MONTREAL—The next time you decide to donate clothing, make sure you read the fine print on the metal bin or your good deed may not go to its intended destination.

The large, metal containers are the lifeblood of some registered charities that resell the clothes to support their cause. For others, it’s just about turning a profit.

Private companies are moving in on the turf of charitable clothes donations, even providing containers that look identical to charitable ones.

“They're the exact replica of ours, the only change is in terms of the name,” Phillippe Siebes of the FQDI, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, said. “So yes, it is very deceiving.”

The Fondation Quebecoise de la deficience intellectuelle(FQDI) uses the sales of the clothing to finance projects that help associations which provide aid to people with intellectual deficiencies. The Salvation Army, which has been around for 130 years, uses the money raised to help women and men’s shelters.

They are both registered charities with financial records available to the public.

Others aren’t.

La Fondation Quebecoise de famille monoparentale (FQFM) and Le Fond Quebecois Dedie (FQDS) au sport are two organizations with containers that collect clothing while question marks hang over their charitable status.

The FQFM told CTV News it was registered with Revenue Canada as a charitable organization. But they are not. And they did not deliver promised documents to prove otherwise, nor did they turn up at their offices for an interview as agreed.

The FQDS paints its bins in the same colour as the FQDI.

The FQDS is run by Deitan Dumais, who owns Vortex, a business which buys used clothing and sells it for a profit.

“We buy clothes from the FQDI and other places,” said Dumais. “We’re not a charitable organization.”

Dumais asked for patience as he organizes a fund that will offer donations to youth causes. But he has offered no further details except that he has rented out an arena to provide youth in St-Leonard with free weeklong hockey camps this summer.