A few people have flagged this with me: under the SEPA scheme there will be new rules concerning direct debits, where it will now be very easy for a donor to request a refund.
Donors will now have 8 weeks to request, no questions asked, that ‘Authorised’ payments are refunded.
Where the charity can’t prove that the donation was authorised the donor will have up to 13 months to request refunds.
A few charities have said they’re worried about this: that a monthly donor could in theory come back and demand 13 months worth of donations to be refunded. And on the surface it seems like a scary prospect.
But the truth is it won’t make a difference…
The reality is, if a donor contacted you today under the old scheme and requested 13 months worth of refunds, well, you’d have to do it. You wouldn’t have to do it, but you’d have to do it…you know?
No charity is going to get in to a dispute with a donor about who owns the money. You’re not Sky TV. You’re not Zurich. You’re a nice charity that relies on the kindness of donors and if they want their money back you’re going to have to give it to them.
The new rules are good. They instill confidence and, in reality, don’t change how you would handle the situation.