Charities that commission commercial companies to operate door-to-door clothes-collection schemes as a way to raise funds should demand a better deal, according to the British Heart Foundation.
Some charities that do not operate shops have given their names to commercial clothes-collection agencies in return for a slice of income.
Ken Blair, chief executive of the shops division at the BHF, said the charity could get £450 a tonne for clothes sold direct to rag merchants, but collection agencies paid as little as £50 a tonne to charities. "The charities are grateful for the extra cash, but the collectors are making a fortune," he said.
A spokeswoman for Clothes Aid, which runs a donation bag collection scheme, said: "We're a profit-making organisation, but we do provide a social benefit."