Trading Standards donates counterfeit clothes mountain to charity

Posted on: 30 June 2017

Around 5000 seized items of counterfeit clothes  have been donated to the charity Planet Zero by Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service.

The mainly counterfeit goods, which include track suits, t-shirts, sweatshirts and trainers, are the result of seizures by trading standards officers across the area.

Trading standards officers loaded a lorry bound for the charity,  which collects unwanted clothes for a good cause, with clothes and other items.

The clothes were stored at the service’s secure compound in Somerset. Every year thousands of products that breach trading standards legislation are seized.

Many bear logos or designs,  like Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren,  that infringe trademarks legislation.

Often these counterfeit products are distributed by organised criminal gangs with the proceeds used to support wider criminality.

The seizures not only remove the items from the market but disrupt the activities of these gangs.

By donating these clothes to charity they can be re-used after they have been rebranded. This helps those in need and reduces the volume of waste being sent to landfill.

Councillor John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council, said: 

Cllr John Hart

“The size of this consignment shows the good work that is being done by trading standards officers, to ensure that fakes are removed from sale and level playing field is maintained for honest traders.”

Councillor David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council, said:

“Counterfeiting is illegal and damages legitimate businesses. This donation is a good way for counterfeit goods to be repurposed for a worthwhile cause.”

Councillor Robert Excell, Torbay Council’s Executive Lead with responsibility for Trading Standards said:

“Our shared service is pleased to be able to work with a charity to recycle items that would otherwise have been destroyed.
“The clothes will be donated to a good cause.”

5 comments on “Trading Standards donates counterfeit clothes mountain to charity

  1. Chris Shaw says:

    Thank you for your reply David, whilst not wishing to specifically disadvantage Planet Zero, the old adage should apply “charity begins at home “.
    With further (government and local authority economising and funding being reduced for local charities supplying vital services to communities in Devon, local charity shops would have been delighted to be included in this ‘level playing field’ and let’s not forget that in local charities every pound raised in Devon stays and gets spent in Devon, whereas , the national charities whilst also doing good work all their fund raising goes straight out of Devon.
    Whilst having a vested interest, I am not posting which local charity (with shops) that supports only local community, with increasing difficulty in fund raising that I chair.

    • david.beasley says:

      Thanks Chris, you have made some reasonable points. I will pass on your comments to our trading standards officers.

    • david.beasley says:

      Hi Chris

      We consider a variety of charities when undertaking the disposal of counterfeit goods, although the specific requirements relating to trade marked items make it difficult for all organisations to provide a suitable disposal route. Having said that we’d certainly like to hear from local charities or good causes in Devon, Somerset and Torbay that think they can provide such a service.

      Aspects that need to be considered are that the de-branding of counterfeit items must be auditable. This means that we would have to be able to trace the re-branding of the goods involved and would have to be confident that any re-branding was of a permanent nature. Where it is not possible to economically remove the branding or re-brand the product, a suitable destructive procedure has to be assured.

      Volumes of disclaimed and forfeited goods are not predictable, nor are the types of goods involved. Consequently it may be some considerable time between disposals and the proportion of items an organisation may have to destroy, may make particular batches unprofitable for the charity or good cause. This could mean that economies of scale dictate that only organisations operating nationally or regionally will find the disposal of such mixed items to be cost effective.

  2. Chris. Shaw says:

    According to Planet Zero’s web site it welcomes clothes and other items which are then resold ( if of merchantable quality or sent for recycling, presumably shredding, if not) through its Charity Shops.
    It does not mention redistributing clothes to the needy as implied in this posting.
    Which is right?
    Surely re-selling through a charity shop is not ‘removing these counterfeit goods from sale and protecting a level playing field for honest traders.

    You can’t have it both ways – this needs clarification.

    • david.beasley says:

      Hi Chris, Thanks for your comments. Planet Zero decides how they re-use the clothes – but they do distribute and sell clothing. Both could be reasonably described as the clothes being donated to a ‘good’ cause as described in the above article.

      I can’t see any specific reference to the clothes being ‘redistributed’ just ‘helping the needy’. Regarding your last point – yes, what we do does remove fake designer items from circulation.

      People buy counterfeit ‘labels’ because they don’t want to pay the price of that brand, and this impacts on the sales of the designer brand and on the outlets and the businesses that sell these brands.

      Because we remove the labels, these now ‘plain’ items of clothing are no longer recognisable as designer items and therefore no longer desirable to those who would want to buy the clothes because of their label.

      The alternative would be to destroy the clothing. So why not give them to charity?

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