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Charity accidentally charges donors up to 100 times Direct Debit amounts

This news post is almost 8 years old

Concern Worldwide has apologised to 25,000 of its UK donors and promised all money and charges incurred will be refunded

A charity has had to issue a grovelling apology along with a promise to refund thousands of its supporters after it charged them up to 100 times their monthly Direct Debit donation amount.

Concern Worldwide say its own administrative error led to it requesting larger amounts than normal from the bank accounts of about 25,000 donors in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

It has promised to refund the money and pay any bank charges incurred as a result, however donors are being advised to contact their own bank to kickstart the process.

A statement on the charity’s website says: “An error has been made processing the monthly Direct Debits of some of our supporters. Because of this, we have requested a larger amount than their normal monthly donation.

“On discovering this error we did our absolute utmost to stop the payments but unfortunately this was not possible.

We are extremely sorry that this has happened and we apologise profusely to all supporters who have been affected by this error

“If this has affected you, we deeply regret any problems caused. We have been working with the banks to identify the best course of action and while it was not possible for us to stop the donation it is possible for you to reverse the transaction.

“Please contact your bank, explain to them that an error has occurred and that the amount taken is greater than previous periods. Ask the bank to file an immediate indemnity claim - which means that you should get an automatic refund within 48 hours.”

Many donors have taken to Twitter to complain about the incident saying they have been charged over 100 times their regular donation amount.

Jamie Shaughnessy tweeted: “Thank you @Concern for charging me £500 instead of £5 on my monthly donation. Should be a fun weekend.”

Chrissi Taylor said she would now stop donating, she said: “I've been charged £800 instead of £8. I don't even make that much in a month. Sorry, but I can't continue to donate.”

Concern’s Twitter page has been apologising to donors and referring them to a help page on its website.

The charity says if donors contact their bank it will result in a quicker refund but those who are unable to do so can contact it directly on 02890 950009 and it will process the refund – though this method will take longer.

Concern Worldwide, which is a global hunger charity, admitted the fault was its own but added it has never happened in the 10 years it has been collecting donations by direct debit and said it has launched an investigation to ensure it never happens again.

A spokesperson added: “We are hugely appreciative of the donations they make, which do so much for the world’s poorest people.

“We are extremely sorry that this has happened and we apologise profusely to all supporters who have been affected by this error. We are working around the clock to contact all affected supporters, to explain the situation, to apologise and to explain what they can expect to happen next.”