Unsubscribe requests; what not to do

October 5, 2009 at 3:37 pm 30 comments


Recently, I requested to be removed from a charity’s mailing list and was sworn at and abused… I feel at this point that it may not be a good idea to name and shame them, as it may cause more harassment and bad mouthing towards my organisation from them. I will detail what happened below and let me know, what would you do in this situation?

So last night, I received a Tsunami appeal from a small, relatively unknown organisation, wanting me to put funds into their bank account for the Tsunami appeal. As I receive a HUGE amount of email through all DonateNZ email addresses, I prefer to keep my personal address limited to personal mail only. I also follow this particular organisation on Twitter and receive their mail that way, therefore I asked to be removed from the email list.

This morning I received a call from a Trustee of the organisation, who within a second of me saying hello began to yell at me for my response, completely letting loose and swearing at me, calling me a communist and a horrible “f***ng” person for not supporting Samoa, in addition to a tirade of other of profanities. I was completely taken aback and completely surprised by her reaction. She continued to yell for about 2 minutes without letting me speak, until she hung up on me. I was absolutely flabbergasted and a second later, very upset. I mean, I work all day every day working to promote good causes and help out wherever I can, you just don’t expect to be treated like that ever, nonetheless for asking to be unsubscribed from a mailing list. About 5 minutes later, she rang back to the office and I was too upset pick up the phone, so Jane, our Trustee did. She proceeded to start abusing and swearing at Jane also and then hung up on her also.

Following on from the phone call, she emailed my email address another 9 times with various insults and accusations, as well as posting on Twitter warning people against our organisation, as well as sending an email warning her board members about us. There was no reasoning with her, it just became a complete personal attack. She has been warned that if public defamatory continue I will take both public and legal action, but I hope it does not come to this. I am shocked and appauled that a simple unsubscribe request would evoke such a reaction from someone, it’s just completely flabbergasted me.

This is a pretty out-there example of fail charity customer service and human behavior. It is sad really, as she has now not only lost her organisation my support personally but also DonateNZ’s as well. Thankfully, the emails seem to have ceased now, so I hope this is the last I hear from that particular organisation.

Have you ever had an incident like this when you tried to unsubscribe from an mail list? What would you do if they started slagging your business or organisation publicly when you did?


Entry filed under: Business Talk. Tags: , .

Big day at “The Big Schwop” Clothing bins: Good charity or good business?

30 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Adrian  |  October 5, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Post the emails, contact details removed obviously, I think many of us would be interested in having a read…

    That said, sounds appalling given your simple request, so I’m leaning towards talking to someone above said caller, and if you’re not happy with their response, name and shame!

  • 2. Rob  |  October 5, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Post the charity and emails…if they are that unprofessional in their marketing how do they administer their business?

  • 3. Vanessa  |  October 5, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    OMG I just read your blog, that’s absolutely disgusting. I wouldn’t name and shame, only because it brings you down to their level. However, if they continue their attack then I would certainly take legal action against them.

    Also, why do people think that communist is a valid insult?


    • 4. Sanjay  |  October 6, 2009 at 5:25 pm

      How on earth does that bring her down to their level?

      Name and Shame,

  • 5. Graeme  |  October 5, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    It’s a sad day when all you want to do is have your email address removed from a list and you get abused for doing something that is your RIGHT.

    What the organisation has done is not harmed you, but without thinking about cause and effect, they have damaged their own credibility.

    If you want help from someone ask, if it can’t be given respect the decision.

  • 6. discounderworld  |  October 5, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    God, poor you Claire! I hope you are okay. This is simply just crazy behavior, I think the lady must have forgotten to have her meds that morning. What other explanation is there?

  • 7. iona007  |  October 5, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Poor you, must have ruined your day. Remember there are a lot more nicer people out there really supporting what your doing. Keep smiling – its her problem not yours.


  • 8. Lou  |  October 5, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Oh my goodness! You do such amazing work try not to let these people get you down, they clearly are so emotionally raw and completely beyond lateral thought in this case (I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt!)

    You guys rock – keep it up!

  • 9. Nathalie  |  October 5, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Well handled Claire – sorry you have had to deal with this on a Monday of all days 🙂

  • 10. Bex  |  October 5, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    2 words for you hun. Campbell Live.
    That is appalling practice, they deserve to be named and shamed.
    Hope youre ok!

  • 11. Amie McCarron  |  October 5, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    You dont need to name – they have already shamed themselves publically on their own.

