Bank's conduct amounted to harassment

The customer (C) had a number of accounts with the Bank of Scotland (the bank). There had been periods when C had exceeded her overdraft/credit card limit by a modest amount. The bank thought it was necessary to contact C by telephone to discuss her accounts.

Original calls to defaulting customers were automated and, when answered, would be transferred to an operative at a call centre. When the bank made calls to C, she made it clear that the calls should stop. But in just more than a year, the bank made 547 calls to C. C commenced proceedings claiming damages from the bank for harassment. The bank claimed that the large number of calls was a reasonable attempt to contact C to discuss her accounts.

C was in breach of her contract with the bank as she had exceeded the permitted indebtedness on her accounts. The bank could therefore sue and withdraw its services. However, a creditor is encouraged to first try and contact the debtor to reach a mutually agreeable solution before commencing proceedings, which is why the bank called C…

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