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Call for action over door-to-door collectors
CALLS are being made for a crackdown on charity door-to-door callers who prey on “vulnerable” households in Worcester.
Councillor Richard Udall, who represents St John’s, says elderly people have been targeted by callers trying to get them to sign up for direct debt payments.
He says in one incident a “particularly vulnerable” pensioner was unwittingly coerced into signing up, resulting in her daughter having to call up the charity and cancel it after finding out.
He is calling on the Government to consider bringing in legislation to crackdown on the problem – and is warning people to be vigilant.
“It’s been a problem for a couple of years now, I’ve had people come to the door myself to ask me to sign up,” he said.
“In one case a particularly vulnerable resident was signed up for donations and only when her daughter discovered it did the problem come to light.
“Normally these charities are after overseas aid, but these people can be incredibly persuasive and intimidating. I’d like to see some sort of control to prevent it happening. I know areas around here have been targeted.”
The Public Fund-raising Regulatory Association, a body which monitors the tactic, say doorstep requests account for about 70 per cent of face-to-face fund-raising across the country.
It led to £85 million being raised for charity last year, and the Government has already threatened to intervene and legislate the industry if voluntary controls are deemed to be failing.
In an attempt to ease calls for new laws, the association rolled out a “quality control programme” towards the end of last year which lays down guidance for the callers.
It includes desisting when being asked to do so, and avoiding specific homes if the residents are vulnerable.
The Fund-raising Standards Board (FRSB), which acts as a secondary watchdog, also has a code of practice with similar guidelines.
The FRSB say any complaints on the conduct of callers can be sent to email@example.com.