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VIHA warning businesses about telemarketing scam

The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) is warning area businesses to be aware of a telemarketing company that is soliciting donations for a children’s activity book that is neither approved nor endorsed by VIHA and its local hospitals.

Recently businesses in Victoria and Campbell River were contacted by telemarketers and asked to donate money to purchase an activity/colouring book for children. The telemarketers claim sales will benefit children hospitalized at Victoria General Hospital, Campbell River General Hospital and other hospitals within the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

VIHA does not support the campaign, as donations do not benefit the hospitals, the health authority or patients.

Vancouver Island businesses were targeted by similar telemarketing campaigns in October 2004, the spring of 2005, February 2006 and January 2008. VIHA has written to the company asking them to stop soliciting businesses for this purpose. VIHA also filed formal complaints with the Competition Bureau and the Business Practices Consumer Protection Authority.

The company behind the scheme has previously targeted businesses in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and the United States. In December 2003, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission won an injunction preventing the company from making false claims regarding the marketing of any products or services for donation.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority is always grateful for donations to support legitimate hospital projects. Anyone wishing to make a donation to benefit hospital services should contact their local hospital foundation at www.viha.ca/about_viha/foundations.htm.

— Vancouver Island Health Authority

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