When faced with Bad Solicitations
March 21, 2006 1:46 AM   Subscribe

Charity solicitor via phonebank recalls not personally a contribution I would have never made over the phone from a previous year, cannot provide details. When I ask him to send more information, t(he)y sends "Sponsor Reminder".

Calling the number on the slip gets message, message left on machine solicits no return call. Research begins to turn up strange information, suspicious information and downright disturbing information.

Their webpage (http://www.affdc.org/) does not load.

This has all the hallmarks of a Bad Charity -- certainly the phone call received did nothing to allay my concerns. When questioned as to the nature of my unlikely contribution in past years (I make few, choice contributions and *never* to anyone who would inturrupt my post-work hours with a phone conversation), caller became defensive as if I were personally calling him a liar.

I intend to send a letter off the the charity, the American Foundation for Disabled Children at their location at 84 New Dorp Plaza in Staten Island as well as their "Donation Processing Center" in San Jose, but if this is the sort of "charity" I expect it to be, I doubt I'll get much return on my letter.

I would calm me some to know that aside from the sites above there might be further action besides sending the letters straight into the shredder. A letter to the BBB? Is that still done? Are these guys as crooked looking to you as they are to me?

Were you as annoyed as I and in my shoes, what would you do?
posted by Ogre Lawless to Work & Money (5 answers total)
I'm not sure what recourse you're looking for. You haven't given them any money. Contact your local BBB or the FTC and see what they think. Talking to the charity themselves isn't going to do anything, especially if they're crooked.

As long as they aren't (continually) harrassing you, don't give it any more thought than a simple complaint to those organizations.

And also, please re-read your questions before submitting trainwrecks like this one. (Your other questions and such all seem perfectly cotent. Just sayin'.)
posted by disillusioned at 2:34 AM on March 21, 2006

Yes, it's probably a bogus charity.
Yes, it annoys one when you are contacted by them.
Yes, you are obsessing too much over it. Ignore them and move on. Contacting them further will only waste your time and provide laughs for them.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:34 AM on March 21, 2006

Hah, that CharityNavigator link provides all you need to know. They spend all of their income on expenses, do not spend any money at all on disabled children. So yes, it's a complete scam. They bought a list of donors from some other charity (which is one reason I rarely give to charities; even the good ones sell your name and provide no opt-out) then tried to call you and play it off like you had donated to them last year.

If I recall correctly, spending more than 15% of income on expenses is a bad sign for a charity. Spending 100% on expenses... hah. Funny. In other words, they're just a bunch of people who incorporated a charity and now run a semi-legal telephone scam operation, with no intent of ever giving any money to disabled children. Last year they suckered people to the tune of $1.9 million dollars. (New Dorp, Staten Island is a very low-rent area, perfect for a telemarketing operation.)

I'm sure there's some way to lodge a complaint through the NY Attorney General's office. Explain thoroughly how they're using deceptive pressure tactics in their soliciting calls... I wouldn't contact the scammers - they know exactly what they're doing, and your complaint would just provide office humor.
posted by jellicle at 6:16 AM on March 21, 2006

Well, now more people know about the scam they're running, so rest assured you've done your civic duty. And thanks for linking to my humble site (cripNYC); I was wondering where the sudden influx of traffic was coming from!
posted by Soliloquy at 11:06 AM on March 21, 2006

Apologies for characterizing this question as a "trainwreck." I had been up too late and was confused far too much by a few simple typos.
posted by disillusioned at 7:38 PM on March 22, 2006

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