Charities Or Businesses : Which Is Which ? Another Rizla Paper Test ?

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
Another charity in the firing line :

How COULD a charity that campaigns for the elderly let its insurer rip off my 91 year old mum ?

Chris Walker discovered Age Co had hiked her mother's premium to £550.

" It feels like the elderly are being mugged in their own living rooms ", Ms Walker said.



The insurance branch of a charity that campaigns for the elderly has been accused of ripping of a loyal customer aged 91 after hiking her premium by 80 per cent in just two years.

Chris Walker, 69, of South West London, says she discovered Age Co – the trading arm of Age UK – had increased her mother Susan Self’s building insurance premium to £550 when she visited her at home nearby and spotted a letter spelling out the rise.

Chris says: ‘She is in her 90s and has limited income. She was a loyal customer of Age for many years, but it counts for nothing. It feels like the elderly are being mugged in their own living rooms.’

Research by The Mail on Sunday shows that premium costs can easily double for elderly customers in just a few years as part of a trick known as ‘price walking’ – where premiums for car and home insurance are increased year after year for loyal customers so that they reach a level far above the premiums charged to new customers.

Older customers are particularly susceptible because they are habitually among the most loyal.

Many are paying yearly price rises on insurance deals several times the average annual rate of inflation.

Regulators are investigating how best to crack down on the practice, but for some grown-up children the financial impact of the loyalty penalty won’t come to light until it is too late and loved ones have passed away.

In one case, an elderly pensioner relied on her bank for home insurance. Only after she died did her family discover that the policy’s annual premium had leapt by more than 300 per cent over 15 years to £915.

In the final year before the policy was cancelled, the price walk was more of a price ‘jump’ at 16 per cent. A different, yet suitable policy was available from the same bank for £105 a year.

Another elderly woman using her bank for home insurance saw annual premiums double over five years to more than £500 – despite other options being available at a fifth of the price.

Chris Walker only happened to see the letter spelling out the latest price increase for her mother because the postman was late when she visited. She says: ‘If he hadn’t been late, my mum would have put the letter away.’

Thanks to Chris’s help, Susan now pays £241 a year for a policy with a different insurer – and with home contents cover thrown in as well.

Chris says: ‘There are people out there with nobody to help them. These insurance renewal letters come through the letterbox and often remain unopened, so the contracts roll on and the prices roll up. I think a lot of older people are unaware this is going on.’

One of the trading principles that Age Co stands by is that prices it charges to customers are ‘fair and reasonable’. In a recent report, Age UK – which benefits from earnings made by Age Co – said it would put all its products through a ‘new assurance process’.

This, it argued, would enable it to be ‘confident that all Age Co products meet our trading principles all of the time’. On Friday, a spokesman for Age Co said: ‘We are sorry this customer is upset.

‘Our insurance partner recently reviewed properties in this area and its analysis unfortunately found that risk had increased significantly, hence the increase in premium.’

James Daley is co-founder of financial research and ratings group Fairer Finance. He believes time is nearly up for insurers using ‘dual pricing’ – where loyal customers subsidise lower prices paid by new ones.

He adds: ‘We are getting to the end of consumers’ tolerance for dual pricing. Most customers actually expect a reward for loyalty, but it’s the opposite. After several years of loyalty, customers are often paying three or four times the market rate.’

Intervention could come from City regulator the Financial Conduct Authority in the form of a price cap.

For example, this could work by banning insurers from charging existing customers premiums more than double those of a new customer.

Daley adds: ‘There is also demand for auto-switching tools, as exist in the energy market now.

'Such companies would do the hard work to find a new deal and even if a customer doesn’t get the very best price, they won’t get ripped off every year as many do.’
Mmmm ... seems like Joe & Josephine Public have finally cottoned on ?

Fewer Britons donate to charities after scandals erode trust.

Sector faces challenge as study shows proportion directly pledging cash falls to 57%.


Fewer people are giving to charity, in what researchers say is a worrying trend at a time when trust in charities appears to be falling.

The proportion of the UK public who gave money direct to charity in 2018 dropped to 57%, compared with 60% the previous year and 61% in 2016. Numbers giving money or sponsoring someone fell to 65%, compared with 67% in 2017 and 69% the year before.

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), which produces the estimates based on online surveys, said there had been a clear downward trend over the three years, a period during which the charity sector was rocked by scandals.

Forty-eight per cent of people believe charities are trustworthy, according to CAF’s figures. The proportion explicitly disagreeing has risen to 21%, with the remainder neither agreeing or disagreeing. Among those aged 65 or over, traditionally the most regular supporters of charities, 46% agree and 23% disagree.

