Photo: Flickr / splorp
Richard Herman, 53, was so upset with firms phoning him up and trying to sell him goods and services he decided to charge them for the time they took out of his day.He recorded the calls and then sent an invoice charging £10 for every minute he spent on the phone.
When they refused to pay up he sued them at the small claims court and won.
The marketing company AAC agreed to pay the full £195 for 19-and-a-half minutes of calls, plus a £25 court fee.
Mr Herman told the Daily Mail: “I was feeling oppressed that I was getting called by these companies.
“Once I sent the company the invoice, I felt as though the boot was on the other foot. I wasn’t the victim any more.”
The victory could open the floodgates to further claims from the millions of homeowners plagued by similar unwanted calls.
Mr Herman is urging others targeted by cold-callers to follow his example.
The nuisance calls tried to convince Mr Herman that they can secure thousands of pounds in refunds of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), insurance that’s supposed to cover debts if you fall ill or cannot work.
They tried to get hold of his personal details then pass them on to companies desperate to grab a share of a £9 billion compensation pot made available after Britain’s banks were found to have routinely mis-sold PPI.
The claims firms typically take a third of the compensation paid out.
This means they stand to make £80 million this year from a record 165,000 complaints about PPI.
Mr Herman, of Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, described the disruption caused to him and wife Ruth, 67, as they rushed to answer the phone so as not to miss a chat with friends or their three grown-up children.
Mr Herman said: “Once I was out in the garden eating and picking raspberries and had the telephone with me in case the children called.
“I was sat in the sun enjoying myself but one of these blasted companies called me – it was infuriating.
“We’re all busy rushing around all day long, so when we snatch four minutes by ourselves for a bit of peace and quiet, the last thing you want is to be intruded upon by these irrelevant companies.”
The marketing firm AAC, which made the call on PPI’s behalf, settled Mr Herman’s claim on September 14 before the case appeared before a judge.
Mr Herman has now set up a website – www.saynotocoldcalls.com – to help other victims.