Friday, May 1, 2009


CharityI don’t know about where you live dear reader, but here In New Zealand it’s perfectly legal to ‘cold’ call private residential land lines and tout for work or solicit charitable donations.

Then, to add insult to injury, if you’re silly enough to agree to donate to a particular charity in this way, you run the very real risk of having your details on sold to other charities.

It has reached the point now where 6 to 8 calls to my fixed line every single week are from various charities looking for support. I would be bankrupt if I made even a small donation at every request but, to my immense frustration, I am a salesperson’s dream – I just can’t say no. I just can’t. The sales pitch works on me because I can’t stand to see anyone go without whether it be new toys for the local kids hospital or accommodation for families of kids with kidney problems through to funding for our local rescue helicopter. I just can’t say no.

My solution is to stop answering the phone.

I haven’t answered my home phone for months without screening first. Rory is well trained – he can pick a cold caller from a thousand yards and says I’m out.  They have to get tired of ringing at some stage. It’s a form of freakin’ terrorism when I can’t answer my own phone for risk of it costing me money.

Now don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe in supporting the charities of your choice. I do and I am more than happy to continue to do so each year.  I am a long term supporter and member of WSPA, Red Cross, Amnesty International, Greenpeace and a couple of other organisations that I believe maximise the use of every dollar I  donate.

I just don’t want to be stalked and hassled at every turn.

Now before you suggest I do the hang up thing or get brutal with them, I don’t blame the actual caller – they’re just trying to make a living. All I want is some sort of ‘no call’ register where I can get my name and phone number recorded and which says that I do not to be called on my home phone number. I understand that the UK has such a thing and I have written (repeatedly) to NZ’s privacy ombudsman about having this option available here. I will not be giving up any time soon as there does not seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel so far.

Is this a problem where you live?


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  1. We have a do not call register here too.
    It gets hard, doesn't it, but in the end I think about charity starting at home and think about what my family needs as well.

  2. One of the best ways I have seen dealt with this issue is the following..

    SO funny.

    Of course that sad point to this, is the people that need the help may not get it because of the approach taken by others.

  3. Yes Daze, I do know what you mean as long as we don't use that as a cop out - we're so very lucky and live so very well compared to billions around the globe and we cannot shut our eyes to that. If that means that Rory and I go without something then so be it. We'll live. Many others can't say that.

  4. Dade F that is funny, I'm still chuckling. Poor guy though - he was freaked out!

  5. Like dd said we have a do not call register with fines to companies who breach this. Excepted from the list of course is... (drum roll) charities and political parties. I have a mobile and only a mobile. I get some ad texts (telstra's are the worst) but in general very few. I do most of my charitible donations over the net(at xmas I bought about $400 worth of toys for variety to give to kids). this means i am not bothered unless i want to be.

  6. You're a good man Uamada - sharing the love!

  7. I donate to the charities I choose at the beginning of each year, giving what I can afford. Any calls after January, I tell them to call me back at the beginning of the following year. They usually don't. You have to draw the line somewhere. I no longer feel guilty about saying no, especially with the difficult economic times we're going through now. I have Caller ID, and if I don't know who it is...guess what, leave a message. lol. Hugs.

  8. We have call a call register here in England as well, but a lot of companies outsource the calling to overseas and you can always tell when it is a cold caller as there is a slight delay and that is the point when you hang up on them.

  9. Xandu you're quite right - that is actually what I do too but then get suckered into donating more and more. I am going to try it your way.

    Stu our calling is done from here so no clue like a delay but I think I just have to get tougher. I just can't keep shelling out money.

  10. I'm in Canada and we now have a do not call list. The list goes to the businesses who pay a nominal fee to get it so they don't call. Well guess what. The solicitors were buying the list so they had the numbers to call.
    I am brutal on the phone. If I say no and you keep talking I'll cut you off at the knees.

    I do give generously though on my own terms only. No guilt here.

    How about this scenario. I hate it in the line up for the grocery store or retail outlet that has a charity support program running. The cashier asks you in front of everyone in the lineups "Would you like to donate to Children's Hospital/battered women's shelter/Make a Wish/" or whatever and you feel like a jerk if you don't. It doesn't matter that you shop there every few days and have given before. No you look like a real loser.
    Well I got that off my chest.

  11. That is shocking. OK we don't have that here but that no doubt is only a matter of time - what a pain in the proverbial! What about an attack? On the basis that it's the best form of defence?

    "Are you asking me for a donation again when I gave you one only an hour ago?"


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