Blind Veterans UK risks joining the likes of MBNA and Capital One – once known for bombarding people with direct mail until they signed up – after an investigation has found the charity sent out 15 mailshots over a two-year period to one consumer despite repeated requests that they be removed from the mailing list.
The Fundraising Regulator, which found the charity in breach of the Code of Fundraising Practice, has ordered the charity to tighten up its processes for dealing with suppression requests.
The issue dates back to December 2017, when the complainant first contacted the charity asking for all marketing to blocked for their relative, who was showing signs of memory loss.
However, the charity failed to act. Then, in June 2019, the complainant asked for their relative be added to the list again, but although the charity complied with the request it still contacted that person again three months later. In total, the person received 15 mailings after the first suppression request was made.
In its ruling, the Fundraising Regulator did accept human error had been to blame for the charity not complying with the first suppression request, and that it had not been a deliberate attempt to target a vulnerable person. However, it adds that the charity had breached the aspects of the code relating to managing data and requests to stop direct marketing.
Blind Veterans UK director of fundraising Jackie Harbor said the charity accepted “full liability” for the error in complaints handling and apologised to all those affected.
She added: “Although this has been recognised as being due to human error, we have still taken action to improve our procedures to best ensure this does not happen again.
“We have informed the Fundraising Regulator that we have acted to remove those who request it from our marketing activities within 21 days. We will continue to monitor this target to ensure it is met and will also work to improve it in the future.”
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