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Bogus house-to-house charity collectors:
Article from a weekly local newspaper

Headings on this page :

House-to-house charity collectors
selling donations at car boot sales

CALLOUS thieves are operating as
bogus house-to-house charity collectors.

Trading standards officers have
received a flood of complaints from
people who have donated goods
believing they will be passed on to
a good cause - often children's
charities abroad.

But, it seems, the clothes, shoes
and household items collected in
black plastic bags pushed through
people's doors, are simply being
sold-on for personal profit at places
like car boot sales.

The county council's trading standards
department is now warning
people to be on their guard and
advising them to bin the vague
flyers which accompany the bags.

If, however, the leaflets have a
charity registration number printed
on them they are likely to be legitimate
and can be checked out anyway by
calling the Charity Commission
on 08xx xxx xxxx.

If you are in any doubt, but want
to donate, trading standards
advise, take your unwanted goods
directly to a charity shop.

Article above reproduced with the kind permission of the newspaper.

We (CharityBags) have added bold to highlight certain points in the article.
The phone number of the Charity Commission has since changed.

Our comments

Organisations mentioned in the article :

We understand the article (and a similar one in a competing paper) were the result of the local trading standards department (TSD) contacting both local newspapers, asking them to publicise the problem.

We welcome the publicity given to the problem.

However, it's unfortunate that the article doesn't mention you can report suspicious collections to the licensing department of the district council (who can prosecute - using the House to House Collections Act 1939).

The article gives the impression that :

  1. Trading standards is the only regulator which deals with bogus collections.
  2. No regulator has any powers to stop bogus collections.
  3. The only remedy is for the public to avoid donating to bogus collectors.

Points 1, 2 and 3 above are all incorrect.  Note - We're not criticising the newspaper.

Note the wise advice in the final paragraph :