A British man who was tired of being harassed by telemarketers decided to bill the company for wasting his time.
Richard Herman told BBC Radio he is listed with the Telephone Preference Service — the British answer to America's Do Not Call List — so was more than peeved when he kept receiving cold calls from shady marketers looking to help him with his accident compensation claim or his payment protection insurance reimbursement — particularly since he needed neither.
He confronted one of the companies, PPI Claimline, and told them to take him off their list or he would start charging them £10 per minute if they called back.
But the calls kept coming, and Herman made good on his threat, sending the company two invoices that were initially ignored.
The company eventually sent Herman a letter saying they were not the ones calling him — rather, it was a third party marketing company called AAC which is in the business of doing "introductions" on behalf of other firms.
AAC denied having Herman's information on file, but a secret recording the Middlesex man of the unsolicited call proved otherwise.
Herman sued the company in small claims court and won. AAC was ordered to compensate Herman for 19.5 minutes of his time as well as cover any legal fees he incurred during the trial.
"It cheered me up to think that actually instead of being the victim of these calls I can actually defend myself against them to put the boot onto the other foot," Herman told the BBC.
AAC and PPI Claimline apologized to Herman for calling him despite his request to have his number removed, but said he likely consented to the call when he neglected to untick a certain box when visiting an unspecified website.
The Telephone Preference Service says it would still be illegal for AAC to ring Herman up, as he would have to have given "specific consent for a named company to contact him."