, and the criteria is not just distress but also alarm too and potentially other means which could amount to harassment. If the services company is claiming that a cancellation charge is required and basing their claim on a telephone call which you say was never mentioned then their repeated demand for payment albeit a month apart, could be deemed harassment.

        Thinking about it further, there may also be an argument that their demands could amount to an aggressive commercial practice which is contrary to the Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

        If you receive another letter, you could make it quite clear (without claiming it as an LBA) that their demands are groundless and without merit and that you consider their repeated demand for payment as harassment and if they continue to send any further letters then you will consider issuing a claim without further notice. You then wouldn't need to send an LBA because they are already on notice of your intention if they persist.

        If the services company is regulated by an Ombudsman then that could also be another route you may want to go down and seek a small compensation amount for nuisance and/or inconvenience at the very least.
        DISCLAIMER: ANY CONTENT I POST IS INTENDED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT A REPLACEMENT OR SUBSTITUTION FOR LEGAL ADVICE. I MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS AS TO THE ACCURACY OF MY POSTS NOR DO I ASSUME ANY RESPONSIBILITY. USE OF ANY CONTENT IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK AND COST AND I ACCEPT NO LIABILITY. YOU SHOULD SEEK INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE BY GOING TO Law Society's Find A Solicitor OR CONTACT YOUR LOCAL Citizen's Advice Bureau.

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        • #5
          Re: Informed company would charge for dealing with further correspondence - Small cla

          Thanks @R0b, that's great advice. I will see if they send anything else and take it from there.

          There is no Ombudsman for this company unfortunately.
          Last edited by elephantintheroom; 25th April 2017, 14:15:PM. Reason: typo

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