IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Beware dubious 'charity' collections in Knutsford | Knutsford Times

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Beware dubious ‘charity’ collections in Knutsford

By on October 1, 2009

The collectors make their leaflets and collection bags, the most recent of which were put through letterboxes this week, appear to belong to a worthy cause.

They make references to householders’ generosity and global poverty, carry charity-style logos and print lengthy numbers which appear to belong to a registered charity. Their literature even includes ironic lines such as “please help those who really need your support”.

However, in reality, anyone putting out clothing and goods for these collections will only be supporting the collectors themselves. They are usually profit-making companies who are only interested in lining their own pockets at the expense of genuine charities.

The reference numbers they list are usually limited company numbers. A quick check with Companies House reveals that the ambiguous number quoted in collection bags distributed in the Moor area this week belongs to a business registered to an address in Essex.

Bogus charity collectors have become an increasing problem in recent years, exploiting a grey area in the law. As long as they don’t actually directly claim to be a charity, they can get away with appearing as one through the tone and design of their collection bags and leaflets.

Some – such as a leaflet which was distributed in Knutsford last month – can also get away with saying the items you provide will be re-used in the third world and/or Africa. This is because they actually will be – the clothes will be getting sent to these areas, only at a tidy profit to the collector who sells them for recycling in a normal business transaction.

The problem of bogus charity collections has been repeatedly highlighted by the Office of Fair Trading and is said to be costing genuine charities millions of pounds every year.

You can avoid falling prey to it by closely inspecting the information on leaflets and bags. Even better, call the Charity Commission on 0870 333 0123 and they should be able to check.   

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