Victim exacts Shakespearian revenge on scammer

Edd Joseph sent an online scammer the complete works of Shakespeare via text message. Photo / Thinkstock
Edd Joseph sent an online scammer the complete works of Shakespeare via text message. Photo / Thinkstock

An angry online trader has got his revenge on an unscrupulous seller who conned him out of £80 (NZ$154) by sending the man the entire works of William Shakespeare via 29,000 text messages.

Edd Joseph, a 24-year-old from Bristol, was furious when the Sony PS3 console he bought on the British online trading site Gumtree failed to arrive, so decided to get back at the seller by bombarding him with messages.

The graphic designer wanted to the send the conman as many texts as possible, so started by copying and pasting Macbeth into 600 messages, All's Well That Ends Well into 861, and Hamlet into an irritating 1,143.

Mr Joseph was able to send the messages at no expense as he is on a £37-a-month unlimited contract with provider 02.

The contract allows him to make as many calls or texts as he wants without paying anything extra.

And sending the messages was not nearly as time consuming as it sounds, as Mr Joseph simply copies the entire text of each play using a single click on an app on his iPhone.

He then pastes the full wording into a single message, which his phone automatically breaks down into 160 word segments while sending.

The messaging campaign began last Thursday when the PS3 console Mr Joseph purchased from a user calling himself 'David Williams' failed to arrive, and a demand for a refund went unanswered.

As he had already paid the Derby-based seller the money through a direct bank transfer a week earlier, Mr Joseph had broken Gumtree's terms of service, so the website was unable to help.

Mr Joseph claims that when he contacted the police, they told him that there was little hope of catching the conman.

Feeling helpless, he decided to send all 30,000 words written by Shakespeare via text message.

So far Mr Joseph has sent 22 plays including Hamlet, Macbeth and Othello which have been delivered in 17,424 texts.

By the time he reaches the final play, Mr Joseph thinks he will have sent a total of 29,305 messages.

The remaining 15 works will take another few days to send, meaning the conman's phone will have been receiving a new text message every few seconds for almost a week by the time it has finished.

Speaking of his act of revenge, Mr Joseph said: "I was really annoyed and I was trying to think of ways of being more in the position of power because I felt so helpless about it.

"My first thought was that I could try and pretend I had found out where he lived but it was all a bit of a cliche and it wasn't going to worry him really.

"Then it just occurred to me you can copy and paste things from the internet and into a text message.

"It got me thinking, 'what can I sent to him' which turned to 'what is a really long book', which ended with me sending him Macbeth."

Since sending the messages, Mr Joseph has started receiving abusive responses from the seller.

"I got the first reply after an hour, and then a few more abusive messages after that," he said.

"Recently he has taken to calling me and giving me abuse on the phone. I tried to ask him if he was enjoying the plays, but he was very confused."

"I'm going to keep doing it. If nothing else I'm sharing a little bit of culture with someone who probably doesn't have much experience of it."

Mr Joseph says he is not a particularly avid fan of Shakespeare but claims to now have 'a new appreciation' for the Bard's works - especially the longer ones.

- Daily Mail

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