TRA in warning over ‘fake’ charity clothing banks

The Textile Recycling Association (TRA) has called on landowners, local authorities and clothing bank operators to be vigilant over the potential use of clothing banks falsely claiming to be linked to charities.  

The call came in response to reports of fake and unlicensed banks having appeared in the south east of England.

TRA has warned over 'fake' charity collection banks
TRA has warned over ‘fake’ charity collection banks

Alan Wheeler, director of the TRA, said that although the vast majority of clothing collection banks are operated in a legitimate manner, “in a number of instances, unscrupulous operators are simply dumping clothing collection banks on sites without any permission from landowners or site operators and are profiteering through deceiving the public and a lack of action to get these banks removed.”

Legitimate clothing collection banks should carry the name of the business or charity servicing the bank, TRA said, with contact details such as a landline telephone number and website with postal address to trace the operator also clearly displayed.

According to the TRA, the process of getting unlicensed clothing banks removed in a legal manner is straightforward, and the Association can offer advice and assistance in the removal process.

The issue was highlighted in a feature on the BBC television programme ‘Fake Britain’ last week (9 January), which reported on banks being dumped in Harlow, Essex, with no contact details but with links to an unregistered charity.

Action

Ian Woods, president of the TRA, said that landowners and site managers should look out for banks appearing on their sites without having received operators’ permission.

He added: “Regrettably, there are a very small number of sham charities that are registered with the Charity Commission, that have been set up for illegal or improper purpose by some illegitimate clothing collectors, purely so that they can carry the charity branding on their banks.

“From the evidence we have seen very little, if any, money raised through the sale of clothing collected through these banks actually ends up being used for the charities stated philanthropic aims.”

The TRA advised that if a clothing bank is a charity bank operated by a commercial business, there should be a solicitation statement explaining how the charity benefits from the donated clothing.

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