Wallet given to radio station for charity goes missing

generic wallet with coins The donation was estimated to be worth £200

A BBC local radio station has been told to reimburse a listener after it lost a donation that had been made for charity, according to a BBC Trust complaints bulletin.

The station - which has not been named to protect the identity of those involved - lost a wallet containing a collection of British coins and some notes, which had been donated for a charitable auction.

The Trust has ordered the station to pay £240 to the listener. This is an estimate of how much the missing wallet was worth (£200) and an additional £40 to 'offset the postage and telephone costs' incurred during the complaints process.

In the original complaint to the station, the listener alleged that she contacted the BBC to find out how much the wallet had raised for charity through the auction, after entrusting its care to a member of staff. The station, however, failed to reply to her enquiry.

It was only when she contacted the station again that she found out it had 'disappeared' after being kept 'on reception for some time, with the aim of asking for an expert valuation of the coins'.

The complaint was escalated to the trust when the listener felt that the incident hadn't been dealt with adequately.

The radio station's handling of the incident included an unsolicited phone call to the listener, made by the member of staff at the station who was at the centre of the dispute.

The listener also believed that she was subsequently barred from participating in phone-ins - but the trust 'had no reason to believe the radio station was failing to give the complainant an equal opportunity to contribute'.

The panel evaluating the complaint did note, however, that the listener had made 'a number of on-air contributions' to phone-ins before the wallet went missing but none since.

The trust said the radio station should make an effort to record all calls made to the station phone-in lines, to protect both staff and listeners, but 'recognised that this might not always be practicable or cost-effective'.

It concluded that the BBC must draw up guidelines about future charitable donations and distribute them to all local radio stations and regional television programmes for the handling of cash or other items.


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