Press releases

New toolkit to help trading standards fight charity clothes collection scams

charity collection enforcement toolkitA new Enforcement Toolkit has been launched today (14 Sept) at the Charity Clothes Collection Symposium which came together to address theft and fraud issues within the sector.

Door-to-door charity bag collections are a vital income generator for many charities but crime has become widespread and is costing the sector an estimated £50million each year.  

The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) has taken the lead to help trading standards tackle the criminal operators, who are tricking householders into donating their unwanted clothes and goods with misleading statements on the collection bags.

Andy Foster, TSI’s operations director, said: “Charity clothes collection scams where purely commercial companies make misleading statements on the bags are a real problem that have been cause for concern for trading standards for many years.
 “However, the lack of clarity in the legislation that applies has often made it difficult for trading standards to take action.
“We have now stepped in to clarify the law with the help of Nigel Jones QC and have created a handy Enforcement Toolkit for trading standards practitioners to use.  
“We are confident that it is going to make a real difference in the fight against crime ultimately improving consumer confidence which has been dented by bogus collections.”
Alistair McLean, chief executive of the Fundraising Standards Board, said:
“Charity bag collections are a vital income generator for many organisations and, with the additional benefits of saving unnecessary waste that would otherwise be headed for landfill, it is a charity fundraising technique that must be protected.
“Bogus collections and bag theft are costing charities dearly, both in lost income and public mistrust.  This new toolkit is an important step forward in bringing about more enforcement, discouraging crime and enabling the UK public to give with confidence.”

The toolkit will be available to the trading standards as a protected web based facility from next week (w/c 19 September).

Notes for Editors:
For further information, a photograph or to arrange an interview please contact Irja Howie at TSI press office on 08456089430 / 07780675815 or

The Charity Clothing Collections Symposium is hosted today (14 September) by the Fundraising Standards Board and Institute of Fundraising. Addressing the impact of theft and fraudulent collection, the event advises delegates what can be done to minimise future theft, how to implement the standards set out in the new Code and how to help supporters recognise legitimate collections. For further information, see

Trading Standards Institute (TSI)
TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally.  We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.
TSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses.  We are also supporting the delivery of initiatives such as the advice services Consumer Direct, UK ECC and ECCS.