Susan Pinkney, CAF’s head of research, said: “If people lack trust, that means they worry that their hard-earned money is not being well spent when donated to charities. This is a challenge that the entire charity sector needs to tackle head-on and find ways to inspire people to give and demonstrate to them that their money is making a difference.”

The findings will be unwelcome for charity leaders, who have been seeking to move on from debate over trust and confidence sparked by the Kids Company affair, controversy over fundraising techniques, and last year’s revelations of sexual abuse and other safeguarding scandals at aid charities.

Last month, sector leaders were privately angered when the Charity Commission regulator concluded that the collapse of the garden bridge project across the Thames in London had been another “failure for charity”.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), the leading umbrella body for charities, believes the CAF figures say less about trust and more about deliberate changes in fundraising in 2018 in response to the earlier controversies and GDPR data protection rules that took effect last May.

Significantly, the CAF survey found fewer people had been approached to make a donation in the street or on the doorstep last year, or received direct mail requests. The overall amount raised from household donations remained steady, however, at £10.1bn.

Sir Stuart Etherington, the NCVO’s chief executive, said: “Fewer people giving larger sums reflects a year in which many charities were scaling back recruitment of new donors and focusing instead on cultivating their relationships with existing supporters. This is the result of a positive change in charities’ fundraising strategies away from some of the marketing approaches of the past.”

While acknowledging supporters did appear to be giving more, Pinkney said: “With three years’ worth of data, we can now see a clear trend in people’s charitable giving and it is headed in a worrying direction.”

The CAF survey, based on more than 13,000 interviews last year, also asked people if they had taken part in any “social action”, such as joining a rally or protest, buying an ethical product or signing a petition.

The proportion of people saying they had done so in the previous four weeks fell in 2018 for the second year running, to 64%, compared to a peak of 68% in 2016. But CAF said early results for 2019 showed an upturn, hitting 69% in March, probably reflecting the numbers who signed one of the mass petitions on Brexit.

The reported rate of volunteering for charities remained stable in 2018, with 16% saying they had done so in the previous 12 months, as did the rate of goods donated to charity shops, at 56%.



Let's all hope that Trussells and their allies do NOT see a downturn in donations ???

After all , donate a can of beans to many others and ... just how many beans would be left after " Expenses " ?
Age UK equity release deals under fire.



One of the country’s leading charities has come under the spotlight for making money by referring elderly people to a commercial partner that routinely recommends equity release deals from its own parent company.

Age UK sends users through its commercial arm to an equity release advice service provided by Hub Financial. Hub is owned by Just, one of the biggest providers of equity release mortgages.

Age UK pockets commission of up to 0.75pc of the loan value from this relationship each time someone releases cash from their property. The commission from each deal can earn it thousands of pounds.
Haven't read all of the posts but 2 thoughts.

1. Leonard Cheshire would be horrified if he saw what was happening in his name.

2. Eton College is a charity. Amnesty International is not. Only charities have a favourable tax status which saves the government etc money on commissioning services from them and donations, which I believe people are giving thinking they are providing something above and beyond what is legally required to be supplied, attract tax relief and people think charities are good things to give money to. Campaigning organisations are not allowed to be charities so get neither the tax relief nor attract donations. People are told to check organisations are genuine charities before giving to them but this just supports the charities who not only don't want to rock the boat but also aren't allowed to. Professional charity managers only make the situation worse as they are more interested in running a charity efficiently within the rules rather than caring about the underlying cause. A good example of this is the manager of Morley College who was previously in charge of Benslow Music Trust. Morley College had been known for a wide range of activities including renowned music activities. He came along and chasing the charity funding closed down everything apart from literacy and numeracy and 5 gcses in a year. Never did find out what happened to the virtually brand new, very expensive piano that had been bought from fund raising. Incidentally I have no particular interest in Amnesty International, nor Eton College. They are just the text book examples that are often cited.

Oh and another pet hate. Hospices that don't have anywhere near enough hospice places but spend all their money on increasingly tangential services. Again this seems to be driven by the rules for funding not the aims of the charity. Part of the problem seems to be a requirement to help as many people as possible, possibly with targets for different "Equalities" groups whereas the fundraising is always focussed on the core activity which people want to give to and which is expensive to provide per person.

If I give to a charity I want to help the people in most need, not the most people with marginal needs but I know that's not where my money will go in reality.

If you never hear from me again don't be surprised as I half expect to get barred for this post!
A leading light for charity donations ?

TRUSSELLS !

Donate a whole can of beans , recipient gets a whole can of beans.

None disappear for " Expenses. "

Marathon runners ... names of leading charities adorn many runners.

Just how many miles must they run before the first £ 1 reaches the front line ????

Many of the major charity hierarchies are on £ 50k+ per annum ... with the prospect of a complimentary mention in
dispatches to boot !

100,000+ of our collegues would be most grateful for the odd can of soup ... occasionally.