'Charity' Clothing Collections  


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Many charities now ask householders for old clothes and other items, which can be sold for charitable purposes. However, not everyone who comes to your home, or drops in a plastic bag is operating on behalf of a charity. Some collectors will be businesses, asking for unwanted items which can be sold for profit.

It is estimated by the Association of Charity Shops that the potential value of donated clothing and other items ‘lost’ to legitimate charities as a result of these bogus collections amounts to over £1m per annum. Many genuine charities rely on such doorstep collections for a substantial proportion of their shop sales.

Typically, householders receive flyers through their letterboxes appealing for donations of unwanted clothes, footwear and sometimes other household and electrical items to be distributed to poor individuals and families in Eastern European or third world countries.

Householders are asked to leave the goods in a plastic bag by the front door. These are later collected anonymously.

The flyers give the misleading impression that the items are being collected for charitable purposes. In reality, the collections seem to be organised by commercial operators who sell the donated items for profit.

Local newspaper article


Our advice:

Visit the Charity Commission  website or call their helpline on 0870 333 0123 to check whether the collection is for a registered charity.

Contact your local district authority to see if the collector has been licensed.

If you want to make sure your donation will go to charity give direct to a local charity shop instead or donate to a charity shop collection sack.

These should make clear reference to the charity registration number and many will also carry the Association of Charity Shops mark.