BBB warning consumers about group passing out pink donation bags - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

BBB warning consumers about group passing out pink donation bags

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

A warning for consumers from the Better Business Bureau about pink donation bags popping up outside homes across Charlotte.

The bags say the donation is going to one place, but the BBB isn't sure where your donations are going.

Greg Smith lives in the Willowmere community in South Charlotte remembers getting his Wednesday morning.

"It said to deposit anything that you possibly could for Hope House," he recalled.

Trouble is, it's not for the Hope House. WBTV has learned the bags are from a group out of Atlanta called Nspire Outreach.

"It's frustrating," said Smith.

Frustrating, too for Charlotte's Better Business Bureau. Tom Bartholemy says the group has changed its story on who the donations benefit.

At first it was domestic violence victims -- now the homeless.

"They're being used by homeless folks in Charlotte," he said. "We haven't been able to verify that as of yet."

What they have verified? The company's "F" rating by the BBB in Atlanta and more than half dozen complaints, most of which Nspire never responded to.

And Bartholemy says their office get calls everyday about the bags.

"Who is this," he recalled. "What are they about? Is this a good organization? And it's next to impossible to tell."

Impossible since NSpire has designated itself as a church and therefore doesn't have to disclose tax returns.

"So it's impossible for an org like the BBB to determine where the money is coming from and how they're spending it," he said. 

Back to Smith who says groups like Nspire can make it difficult for folks to trust those legitimately doing good in our community.

"I think you have to be careful with everything that you're doing and whoever you're donating to," he cautioned. "So you know just be aware."

The BBB says you should only give to organizations you trust and that if you receive one of these pink bags, call them and file a report.

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