They come through your letterbox on a regular basis, but how do you know if the ‘charity’ collection bags asking for your old clothes, shoes, handbags, CD and DVDs and other household items are genuine?
According to the National Fraud Investigation Bureau, charity bag fraud costs £50 million per year in the UK. Some charity bags are distributed by fraudulent collectors who claim that donated goods will go to charities, legitimate or otherwise, but have been pocketing the proceeds for themselves.
A large proportion of charity bag collections are genuine, and they will feature the charity’s details and registered number on the bag. If you want to check them out then you can look up the charity from its registration number on the Charity Commission’s website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/charity-commissionor call the Charity Commission helpline on 0300 066 9197
However as only English or Welsh charities need to be registered with the Charity Commission it means that it’s more difficult to check an overseas-based charity and you may wish to take this into account when deciding whether to support the collection.
If you want to donate it’s also worth being aware that some charity bag collections are run by legitimate commercial collectors on behalf of genuine charities. These commercial collectors will take a percentage of the profits for themselves. This is all perfectly legal but they should tell you this so check out the small print on the charity bag to see how much profit they will keep and make sure you are happy with that before you donate.
Look out for the Buy With Confidence logo – trading standards check traders so you don’t have to.
Visit the website www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk or call The Citizens Advice Consumer Service 0808 223 1133.
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