'Chugger' ruling axes complaints
A CLAMPDOWN on "chuggers" has been brought into force by Stroud District Council.
After receiving dozens of complaints about the number of direct debit charity fundraisers in Stroud, the council has decided to tighten up its licensing rules.
Often referred to as "chuggers" the collectors stop people in the street and ask them to sign up to a direct debit agreement as a way of raising money for charities.
Earlier this year the council tested a scheme which allowed only one charity a week to canvass in the street for direct debit agreements. Cash collections were not affected. Previously there would be four or five "chuggers" a week.
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"We were certainly getting a number of complaints from shoppers and traders," said Rachel Andrew, principal licensing officer.
Since the introduction of the one-a-week trial there have been no further complaints. The council's Licensing and Regulation Committee agreed that licensing of these fundraisers should continue to be restricted to one a week.
Councillor June Cordwell, executive member for community services said: "Charities obviously need to raise money for the excellent work they do, however the issue of so-called "chuggers" over recent years has become a national problem causing shoppers and retailers a great deal of annoyance.
"By limiting direct debit canvassers to one charity a week we hope to ensure that town centres are inviting and pleasant for shoppers."
The committee was also concerned about increasing number of charities which use organisations to cold-call at homes to canvass for direct debit sign-ups. Annual permits for house-to-house collections were scrapped and will now last for three months.