Isle of Man Government
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Isle of Man Government Office of Fair Trading

Make sure your generosity benefits a genuine good cause

The Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading and the Isle of Man Constabulary have recently dealt with enquiries and complaints concerning traders who have been active in the Island collecting clothes for charitable purposes.

These traders typically drop collection bags through letterboxes with the charitable cause and the collection date indicated on the packaging.

Any trader operating in such a manner is required to obtain a licence from the police before doing so. There is no fee for the licence.

Rogue traders without the necessary licence may also fall foul of consumer protection legislation if their advertising is in any way false or misleading and the OFT will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action in such circumstances.

Householders should be aware of the fact that these traders may not be collecting on behalf of well known charitable causes. This in itself is not a problem unless the charitable cause is actually bogus. There have been instances in the UK of clothes having been collected by rogue traders who have subsequently sold the clothes at car boot sales for their own benefit.

Concerned householders who wish to make sure that their clothes are being collected for charitable purposes should initially contact the OFT for advice. Officers of the OFT will then make enquiries of the police to establish whether or not the trader concerned has the necessary licence and try to discover the validity of the charitable cause.

Chairman Of the Office of Fair Trading Bill Henderson said

“People are very generous on this Island and are happy to give to charities even when things are financially tough. Giving clothes which they no longer wear is a good way of doing this. Although the vast majority of traders who operate in this way are genuine it is important that people understand that there are always people willing to take advantage of their good nature. Contact the OFT if you have any concerns about callers to your door who say they are collecting on behalf of charities”.

Mike Radcliffe, Crime Prevention Officer said

‘Almost all charitable collections are legitimate but there is always the risk of opportunists seeking to exploit the generous nature of Island residents. Anyone who collects money or other property ‘house to house’ on behalf a charity must obtain a Charitable Collection Licence from the police. If in doubt, you can ask any collector to see their licence.
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