I make no secret of the fact that I buy items at charity shops to resell for a profit. I like to think that I have a keen eye for spotting not only a great deal, but also something that will be easy to sell on for a profit (usually on eBay). I have had some people give me abuse online for this, which has led to this post. Is it okay to buy items from charity shops to sell on?
It is okay
- The charity gets the items for free. When they make a sale, they are getting some much needed cash for their cause.
- The stock is rotating – after stock has been in the store for a certain length of time, some charities will have to dispose of the items, usually at a cost to them.
- The charity have set the price themselves. Staff are now well trained on how to price items. They know what to look out for, and having seen behind the scenes in a charity shop, there are informational posters everywhere. Items thought to be more valuable kept aside to explore getting more money for them after weighing up the time it will take against the amount they will receive.
- Charity shops aren't competitively priced any more, so finding item(s) that will sell on for a profit is a rare occurrence – certainly in the charity shops where I live.
- Once you have paid for something, it is yours to do with as you want.
A charity shop manager told me that she can spot an eBay buyer a mile off, and she doesn't care. As long as the shop makes a sale, stock gets out the door and there is money towards their cause, she doesn't mind if she could have sold it for double (or more) online.
It isn't okay
It is moral? The charity has been given the item of certain value, and if the charity shop don't price it to that value, they are missing out. Is it fair for someone to profit from spotting a bargain in the charity shop, or should the charity be made aware of how valuable the item is?
How to give back to the charity
If you do purchase item(s) from a charity shop and then sell them on for profit, you might want to think about the ways in which you can give back to the charity. Some ideas include:
- A financial donation – perhaps a percentage of the profit you have made.
- Donate your unwanted items to that particular charity shop.
- Donate your time – charity shops are often crying out for volunteers (especially over school holidays and weekends) so if you really cannot afford to donate money or unwanted items (because you need to sell them), consider giving the charity shop a few hours of your time. They are often happy to welcome people on a permanent basis, or casually as and when you have time.
Remember that if you are buying something with the intention of selling it on for a profit, you must tell HMRC.
Where do you stand on the debate? Leave a comment below telling me your thoughts.
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