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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71048
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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In 2010 a charity from Manchester call centre contacted me

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In 2010 a charity from Manchester call centre contacted me to advertise in their children's for special needs magazine which I agreed to and gave them personal details including a pass word, they said some one will contact me in about 30 min to take payment. I took a call and they asked the same questions as previously to confirm it's me they are talking too. This happened four times. I later found out that the first caller passed on my details to a second and so on eventually I owed four company's the same amount of money £149.00 which I payed as they said I had made a verbal agreement with them it's all on tape if I don't I will be blacklisted. The following year they did the same trIck and I fell for it again. Last year a Mr Patterson a debt collected contacted me and explained how these company's work and as far as they said it's not illegal. So I paid the £149. Yesterday another debt collector contacted me saying I owe £149. And I must pay or I will be black listed and sued. I need to know if this is legal what they have done and I have to pay. Gina
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Are you asking if you are liable?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Did you agree to a contract over the phone with the client of this particular debt collector?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
They apparently say I did as all my details were passed on to them from the previous caller which I did not realised they did. It seems that one caller passes on my details to another and makes you believe it's the first caller checking they have the proper details once you agree they are it's a verbal agreement
So did you agree ?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
If repeating the question a second time thinking it was the first caller agreeing, than I must have done
Thanks for the information and the time.
I am sorry but I cannot give you good news then. I’m afraid you are in difficulty here.
There are potentially data protection act complaints in selling your information in this way. You could complain about that in relation to the first company to the Information Commissioner.
However, that does nothing about the fact that you do seem to accept that you have entered into a contract with the second. If so, in legal theory you are bound by it.
You could always try to rely on the defence of mistake. A contract can be voided under common law rules for mistake in the following situations:
Common mistake (where the mistake is shared by both parties, is fundamental and directly affects the basic definition of what the parties are contracting for). The mistake will render the contract void if it robs it of all substance.
Mutual mistake (where the parties are at cross-purposes with one another). If, from the parties’ words and conduct, only one possible interpretation of what was agreed can be deduced, the contract will still be valid. Otherwise it will be void.
Unilateral mistake (where one party is mistaken and the other knows or ought to have known of the mistake). If the mistake relates to the fundamental nature of the offer the contract can be voided.
Your only realistic argument above is unilateral mistake.
But for this sum of money they are very unlikely to sue you anyway. Its not worth the manpower. That is why you are dealing with debt collectors not solicitors.
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.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Do you feel I should pay up to save my very good credit score as I don't want to loos it
You will not affect your credit rating by not paying a debt collection agency.
Its only if they go to court and get a CCJ and you still don't pay.
Personally I wouldn't pay it if the facts are as you say but I suppose it depends on your appetite for risk. The worst that will happen is that you will go to court and be ordered to pay the sum in question plus about £35 in costs.
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