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Knock knock - who's there?

Chris Jackson | 17:15 UK time, Monday, 18 October 2010

The new series of Inside Out returns Monday October 18 with an investigation into charity fundraisers.

If someone comes knocking at your door asking you to sign up to a regular donation, just how much do you know about them? Our story reveals how a third-party company acts on behalf of the British Red Cross - but we found some serious concerns about how those sent to your door to collect your bank details are vetted.

Our reporter "Natalie" went undercover at the Newcastle based Coulson Organisation which is part of the Cobra Group. Her credentials were never checked - she never even provided any ID. You can read her own account of her time undercover and watch the programme on a separate webpage.

During her time with the Coulson Organisation other fundraisers told Natalie how they dodged rail fares and even drove illegally.

When our reporter was recruited it was not made clear that she would not be an employee but would instead be self-employed and rely on commissions from the amount of people she signed up as donors.

Former fundraisers complained to Inside Out that the very long hours and poor returns meant they were working for well below the minimum wage.

In a statement the Cobra Group and the Coulson Organisation told us they do not condone fare dodging or illegal driving and will investigate our allegations and take appropriate action.

Cobra maintain that performance related pay is widely used in the sector and guarantees a return on invetment for the charity.

If you've had any experiences with doorstep charity fundraisers do let me know. You can email me here.

Jonny Simpson at a body building competition

Also on the show:

Jonny Simpson, the lad from Penrith who decided to turn his life around.

From an incredibly lightweight youngster with Cystic Fibrosis he's turned into a winning bodybuilder.

You can read more about him on his own website.


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