  • 12. dave  |  October 5, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    You so don’t deserve treatment like that. That charity is clearly in the wrong business – if they’re like that on the supply side, what are they like to their contacts on the demand side? They don’t belong in the philanthropy sector, and you would be doing people a favour to identify them so that the rest of us can avoid them. Kia kaha clare – you’re doing the right stuff for the right reasons, and don’t let people like them get you down.

  • 13. Richard  |  October 5, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Name and shame IMO

  • 14. Colin  |  October 5, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    I actually *would* name and shame – just so her host charity can see her damaging behaviour and get rid of her before she does anyore damage.

  • 15. Marie Young  |  October 5, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Claire, the verbal and written abuse you encountered is absolutely uncalled for. I hope we know who this organisation is one day so we can all stay clear of them.

    I’m Samoan and I just want you to know that I’m very grateful you wanted to give to the Tsunami cause in the first place.

    I hope you and Jane have a wonderful rest of your week. I’m sorry you had to go through such a terrible ordeal.

    Warm regards,

  • 16. Jacqui  |  October 5, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Disgusting behaviour – so unprofessional & rude & illegal?!

    You did yourself a favour for unsubscribing.

    Hopefully you can ignore & move-on with all your wonderful work -easier said than done as I can imagine how unsettling this must’ve been for you!

    Urggh, I still can not believe that behaviour!

  • 17. kris_b  |  October 5, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Name and shame!

  • 18. anonymous  |  October 5, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Actually she didnt ask to be unsubscribed.She sent a rude email,with no context to it..basiclaly insulting the said charity and its fundarising appeal..It seems that she can solcit charites and cold call them and regster us, if we agree. and she nca evne send us emails…BUT apprnelty we cnanot sent her emails as suddnely ,without warning she sends you arude email whihc doe snot say unsubscribe or antying… and then we dare stick up for ourselves and quensiton her sudden and unorthodox rudeness she starts furhter bullying and throwing a tantrum.She did not say unsubscribe..I suggest every one get their facts straight.She sent a rude email saying “this is not auhtorised” Wot on earth was she talking abou we wonderedt.?How dare she insult us??Our appeal is auothirsed..and then she goes on and on and on..as we dare tell her off for being rude and ask what she is talaing about.Anyoe with a speck of maturity would explain themselves striaght away ot the chairty,their cleint another words,and apologize for any rudenss and offense caused.She didnt and we didnt ahve a clue waht she was tlkaing baout.Jsut a rude email.Yet she claims to support chairites and here she is sending a rude email???Wow..weird.And then she writes ablog about it?Whenr it was her rudness and her first email..adn she solcite dus..not the other way around??Wow..Sorry but we are not at flaut here.

    • 19. clairednz  |  October 5, 2009 at 6:27 pm

      I have chosen to post this response to my blog so it does not appear I have anything to hide. To clarify to those reading this, the original reply to the appeal email was “Remove me from this mailing list, this was not authorised”.

      I stated in reply to further emails to her :
      “You have completely taken the comment from my original email the wrong way, I apologise for this and I clarify now:
      What I meant by “This was not authorised” is that in NZ when sending bulk emails, the person must opt in, otherwise it is spam. I did not opt in to be on your bulk email list, hence it was not authorised; that was all I was saying. Whether or not you bulk are emailing someone for a good cause, or for a business or from a school, it does not matter. This is something your organisation must address and be aware of otherwise you could risk legal action against you. I suggest you read up on this here, then it will help you to avoid future run-ins of this nature. I apologise for omitting a “please” in this request, I get hundreds of emails and sometimes reply on auto-pilot, it was not intentional. That aside, it is within my rights to ask to be removed and people should not be harassed and bullied for doing so, whether it is me or Joe Bloggs down the road. As it was explained and I reiterate again, it was not a personal statement towards my feelings towards Samoa, your organisation or you personally; you are the one who has taken it that way and made it out to be something its not.

      I’m sad that such a simple request provoked such a horrible, nasty, reaction from you towards us; I don’t deserve it, nor does DonateNZ. We provide the service completely free of charge to a thousand charities within NZ and I also work completely voluntarily, doing all I can to help organisations wherever I can.”

