What not to share

Merton residents should be aware of commercial companies who are giving the impression they are collecting clothes for charity when in fact they are sold for profit, warns Merton’s trading standards.

Realmday Ltd and Olonex Ltd have recently distributed flyers in Morden, Mitcham and Raynes Park. Companies like this use the impression that they are a charity by saying things like ‘your donation will go to poor families in Eastern Europe’ or ‘all proceeds will go to help the needy’. However it is in fact a lucrative business and the clothes are often shipped to Eastern Europe where they are sold presumably in shops and markets.

No action can be taken against these companies as they are complying with the law. They rely on residents not reading the flyer properly and assuming that they are giving to a worthwhile charity when this is not the case.

To help sort the genuine from the bogus, trading standards have the following advice:
Check that the organiser’s full address and telephone number given on the leaflet.
Make sure the leaflet or collecting bag shows a registered charity number? A ‘registered number’ is not the same thing.
It’s perfectly legal for a professional fundraising company to collect on behalf of a charity but it must say how much of the donation will actually go to the charity.
If an organisation is collecting on behalf of a charity then it should name the charity in any fundraising material. ‘Needy orphans’ and ‘Sick kids’ isn’t specific enough!
If you don’t recognise the charity or company involved then phone for further details before giving. If the response isn’t professional, or there’s no reply or you feel uneasy about the information given then don’t donate.

Councillor Linda Kirby, Merton Council’s cabinet member for Environmental Quality, said: “Please read any leaflets very carefully before you give anything away. You may be boosting a company’s profits rather than helping a worthwhile cause.”

For trading standards advice contact Merton Council on 020 8545 34018, email trading.standards@merton.gov.uk or visit http://www.merton.gov.uk/complaints/tradingstandards.asp


Claire Bartlett
Senior Press & PR Officer
London Borough of Merton
020 8545 3327