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Huge rise in complaints about charity fundraising phone calls


Charity fundraisers have been accused of harassing the elderly and vulnerable with a barrage of calls to persuade them to donate.

Calls have been made for a review of methods used to raise money after an investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches, due to air on Monday night, found some of the country’s best-known charities are paying call centres millions to fundraise for them. Last year there was a 26 per cent rise in complaints about charity fundraising calls to the watchdog, the Fundraising Standards Board.

The programme spoke to an 82-year-old woman who resorted to hiding the telephone to avoid the six calls a day she received from fundraisers, and a daughter who said her late Alzheimer’s-suffering father set up direct debits to several charities after being targeted by fundraisers.

Reporters went undercover at two leading fundraising companies – NTT Fundraising in Bristol and London-based Pell & Bales, who have clients including Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, Oxfam, Unicef and Barnardos.

A spokesperson for NTT Fundraising said the company was “mortified” to see the “apparent weaknesses” highlighted by Dispatches.

A P&B spokesperson added: “We receive less than one complaint for every 10,000 calls we make and any complaint we do receive is evaluated to see how it could have been avoided.”