A woman who took a case for harassment against British Gas has won a settlement from the company. One legal expert said that the case should act as a warning to all firms to make sure their debt collection and complaint handling operations communicate.
Lisa Ferguson took the energy giant to court over a string of threatening letters she received demanding payment of gas bills that she was not responsible for. Ferguson had switched suppliers but continued to receive demands and threats from British Gas for eight months.
Ferguson repeatedly wrote to the company and telephoned it to inform it that she had switched suppliers. She wrote to the company's chairman but received no reply and alerted the energy watchdog to her plight.
Even when British Gas employees told her that the matter was settled and the activity would stop, the letters and threats kept coming. Ferguson runs her own property investment business and was told that the failure to pay the bills would affect her credit rating.
Ferguson took a case claiming that British Gas's behaviour was unlawful under the Protection from Harassment Act, which created a civil and a criminal offence of harassment.
Read all about it here:http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/26/debt_collection/
and read the judgement here:http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2009/46.html