Comments from a harassed member of the public
On the 28th November, 2015 I received a comment on our web site as follows:
By Mick Holton (VFFA)
Comment: I am continually receiving phone calls from your worthy organisation, asking for donations. I’ve never had anything to do with you and I have a silent phone number.
I truly appreciate your wonderful work but I’m a pensioner. I have my own charities and I always give anyway, to appeals for victims of bushfires.
I cannot give more and I really resent these calls and intrusion upon my privacy.
Mrs Patricia ________
I called Patricia and left her a message explaining that we don’t raise funds in that way.
On the 1st December I sent the following email to Patricia:
Thank you for your comment and thank your for raising this issue. I have included our President, Brian Williams in this reply.
I am very concerned when I hear stories like yours and we hear this way to often.
Firstly, let me say that the Volunteer Fire Fighters Association (VFFA) does not raise money in that way. If anyone (referring to call centres) ever claims to be the VFFA raising money then they need to be reported as this could be a scam.
There is another association known as the Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA) that conducts very aggressive phone call fund raising activities. We are not very impressed with the way that the RFSA conducts these fund raising activities and we are even less impressed when we hear that they are sitting on very large sums of money that is raised in the good name of the volunteers.
My advice is to inform any future caller that you already support many charities and you would rather give any money directly to an individual brigade (they won’t like that too much).
You many also like to say the following:
“I appreciate the work you’re doing, and I realise it’s your job but I’d rather not get these calls. Please put me on your do not call list. Also, does your organisation make calls for any other charities?”
If they answer “Yes”, then respond with:
“Please put me on those do not call lists as well. Your floor manager has a form you can fill in to remove me from all the databases, and I’m happy to wait on the phone while you do it. Thank you.”
Wait on the phone while they do it. Finish up with a polite:
These calls are inappropriate and I thank you again for raising this issue. Would you like me to pass your situation onto one of our Political colleagues for a follow up?
1st December 2015, Patricia sent the following reply:
From what you’ve said, its most definitely the 2nd organisation that keeps calling me. they’re aggressive and becoming increasingly so!
This last call, the young male caller immediately went into overdrive saying “surely I’d want to support the great guys helping out in South Australia”.
I call this emotional blackmail and I told him so.
I said that I always give to specific funds for bushfire relief, usually through St Vincent de Paul and I would really appreciate no further calls.
He was still shouting at me when I said “thank you for calling” and hung up.
As you can see Mick, I can look after myself, but I’m sure lots of folk (especially older folk) don’t know how to handle this aggro phone behaviour.
It just antagonises people and then reflects back on your org, AND ABOVE ALL on the fireys and their TRULY HEROIC work!
Thanks again for writing and YES! would MOST DEFINITELY like to have my/our communications passed on to any pollie you’d care to inform, especially if you think it would help.
Kind regards, Sincerely
This is the reply that Patricia received. She said that she was extremely disappointed that the Minister could not take the time to deal with this issue himself.
Mr Cox from the RFSA makes the following online comment / appraisal about the call centre services:
Where an appeal is conducted through means of a telephone, the authorised fundraiser must ensure that it is conducted in accordance with Part C of the ADMA Code of Practice published by the Australian Direct Marketing Association.
The code specifies that a caller must:
1. identify himself or herself
2. tell the person being called, if asked, how the person’s name or number was obtained. If the caller does not know, they must find someone who does
3. only call between 8am and 9pm and not at all on Christmas Day, Good Friday or Easter Sunday
4. provide a clear opportunity to accept or reject the offer
5. accept a refusal courteously and hang up
6. appreciate that the person being called may have been contacted at an inconvenient time and offer to call back
7. not make calls pretending to do research or a survey when they are really trying to sell something.