      In addition to this, in another email also sent:
      “I am shocked and appauled by your rude response and phone calls to this office, in regards to my very simple request below to remove my personal work email address from your bulk mailing list. I did not expect to have a tirade of obscenities and insults flying down the phone at me in regards to this. Under the spam regulations of NZ I am perfectly within my rights to make that request and you must action it. I would like to establish also that it is not that I do not wish to hear from your cause or support it, I simply like to receive your news via Twitter, as opposed to email.

      I do, and DonateNZ does, absolutely support people doing their best to raise funds for Samoa and any good causes. I personally just prefer to receive the news a different way and should not be harassed and sworn at for doing so, and requesting something that is within my rights as a NZ citizen. I and DonateNZ also point out I have been publishing and sharing ways to help in Samoa, since the tsunami last week. Your calls and emails have very much upset me and had me in tears and I request that you please stop harassing me.”

      I will not be replying to any further emails or communication from this organisation, quite frankly, I wash my hands of them. I also will not be posting full details of emails between us, it is not relevant and I think will only make this organisation look worse, which is not right as ultimately, despite this incident, they do do good work in the community. However it will be without my support in future.

    • 20. Anonymous the 2nd  |  October 6, 2009 at 2:05 pm

      “Anonymous” You need to chill out see a doctor and get a script you are getting so wound up when you write your spelling and grammar has turned to shit.

      Unauthorized emailing can be a pain/annoyance I am 6 months on still trying to unsubscribe from jimungo.co.nz without success. I hope your antics ruin you and your charities reputation. Whats your plan for the money you raise on your appeal?? Bugger all I bet will probably end up being chewed up in consumables for your office or the cost of the campaign. 🙂

      I spam people all the time and occasionally get rude responses but when you send people emails with out their permission they have every right to ask to be removed from your list that doesn’t give you the right to turn into a monster. You horrible horrible woman. Get a life and grow up.

      Claire you handled this well if it had been me I would have publicly destroyed her

  • 21. Karen  |  October 5, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    incredible behaviour.

  • 22. Adrian  |  October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    The poor spelling, grammar and general tone of the defending message say it all… Unprofessional whatever the case.

  • 23. Andrew  |  October 5, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    I admire you for not completely destroying them publicly, I don’t think I’d have that same level of self control. Regardless of whether they have a good cause behind them or not.

  • 24. Mimi  |  October 6, 2009 at 12:44 am

    I have to agree with Adrian. Just based on “anonymous’ ” extremely poor grammar and spelling I tend to believe Claire in this instance. Claire’s response shows professionalism. “Anonymous’ ” juvenile writing skills show a lack of education and a lack of general concern for presenting herself in a professional manner.

    I am sorry you had to deal with this, Claire. 😦

  • 25. How to destroy your reputation | Kiwiblog  |  October 6, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    […] Claire blogs about the response she got from a charity when she asked them to remove her from their e-mail list. This is a true story! So last night, I received a Tsunami appeal from a small, relatively unknown organisation, wanting me to put funds into their bank account for the Tsunami appeal. As I receive a HUGE amount of email through all DonateNZ email addresses, I prefer to keep my personal address limited to personal mail only. I also follow this particular organisation on Twitter and receive their mail that way, therefore I asked to be removed from the email list. […]

  • 26. Brenda  |  October 6, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I tracked down who you’re referring to using twitter – just wow, they sure aren’t very careful what they tweet as a public face of their charity. Who ever is running that twitter account does typo after typo, mispelling, and so many threats of legal action against those that tried to interact with them.

  • 27. Brad  |  October 6, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    I don’t know you Claire but from following your online and TV media profile I suspect you couldn’t harm a fly in fact you would probably set up an appeal to have it rehabilitated back into the community. So my two bits opinion about the “anonymous” charity representative is “your nuts and need your head checked”.

    Claire, you do a super job and keep it up. More of you and less of the them.

  • 28. Jo  |  October 6, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Claire – You’ve handled yourself impeccably! You are clearly dealing with someone of low intelligence and low integrity who is clearly a sad soul. May she learn from her stupidity and you take a bow that you didn’t stoop to her level.

    You have unlimited support Claire!

  • 29. Avalon  |  October 7, 2009 at 11:44 am


    Well done for sticking to your guns and publishing the emails to show what you said.

    For the first 18 months after the antispam law came out, we tried to talk to people who refused to accept the law, and explain what they had to do. Now we dont bother after one very well known and well respected Mentor had a go at us. Now we just report people to the DIA.

    I am really sorry you had to go through this.


  • 30. Don  |  October 7, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Makes you want to get mailwasher and a 0900 number


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