Against Breast Cancer and Recycling Clothes Company Ltd: February 2020

Name and type of organisation/s: Against Breast Cancer (registered charity no. 1121258) a health charity, and its agency Recycling Clothes Company Ltd

Fundraising method: Charity bags

Code themes examined: The delivery of a charity bag to a ‘restricted address,’ complaint handling, learning from complaints and the charity’s monitoring of third parties

Code breach? 

  • Against Breast Cancer: Yes
  • Recycling Clothes Company Ltd: No

The complaint

The complainant told us that, despite contacting Recycling Clothes Company Ltd (the agency) on more than three occasions and being advised that their street was on a 'do not distribute list', charity bags continued to be delivered to their address on behalf of Against Breast Cancer (the charity). The complainant was also unhappy with both organisations’ responses to his complaint.

What happened?

The complainant contacted us in October 2018 to tell us that they had received a charity bag delivered by the agency on behalf of the charity, despite having previously contacted the agency to advise that they did not wish to receive any. The agency disputed that it could have delivered the charity bag because it had not been working in the area at the time. 

Our decision

We originally issued our final decision into this case in January 2019, which upheld the complaint against both the charity and the agency. The charity subsequently requested an external review of our decision. This took place and the external reviewer issued their final report in August 2019. The review partially upheld the charity’s complaint against us and recommended that we review our original reasoning in light of the findings.

The findings and recommendations set out below reflect those contained in our revised decision, which was issued to all parties to the original complaint in November 2019.

We found that we could not reconcile the conflicting evidence relating to the delivery of the charity bag, and therefore were unable to reach a finding on this point.

We found that the charity had failed to investigate the complaint thoroughly, so was in breach of the Code of Fundraising Practice (the code). We found that although the charity had a number of provisions in place to monitor the agency, they failed to properly monitor the agency’s investigation into this complaint, so was in breach of the code on this point.


We recommended that the charity’s trustees review the quality measures in place to monitor complaints that are given to third parties acting on their behalf to investigate. We recommended that they consider what changes they need to make to enhance how this process allows them to monitor the performance of those third parties effectively.


The charity accepted our recommendations. We asked that the charity write to us within two months of our revised decision to update us about the action it has taken in line with our recommendation.