Look Before You Donate

Before you donate those bell-bottom jeans, check to see who you are actually donating them too. They might not actually be going to charity. 

Because not every bin is what it appears to be, Connecticut is enacting a new law to protect you from becoming a victim of fraud. Starting Oct. 1, anyone who puts out a bin to collect items must label it with a notice, in block letters at least 2 inches high, stating whether donations are for charity or not.

There is a precedent for this, according to state officials.

American Recycling Technologies of East Northport, N.Y. must pay the state $50,000 for misleading donors into believing their donations were going to charity.

The company has had about 70 clothing bins at any one time in the Naugatuck Valley and Fairfield County areas that prominently display labels of various charitable and service organizations on its bins.

Less than 10 percent of the bins' proceeds went to those groups. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says most of the donations were sold as rags in the U.S. or oversees to Third World countries.

If your bin is being placed in a parking lot or another public place, you will need permission from the property owner.
The law also requires that you include the name of the nonprofit organization benefiting from the donation and contact information for the state Department of Consumer Protection.

If the shoes, clothing or household goods being collected are not for charity, that information must appear on the bin as well.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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