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Fundraisers still frustrated by No Cold Calling Zones, despite Charities Act

Fundraisers still frustrated by No Cold Calling Zones, despite Charities Act
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Fundraisers still frustrated by No Cold Calling Zones, despite Charities Act 2

Fundraising | Becky Slack | 1 Jan 2007

Charities that fundraise door-to-door and abide by the Public Collections Regime in the new Charities Act, could still fall foul of No Cold Calling Zones, according to a top charity lawyer.

Anne-Marie Piper (pictured), a partner at law firm Farrer and Co and an expert on fundraising regulation, told PF that No Cold Calling Zones, the initiative that outlaws door-to-door sales and marketing within specific residential areas, will render ineffective the section of the Charities Act that deals with public collections.

"The regime is designed to regulate door-to-door fundraising," said Piper. "Fundraisers could go through all the processes required by law yet find that [the area] clashes with a No Cold Calling Zone."

The Public Collections Regime states that door-to-door collectors must inform the local authority that a collection is taking place, but do not need a permit. No Cold Calling Zones, however, forbid cold calling from taking place within specific boundaries, regardless of whether a fundraiser or salesperson is abiding by the law.

The situation is confused by a lack of clarity from Trading Standards as to what constitutes cold calling. "There is no common definition," said Piper. "In some parts of the country door-to-door fundraising would not be regarded as cold calling, while in other areas it is."

Further still, No Cold Calling Zones could be in breach of the European Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, which is due to come into force in December this year.

"This has clearly got very complicated and I will be watching the situation carefully. If we can't get rid of No Cold Calling Zones altogether then they need to be done logically," said Piper. 

The initiative falls under the remit of the Trading Standards Institute and was introduced to help reduce levels of doorstep crime. The Institute claims that only 2 per cent of UK homes are located in No Cold Calling Zones. However, in some parts of the country, such as Bedford, large areas encompassing thousands of homes fall under them.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson, said: "The government supports the aim of reducing door step crime but does agree that the Trading Standards Institute should work with the charity sector to ensure its reputation and legitimate right to fundraise is protected."

The Trading Standards Institute was unavailable for comment.

Sarah
20 Feb 2013

I think if you have a 'no cold calling sign' in your window or street it means you should have the right to sit in your living room in your mismatching pjs without fear of a fundraising knock on the door. I am all for charity but I do it in my own time, I help out at charity shops, donate my spare change from a coffee and buy little pin badges at the tills.. What I can't stand is these sob stories that get pushed on you whilst you politely show the world your holey socks and lack of bra support as some lady tells you how your neighbourhood has been amazing in their support (making you feel like you should too) and as you reach in your pocket for the change they explain you must set up a direct debit of a minimum of £5 a month!! This is all of a sudden a £60 a year commitment they want you to give and before you know it you've burnt your dinner and your dogs run out the front door under your legs!!! I understand its a tough old world for fundraising but come sell me a calendar or a pin badge, don't set me up a lifelong pain in the arse bank charge! Then you feel bad telling them to shh because they really are wasting everyone's time.. Pfftt!

Stephen Floyd
Antique Dealer
Antique Dealers
24 Oct 2010

I believe NO COLD CALLING ZONES are a breach of my human rights. I have been cold calling for over 20 years. Never done anything illegal, never done anything wrong. These zones are now springing up everywhere.

Police should target INDIVIDUAL law breakers and not target EVERYONE by introducing these zones.

You may as well ban CARS in order to target speeders! It's unfair, it's lazy policing and it's an infringement on my civil liberties.

It seems this country is becoming a very oppressive place to live.

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