When asked to donate to a thrift store, charity regulators recommend that people take these steps:
1--Ask if the store is charitable or for-profit. In California, for-profit stores may not solicit donations.
2--If the solicitor says the store is charitable ask for the name and telephone number of the sponsoring charity and call.
3--In the City of Los Angeles charities must obtain an "information card" before soliciting. The card discloses what percentage of store sales will go to charity. Ask to see the card or to have the information, including registration number, read to you. Parallel disclosure ordinances govern unincorporated areas of Los Angeles and Orange counties. Some smaller cities also have similar requirements with enforcement usually handled by the police, but sometimes by the city attorney or even the city clerk.
4--For more information, Los Angeles residents can call the city Social Services Department at (213) 485-5003.