Warning over bogus clothes collections in St Albans

PUBLISHED: 19:52 09 April 2010 | UPDATED: 15:02 06 May 2010

A WARNING is being sent out to local residents about door-to-door clothes collections by unscrupulous organisations posing as charities. One suspect organisation that has distributed bags in the St Albans area recently is called Do Not Delay, which claims

A WARNING is being sent out to local residents about door-to-door clothes collections by unscrupulous organisations posing as charities.

One suspect organisation that has distributed bags in the St Albans area recently is called Do Not Delay, which claims to be a charity helping those with breast cancer in Eastern Europe.

Many unsuspecting people nationwide have filled the bags with clothes believing that they are doing their bit in the fight against cancer, but it is not a registered charity in the UK and items it collects are thought to be sold on for commercial profit with a small percentage going to charity.

Although it is not necessarily illegal, the Charity Commission confirmed that concerns had been raised about Do Not Delay.

A spokesperson said the collections were being carried out by Intersecond Ltd on behalf of Do Not Delay and another so-called organisation Azzara, both of which appeared to be based in Lithuania.

She added: "We are currently considering the concerns raised to determine if there is any role for us."

A St Albans resident, who did not want to be named, said he was dismayed to see so many bags of clothes left out in the recent collection by Do Not Delay. He said: "This is a sickening company which pretends that anything donated to them will help the fight against breast cancer.

"I have myself knocked on a few doors to inform residents that have left bags out for these organisations. These people have thanked me and have been horrified that this sort of practice goes on."

He added: "The fact of the matter is that most people simply are unaware that they are donating to a company and not a charity which makes it all the more sickening. A lot of money is being diverted from real charities."

Issuing advice for local residents suspicious of bogus collections, the spokesperson for the Charities Commission advised people to check whether a collection was genuine by visiting www.charitycommission.gov.uk or calling 0845 3000 218.

"If an organisation has a valid charity number, it is regulated by us and will not be operating for private benefit.

Genuine

"If an organisation is legitimately collecting on behalf of a charity, it should name the charity in its fundraising literature and state how much of your donation goes to the charity.

"Anyone who is concerned that their donations may not go to a genuine charity should give directly to a local charity shop."

A spokesperson for Herts Trading Standards issued similar advice.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has also launched a campaign warning people about clothes collections and claims that sometimes as little as four-and-a-half per cent of the income goes to charity.

Suzanne Halsey, area manager for BHF retail in Herts, said: "Some charities form partnerships with commercial companies who collect door-to-door. The company keeps all the donated goods and then re-sells them for profit, mostly to overseas markets. They then make a royalty payment to the charity.


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