Sunday 28 March 2010

Response to my complaint

On 8 March I emailed the British Heart Foundation about my bad experience with a van driver whose van bore the words BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION. I also emailed them later with a link to what I wrote on this blog.

I’ve now had an email reply (25 March):

Van drivers work for the British Heart Foundation on a self employed basis. They do, however, represent the Foundation and are expected to be polite, pleasant and courteous to members of the public at all times when on BHF business. Action would be taken against anyone found to be in breach of the high standards we demand. On receipt of your email we carried out a check of the registration numbers of vehicles used by the van drivers working from our stores in the E17 area. Not one of them remotely resembles the number you quote and, indeed, one drives a blue van. I do not believe, therefore, that the incident you experienced was perpetrated by anyone connected with BHF.

We are aware of collectors working for what we believe to be a bogus charity whose name and logo are very similar to BHF's. We have had numerous instances reported to us of activity by this 'charity' in the London area and the police and BHF legal department are involved with this.

If you have any further information relating to this incident, I would be happy to carry out further investigations but from the detailed enquiries that have been made, your most unpleasant encounter with this van driver cannot be attributed to anyone working for or on behalf of BHF. I am, therefore, unable to take any further action.

Fair enough, if they can’t identify the driver. However, I have little doubt that this was an authentic BHF vehicle. I also understand why the driver was angry at the time I encountered him. The Walthamstow High Street BHF shop is accessed from Cleveland Park Avenue, and on that particular morning the road was closed off by police after the murder. Having presumably been turned back at the police barrier, the driver then tried to access the High Street via Westbury Road. When he got to the end of Westbury Road he found himself faced with a right-turn only sign, as well as a sign banning drivers from entering the High Street after 10 am. This is where the driver had to turn round and head back along Westbury Road, by which time he was probably feeling very, very frustrated. Hence the way he drove.

If this driver regularly makes deliveries to Walthamstow there’s a chance I’ll encounter him again and I can check the registration plate (I tend to think I was at worst only one number or letter wrong.). We’ll see…