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Older Australians hounded by fundraising calls

Older Australians are upset about the level of ‘ruthless’ harassment they receive from charities, says the consumer group Choice, and have stopped answering their landline and are considering having it disconnected, the Guardian reports.

Commercial call companies that represent some Australian charities are exploiting loopholes in consumer law and seeking unsolicited donations with “alarming frequency”, a report by the consumer group Choice has found.

Last week, Choice launched a campaign and a report into nuisance calls, which showed that 89% of all Australians interviewed as part of a survey had received at least one unsolicited call in a six-month period.

The report took particular aim at unwanted calls made on behalf of charity groups by for-profit call centre companies, and found that more than 25% of Australians interviewed had received unwanted calls from a charity each week.

In an analysis of the Australian experience with unsolicited calls, Choice found more than 90 per cent of people found them annoying, while older Australians were targeted more than any other group.

“Calls asking for money are intrusive and put vulnerable members of society at risk when they are hounded week in and week out,” said Choice head of media Tom Godfrey.

The Choice report found that although the consumer law protections were effective, the exemptions meant they were “not strong enough to deal with consumer frustration caused by unwanted calls,” the Brisbane Times adds.

“The rate of unsolicited calls, largely due to exceptions to the Do Not Call register for charities and organisations that consumers have an ‘existing relationship’ with, means that consumers are hounded with calls that they don’t want to receive, and are being asked for money they did not proactively choose to give,” it found.

“Commercial companies acting on behalf of charities have at times demonstrated a ruthlessness and disregard for consumers, sometimes for the very consumers they are collecting funds to assist.”

A number of case studies in the report outlined a high level of frustration.

“Since we have retired we have been inundated with these calls almost on a daily basis, despite registering with the government site to stop these type of calls … We are seriously thinking of disconnecting our landline,” one participant said.

Another said: “I have had to give up answering my landline, and in so doing have missed some important personal calls.”

FULL STORY:

Older Australians hounded by fundraising calls, Choice research shows (Brisbane Times)

Charity call centres use loophole in Do Not Call register to seek donations, says Choice (The Guardian)

 

Large image: Choice Control the calls campaign