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TUESDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2024
STORM IN A TEACUP
But I ended up Carter Fucked
By GEORGE DEARSLEY
It’s not every day (thankfully) you receive a letter from Britain’s top libel lawyers Peter Carter Ruck and Partners.
But in 1997 they accused me of defaming their clients Slotz, a leading vending machine company, that I alleged was guilty of duplicitous practices.
I had a whole dossier on this very effective example of high pressure salesmanship. But my error was not to tape record one of its victims, a man called David Dinsmore, bursar of 177-year-old Silcoates School in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
I had thought if you can’t trust a top private school bursar, who can you trust? My career, finances and possibly my marriage were hanging by a thread.
Slotz’s modus operandi was to say to schools, companies, even the police “look you have a lot of people here, and they are all thirsty. We’ll provide machines to sell tea and coffee at X per cent and you can charge your customers full price.”
Innocents like Mr Dinsmore didn’t see the flaw in signing up for a fixed amount of sales. If demand fell, his school stood to be in hock to Slotz for thousands of pounds. And it was.
After my tale hit the Mail on Sunday, Slotz convinced the bursar to revoke his quote that he had been “duped”. In return Slotz agreed to wipe the slate clean and renegotiated its draconian contract with the school.
I wrote to Dinsmore and waited an agonising three days before I got his reply, pictured below. In a change of heart he called Slotz “unscrupulous” and my copy of his letter was soon winging its way to Peter Carter Ruck, with a PS telling them to go **** themselves.