What to Know When Shopping in Charity Shops

~ Posted on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 11:23 PM ~

The recent economic crisis has meant we’ve all had to tighten our purse strings. Shopping in charity shops is a brilliant solution to saving pennies when you need to update your wardrobe. The work of second-hand shops raises millions of pounds for good causes each year not only providing much needed funds for not-for-profits but also playing a major role in recycling of second-hand goods.

Today almost anything can be bought in charity shops, from clothes to old computers, DVDs to home furnishings. Donating old belongings to these shops is a really simple way to get rid of unwanted clutter that may be of use to others, helping them make cash for clothing and other goods and continue their charitable work.

Unlike purchasing from a high street store, charity shop prices vary from day-to-day, garment-to-garment. The pricing is based on many things. Firstly the location of the charity shop will play an important part. A pair of branded jeans for sale in Oxfam in London will be more expensive than a pair of jeans in an Oxfam in a small Northern town. The condition is the next important factor, along with the price of the item when it was sold new. You can expect to find bargains in charity shops, but volunteers are well aware of the value of designer and top-quality brand goods, so you will still have to pay a good price to get your hands on these items.

The internet has made it easier for charity shop volunteers to get prices more accurate too, as a quick web search will bring up new prices or the typical bids for similar second-hand items on auction sites. You used to be able to hunt down extremely cheap but valuable antiques in charity shops, however charity shop workers are now able to find out exactly how much an old vase or teapot be worth to a collector.

When you buy second-hand items from a charity shop, you have certain different rights to when you buy new. Goods are usually sold ‘as seen’ so you have a responsibility to check products carefully for any damage or imperfections that you are not happy with. You may not be able to return goods, but if you do you are likely to be given a credit note from the shop rather a cash refund. Always keep the receipt and return the items as soon as possible.

If you do buy brand new goods from a charity-shop, then you have the same rights as if you were to buy new from another shop which is run for profit. If the item is faulty or damaged you are entitled to a cash refund.

When you wish to donate your own second-hand items, each shop will have its own donation process. Many will accept boxes and bags of goods at the counter, or enable you to leave goods outside the premises overnight, and some may also provide free collection of large, heavy items of furniture like sofas or appliances such as fridges.

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