Clothing collections warning
Families are being warned doorstep clothing collections could hit local charities in the pocket by taking away their donations.
A leaflet has been distributed to homes in Norwich, asking for old and unwanted clothes, but while it may look like it is from a charity, there is no charity number listed and the only organisation named is a company.
The leaflet itself, pictured right, is almost identical in wording to one by the same company, Rutex, which was found by the Advertising Standards Authority last year to be misleading people into thinking it was for a charity.
The ASA ruled that it broke the rules on truthfulness because it implied the collection was for charity and ordered the company, which failed to respond to any of its communications, that it should not hand out any more of the leaflets.
However, fliers bearing Rutex's name have been posted through letterboxes in Norwich. They say: 'Not everyone and especially young families can afford to buy new often expensive clothes, shoes and household things.'
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It goes on to ask people to 'kindly donate' clothes, towels, handbags, soft toys and shoes.
It says: 'You donations are sent to the third-world countries to help clothe the poor.'
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Today one Norwich charity said that it relies on donations to keep funding its work in the Norwich area, and urged people to be wary of sweeping or vague leaflets for doorstep collections.
Cathryn Parrish, head of fundraising for Norfolk and Waveney's cancer charity, the Big C, said: 'We appreciate that members of the public are often happy to have their second hand clothing picked up from their doorstep, but most of us would be annoyed if we knew we were being deliberately misled about where the income from our own houses is going.
'There are vulnerable people in our local communities – who we will all know – whose lives are radically improved by the work that local charities can carry out thanks to donations to real charities.
'For the record – Big C does not leave doorstep collections bags; please don't be fooled by any bags purporting to be connected to us.
'If you're unable to get your donations to your nearest Big C shop, we're happy to come and collect from your doorstep – just please bear in mind that we rely on volunteers to help us.'
The Evening News tried to contact Rutex, but the contact details it provides on the leaflets are invalid.
A search on the Companies House website shows that Rutex Ltd has not filed any accounts, and while it is still active, there is a proposal to strike it off.
A spokesperson for the ASA said that while it had ordered Rutex not to hand out any more of the leaflets, as an organisation it was unable to enforce this.
They said that if people receive these fliers they should contact their local Trading Standards department or the police.
Do you have a story for the Evening News? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.