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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71042
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have been accused on the telephone of setting up a direct

Customer Question

I have been accused on the telephone of setting up a direct debit payment, which I have not done. I cannot set up a direct debit as it is not allowed by the direct debit law, and my bank would certainly not do it. I have further been told that I have not given details of my VISA card in order to pay my annual subscription to English Heritage.

I have written and complained to the Membership and Customer Service Manager, but to date with no response. What more can I do as I have been accused falsely twice?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

What action are you hoping to take over this? About what exactly and against whom?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I simply want an apology because in my opinion I have been slandered, which is totally unacceptable.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Is the essence of this that somebody has said this to you over the phone but you have no evidence its been repeated to anybody else?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

When I telephoned to say I was cancelling the direct debit payment I was transferred to another party, who made the false accusations. I can only presume that the first party overheard the conversation.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

I'm really sorry but this is not a defamatory statement.

I'm afraid I am not sure that an allegation that you set up a direct debit payment amounts to a defamatory one anyway. It is not really sufficient to reduce you in the minds of reasonable people as the test requires.

In any event though, this statement was not made publicly enough to be defamation. Defamation does not arise in making an untrue statement. It arises if a person makes an untrue statement sufficiently publicly to damage another's reputation. Obviously some allegations are so outrageous that they only need to be said within the earshot of one person. However, saying that you set up a direct debit is not and anyway there is no evidence that anybody heard at all.

You can complain and demand an apology of course.

Its not a good idea to sue on this point of principle though. You will end up paying their costs which will be a bitter pill to swallow after their behaviour hitherto.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.