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Minnesota attorney general accuses Savers of misleading public about donations

Minnesota attorney general accuses Savers of misleading public about donations

(THE MED CITY BEAT) - Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson accuses the Savers thrift store chain of misleading the public of about how much it pays local charities.

Savers LLC, a Seattle-based company, has 330 stores in North America and Australia, including one in Rochester. In addition to Savers, the company operates under the names Unique Thrift and Value Thrift.

The stores solicit donations of clothing and household goods by saying some of the proceeds benefit charities, including Vietnam Veterans of America, the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota, Courage Kenney Foundation and True Friends.

But the attorney general's office claims the company is not fully disclosing how the proceeds from those donated goods are distributed. The Star Tribune reports:

For instance, someone who donates a dress that would sell for $6.99 at the thrift store can deduct $6.99 on their taxes. However, Savers may pay the charity only 40 cents per cubic foot of clothing donated, or pennies per dress, according to the report.

In cases of non-clothing donations, Savers or Apogee pockets the entire donation and gives the charity nothing.
— 11/24

The attorney general's office said it has been investigating the case for about a year, and is sending a copy of the report to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Savers responded late Monday in a statement:

We provide our nonprofit partners in Minnesota a reliable and essential source of funds for the vital work they do in the community, such as furthering medical research, offering support to veterans and their families, and rehabilitation services and care for children and adults with disabilities. Likewise, our retail stores are able to offer low-cost and high-quality merchandise for consumers, strong career tracks and benefits for our more than 650 employees in Minnesota, as well as benefits to the environment through the reuse and recycling of goods.
— 11/24

The Star Tribune reports the company was not willing to provide an executive to answer a reporter's questions.


(Cover photo: File / Mike Mozart / Creative Commons)

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