Julian Knight: In the name of charity, get rid of chuggers
Sunday 22 November 2009
You do see some sights in Hammersmith, where I live. Just yards from my front door this morning was someone dressed as Pudsey Bear, holding a big bucket.
Although the forced jollity of Children in Need has all the comic timing of a state funeral – and there is no earthly justification for the crime of Jeremy Vine wearing stockings and suspenders – I don’t mind giving a couple of quid to someone willing to dress up daft and stand in the pouring rain for a good cause.
But on walking into work I meet the manipulative face of modern charity; the teams of chuggers – a mix of charity collector and mugger – working the High Street. They are there every day, often the same people but in different- coloured jackets emblazoned with the name of the charity they are pitching for this week. This is the routine: they position themselves, with military precision, in the narrowest point on the pavement – where it’s hardest to get past (they should have based the smash-hit videogame Modern Warfare 2 on a team of chuggers). They accost me with shouts of “hello mate” inches from my face – a prelude to launching into some passive-aggressive sales spiel. And when I say “no thanks”, I’ve had times when these chuggers have snidely said: “Why, don’t you care, mate?”
But I do care about charity and that’s precisely the reason why I will never sign up to a pushy chugger. You see, these people aren’t volunteers, they are commission-hungry salespeople and they and their bosses take a big chunk of the cash that the giver thinks is going to the charity. What’s more, the damage that is done to the reputation of the charitable sector by what in modern marketing speak is called face-to-face fundraising – and I reckon if Dick Turpin were alive he’d have claimed to have been in face-to-face fundraising – is untold. They’re a menace and this Christmas shopping season they’ll
be everywhere, blocking a pavement near you, and trying their damnedest to push our collective guilt button. Don’t let them. We can all give directly to any charity we want to anyway.
It’s time to pressure the banks
As we report, the seemingly never-ending bank charges saga will take another twist this week. The Supreme Court will decide whether the Office of Fair Trading has the right to decide if the billions in charges levied by banks are unfair. The banks want to stop the OFT capping their charges, and, if they win, the implications for consumer protection will be massive. Basically, the OFT and the structure of UK consumer protection will be torched. These are big stakes indeed.
But if the banks lose then they really should leave the OFT to get on with its job. The RBS and Lloyds, which are basically nationalised, ought to be reminded that it’s not in the public interest to fight with what is, in effect, another part of the Government, the OFT. As for the Financial Services Authority’s generous freeze on bank-charge complaints, which is due to run till January but allows banks to continue to levy bumper fees, this should be ended immediately. In short, the Government and the FSA need to push the banks’ pressure points and get them to stop dragging this out any longer.
There are signs that some banks could be looking for a way out. The campaigning consumer website Moneysavingexpert published a Nationwide internal memo preparing staff to repay bank charges where people meet what it calls “exceptional circumstances”, such as incurring charges due to hospitalisation, bereavement, redundancy, relationship breakdown learning difficulties or even imprisonment. That’s a pretty wide interpretation of “hardship” and could lead to lots of claims being repaid.
And Abbey unveiled Zero, a new, no-charges bank account which seems revolutionary until the small print reveals that you can only get it if you have an Abbey mortgage. Have a bank account without a mortgage and you pay 28.7 per cent on unauthorised borrowing and a monthly fee of £25. That surely won’t pass muster if the OFT gets the chance to impose a cap.
- 1 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 2 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 3 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
iJobs Money & Business
£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...
£45000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...
£250 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Finance Manager - Accountant - Bank...
£100000 - £120000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading fi...
Day In a Page
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar