Salesman tries to pressure confused pensioner into charity scheme

‘Wolf of Wall Street’ door-to-door salesmen are caught on undercover camera pressuring confused pensioners into signing up for charity direct debits

  • ‘Shocking’ footage captured the salesman pressuring elderly people in Wales  

‘Shocking’ footage has revealed the moment a ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ door-to-door salesman attempted to pressure a confused pensioner into signing up for a charity direct debit. 

The salesman was exposed targeting elderly people in a village north of Cardiff, Wales, as part of damning investigation into the ‘unbelievable’ tactics used by a pair of direct sales firms fundraising for two charities. 

An undercover reporter secretly filmed the 19-year-old ‘campaign manager’ as he attempted to get a 70-year-old woman to sign up to donating for SOS Children’s Villages. But the pensioner appears confused and unable to answer his questions.

When the sales rep asks if she banks in the UK, the pensioner says: ‘I’m 70-odd.’ But he presses on trying to sign her up and only walks away minutes later, after she fails to give a phone number, WalesOnline reports. 

In another clip, a pensioner has to insist four times that she doesn’t want to sign up before the sales rep, called ‘John’ gives up. While other footage allegedly shows the salesman lying to people, falsely claiming other neighbours had signed up to the direct debit donation scheme.

An undercover reporter captured the moment a door-to-door salesman attempted to pressure pensioners into donating to charity

In one clip, a woman in her 70s appears visibly confused and unable to answer the questions posed by the salesman, a 19-year-old called ‘John’ (pictured)

News of the pressure-selling tactics by workers of Cardiff-based firms Vantage Consultancy Limited and Solution Cardiff Limited has left SOS ‘appalled’, with the charity now insisting it is ‘reviewing every donation’. While Cardiff Central MP Jo Stevens described the tactics as ‘shocking’ and ‘very manipulative’.

The investigation, carried out by WalesOnline, claimed young workers for both Vantage and Solution – many in their late teens and early twenties- were told to ‘trick’ people in doorstep pitches for charity sign-ups to support SOS and National Deaf Children’s Society. 

The paper claimed the firms – whose employees say have an atmosphere like the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ – also placed job adverts with ’empty promises of minimum salaries’ by a sales operation, with staff working long hours on commission-only pay.

New-starters were urged to spend ‘less time with their families’, the paper added, with former employees describing how the direct sales operation felt ‘cult-like’.

Vantage and Solution’s joint HQ is based above a Poundland store in Windsor Place, Cardiff, with WalesOnline reporting the two firms are run ‘as a single sales team’. 

Spearheading Solution is 25-year-old Zaafir Jamal, a sport and exercise science at Liverpool John Moores University. While Ryan Wallace, a 22-year-old from Liverpool, is in charge of Vantage. 

The companies are reportedly subcontracted to run fundraising campaigns for charity, with SOS saying it worked with a firm called Zen Fundraising – which subcontracted to The Hub Global.

Spearheading Solution is 25-year-old Zaafir Jamal (left), a sport and exercise science at Liverpool John Moores University. While Ryan Wallace (right), a 22-year-old from Liverpool, is in charge of Vantage

Sales staff were urged to ‘trick’ people into signing up for direct debit agreements as part of their doorstep sales pitches, WalesOnline claimed. Pictured is one of the salesman 

The paper claimed the firms also placed job adverts with ’empty promises of minimum salaries’ by a sales operation (pictured is one staff member having a pie thrown in their face during a corporate event for the sales team)

In another clip, a woman repeatedly has to insist she is not interested in signing up for the charity donation agreement 

Cardiff Central MP Jo Stevens (pictured) described the sales tactics as ‘shocking’ and ‘very manipulative’

An SOS spokeswoman said the footage ‘clearly’ showed breaches of the Code of Fundraising Practice. She added the charity is looking into every SOS donation obtained by Vantage and Solution. 

‘Where there is any evidence that donations are obtained via deception, we will return these in line with the fundraising code of conduct,’ the spokeswoman said. 

An NDCS spokesperson said: ‘We’re deeply concerned to hear of allegations about our fundraising and don’t condone any of the behaviours highlighted. We’ve started an investigation to determine all the facts with the companies named. Any breaches of our strict contractual terms, due diligence and compliance practices will be carefully reviewed and appropriate action taken.’ 

While Zen co-director Melanie Staddon said: ‘The behaviour of the fundraiser shown in your footage falls well below the standards we expect on Zen campaigns, and we do not condone this behaviour in any way. We will be undertaking a full internal investigation into this matter.’

MailOnline has approached Vantage and Solution for comment.  

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