Elderly caught out by 0900 donations

Gisborne resident makes $20 donation to Forest and Bird that turns out not to be a one-off.

Gisborne resident makes $20 donation to Forest and Bird that turns out not to be a one-off.

AN ELDERLY Gisborne resident became stuck in a recurring donation nightmare when she tried to cancel a donation but ended up donating more in the process.

Age concern social worker Katie Macrae says it is important to let people know that when you dial an 0900 number, it will come with a charge to your phone account.

In October, an 82-year-old Gisborne resident was asked if she would like to make a $20 donation to Forest and Bird through her Slingshot phone account. She agreed and a $20 charge was duly added to her account by Slingshot, which then passed on the donation to Forest and Bird.

However, what she thought was a one-off donation popped up again the next month on her phone account.

When she tried to call the phone company, they gave her an 0900 number to call to cancel it.

This just added more donations.

Her daughter stepped in to help her and said it was very easy to see how her mother got confused. In the end $80-worth of donations were made.

“For older ones it was just a bit difficult to stop it.”

Forest and Bird fundraising and membership manager Helen Ward said whenever they heard about donations made in error, they put it right as soon as possible and refunded any over-payments.

“We’re very sorry that distress has been caused through our 0900 number. We will also review our phone donation line to make sure the number to call for questions is as clear as possible,” she said.

Slingshot communications manager Sophie Berry-Smith said it was important to be aware that some phone lines cost money to call, such as 0900 numbers and other toll lines.

“The line you are calling should state the cost at the time of the call, giving you the chance to hang up and not proceed.

“It’s worth noting that some services can transfer callers to 0900 phone lines and costs can also be charged this way.”

  • Ms Macrae said Age Concern was always there to help with any questions or concerns about companies that ring up for donations. They can be contacted on 867 6533.

AN ELDERLY Gisborne resident became stuck in a recurring donation nightmare when she tried to cancel a donation but ended up donating more in the process.

Age concern social worker Katie Macrae says it is important to let people know that when you dial an 0900 number, it will come with a charge to your phone account.

In October, an 82-year-old Gisborne resident was asked if she would like to make a $20 donation to Forest and Bird through her Slingshot phone account. She agreed and a $20 charge was duly added to her account by Slingshot, which then passed on the donation to Forest and Bird.

However, what she thought was a one-off donation popped up again the next month on her phone account.

When she tried to call the phone company, they gave her an 0900 number to call to cancel it.

This just added more donations.

Her daughter stepped in to help her and said it was very easy to see how her mother got confused. In the end $80-worth of donations were made.

“For older ones it was just a bit difficult to stop it.”

Forest and Bird fundraising and membership manager Helen Ward said whenever they heard about donations made in error, they put it right as soon as possible and refunded any over-payments.

“We’re very sorry that distress has been caused through our 0900 number. We will also review our phone donation line to make sure the number to call for questions is as clear as possible,” she said.

Slingshot communications manager Sophie Berry-Smith said it was important to be aware that some phone lines cost money to call, such as 0900 numbers and other toll lines.

“The line you are calling should state the cost at the time of the call, giving you the chance to hang up and not proceed.

“It’s worth noting that some services can transfer callers to 0900 phone lines and costs can also be charged this way.”

  • Ms Macrae said Age Concern was always there to help with any questions or concerns about companies that ring up for donations. They can be contacted on 867 6533.

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