Charity launches investigation after claims residents were tricked into giving more cash than they originally signed up to
A leading charity is investigating claims a rogue doorstep fundraiser “conned” donors into parting with up to four times the amount they originally agreed to donate.
Blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan Trust is conducting an inquiry after a Shetland woman complained £10 a month was being taken from her account when she had agreed to pay only a quarter of that amount to the charity.
The fundraiser was working for the agency Appco Group UK and undertakes fundraising on behalf of numerous charities.
Appco Group UK said it thought confusion might have arisen if the fundraiser had tried to explain that a donation of £10 a month would equal £2.50 a week, but said it was investigating.
In a Facebook post Beverly Lamming said a man who had an official ID for Anthony Nolan asked her to pledge £2 a month after knocking on her door.
He then asked for her to increase the amount to £2.50, which she agreed to.
However she said: "I got an email from Anthony Nolan tonight confirming my direct debit for £10 per month. This is not what I agreed to. I'm pretty annoyed and feel conned.
"I do believe the guy was a genuine representative from the charity, but the way he got me to donate was just not ethical – he tricked me."
The way he got me to donate was just not ethical – he tricked me
The post elicited comments from two others who said the same scenario happened to them.
Rufus Cruft, head of individual giving at Anthony Nolan, confirmed that fundraisers from Appco Group UK had been operating in the area on the charity’s behalf and it was aware of concerns from Shetland residents.
"We have already spoken to the residents affected and have taken immediate action," he said.
"The fundraiser in question is no longer working on our campaign and there will be a full investigation by ourselves and the agency.
"We can assure local residents that we require our fundraisers to operate to the very highest standards and respect the wishes of each and every potential donor. Any evidence of wrongdoing is always dealt with strongly."
A spokeswoman for Appco Group said: "We are still investigating this matter, but in this case we believe there might have been some confusion because fundraisers explain that a donation of £10 a month amounts to about £2.50 a week.
"We are now reviewing the information fundraisers provide to ensure absolute clarity."
A spokeswoman for the Fundraising Standards Board of which Antony Nolan is a member said it had not received any complaints about the organisation.
A spokesman for the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator said it was satisfied the charity was taking action in respect of the individual fundraiser.