Beware Of Misleading Requests For Clothes Donations

Wandsworth Trading Standards Officers are concerned residents are being misled

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Trading standards officers have renewed their warnings to residents to beware of misleading leaflets being put through their doors, asking for clothes donations.

The leaflets request spare and unwanted clothes, towels and blankets so they can be distributed to needy people in the developing world and eastern Europe.

Many people wrongly believe that these leaflets are from charities. In reality, they are being distributed by commercial firms that are collecting clothes in order to sell them.

One firm in particular is understood to have been delivering pamphlets and leaflets to homes in the borough in recent weeks.

The leaflets are not illegal and the firms are not breaking the law because they do not actually say they are collecting for charity. However trading standards officials are warning that the clear intention is to make people think they are charitable enterprises.

The Association of Charity Shops estimates that charities lose between £2 million and £3 million a year as a result of donations given to commercial companies by people who mistakenly think they are helping charitable good causes.

Top tips for spotting a bogus charity collection:

  • Does the sack or leaflet say the collection is for a registered charity? If so, what is the registered charity number - call 0845 3000 218 or visit the online register of charities at to check it's genuine.
  • Does the leaflet only give a registered company number? This just means that the organisation is registered with Companies House.
  • Is the charity actually named? Be wary of wording that just says 'families in need' or 'sick children at Christmas'.
  • Does the leaflet or bag give a phone number? The absence of a phone number may mean the collectors don't want to answer questions.


March 10, 2011