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Minnesota accuses Savers of illegal practices with charitable donations

By Mark Payne | Nov 26, 2014

The Savers thrift store chain's relationship with local charities in Minnesota is under scrutiny after a compliance report found some possible problems with financial practices, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson said.

The report alleges the following:

    • Savers isn't forthcoming about the amount of proceeds kept by Savers and how much is given to charities.

    • Savers gives donors receipts to write off donations as income tax deductions, but doesn't give money to the charity for donations, so it keeps all of the money from the products that are sold. 

    • Savers gives receipts to donors to claim on tax returns for clothing donations mixed with those of other charities, which gives a false representation of what exactly is given to each charity.

“Three bedrock principles of charities law are to respect the intent of the donor, protect charitable assets and be transparent,” Swanson said. “This report identifies deficiencies in all three areas.”

Savers is a for-profit business based in Seattle. It generates more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

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Minnesota Office of the Attorney General