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THE HARD CELL; Shock of charity cold calls 'bullying'.

Byline: STEPHEN MOYES

A WHISTLEBLOWER today reveals the shocking rules given to telesales staff raising charity cash for Cancer Research UK.

The ex-trainee cold-caller told how she was told to: PESTER people for money three times per call, as contracted. TARGET people battling cancer. BULLY students, OAPs and jobless people to hand over cash they couldn't afford; and was TICKED OFF for failing to push for a donation from a partiallydisabled, confused 92-year-old.

The instructions are on a crib sheet given to staff on pounds 6-an-hour.

The woman, who we are not naming, revealed: "We are taught only to terminate the call if the person we want to speak to is dead, under 18, physically or mentally incapable, or doesn't speak English."

She went on: "I dealt with a woman who told me she was 92 and partially disabled. She sounded very shaky as she explained she was living on pounds 25 a week. I terminated the call after I asked her for money once as I didn't feel comfortable.

"But my coach said that I was in the wrong. He said, 'Partially disabled' doesn't mean anything - she could just be walking with a stick'. And I was told, 'People at 92 can still make decisions about money'.

"When I said she sounded a bit confused, he said that the only time he ever terminated a call with an old person was when they thought he was their grandson." She added: "All the time we're tugging at heartstrings by quoting statistics we think will make that person donate."

The script, seen by the Mirror, tells staff who get through to a cancer victim to respond: "You know most of all why it's important to give."

Pell & Bales - which also works for other charities - will make at least pounds 68,000 if it hits a pounds 176,000 fundraising target.

Last night "deeply concerned" Cancer Research UK immediately suspended telephone fundraising until a full investigation had been completed. Pell & Bales declined to comment.

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SO COLD CALLER Staff were given scripts
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 23, 2009
Words:341
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