Monday, January 16, 2012

Spring cleaners beware of bogus charity clothes collections

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has urged people to be wary of bogus charity clothes collections, ahead of the spring clean season.

“We’re coming to that time of year when many of us will decide to do a bit of a clear out, ridding our homes of unwanted goods and clothing. Most of us will have received leaflets through our letter boxes for clothing collections, but it’s important to make sure only genuine charities benefit from any donations.

“Clothing collections are of huge value to legitimate charities, providing them with a much needed income stream, which makes it all the more important to ensure you aren’t being duped by a bogus operator. Phoney collections give the false impression that they are selling donated clothes for charitable causes, when in reality that could not be further from the truth.

“According to Oxfam Ireland, the clothes are often sold in parts of Eastern Europe, Russia or Africa, with none of the money going to charity. In some cases the goods are sold at car boot sales in Ireland.

“These nefarious practices are of course hitting the very charities that donors are trying to help out. The bogus operators are disrupting an essential source of revenue for charitable organisations, and they are stymieing the generosity and good deeds of members of the public.

“Charities such as Oxfam, Barnardos, the St Vincent de Paul and Enable Ireland rely on the clothing donations to fund their services or stock to their shops. So if you are considering clearing out the wardrobe or the cupboard over the next month or so, please make sure your goods are going to a good cause.

“While many of the leaflets that come through your door may at first glance look genuine, it’s worth taking a closer look. Reputable collections should have a website on the label and their bags should bear the Irish Charity Shops Association logo; a coat hanger symbol with ICSA written inside. They should also have an address and registered charity number, as well as a landline to contact.

“If you have any doubts, you should log on to the Irish Charity Shops Association website to check out a list of charities in your area.”

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