Jo Swinson MP has warned East Dunbartonshire residents not to be conned into donating clothing and other goods by companies posing as charities.
Jo was alerted to the problem after one of her constituents, Calum Proctor, received a flier requesting a donation of old clothes from a company called Helpmates Ltd.
Although the flier notes in small print that Helpmates Ltd is a commercial company, it presents itself as a charity and claims donations are “urgently needed” for people in the Third World. Mr Proctor has since received similar requests from other companies.
“Although this and other companies are not breaking the law, their actions are highly irresponsible, bordering on deceitful.
“It is very important that when people give generously and in the spirit of charity, they are not misled about who reaps the benefits of their donation.
“I have written to the Office of Fair Trading to make them aware of this company and to look into what action can be taken to tackle this problem.
“In the meantime, I would urge people to continue donating to charity, but to either give to recognised charities or look out for the Registered Charity Number on printed literature that denotes official charity status.”
Calum Proctor commented:
“I’m not usually too active in contacting my MP but when I saw the Helpmates flier I was pretty disgusted. It really is below the belt for a profit-making company to muscle in on the territory of a charity in this way, particularly when it makes a deliberate attempt to deceive or confuse people.”