Two Queenslanders have been slapped with whopping fines after they were accused of illegally dumping items outside a local St Vincent de Paul shop.
But both Mailene Faisal and Bradley Haynes are furious at the $2000 fines, claiming they were simply trying to do a good thing.
Ms Faisal, a pensioner, left furniture outside a local St Vincent de Paul shop in Brisbane and was fined weeks later.
“I’m donating stuff to help people, and then I get a fine,” Ms Faisal told 9 News .
“I thought it was a hoax … I thought someone was trying to get money out of me.”
Brisbane dad Bradley Haynes will also have to fork out $2000 after he dropped a nearly brand-new filing cabinet outside the store after it had closed.
“I thought it was all good, I had done the good deed, and I went home,” Mr Haynes said.
“Two months later I received a letter in the mail saying we had been dumping and they had a video of it.”
The St Vincent de Paul store has signs placed outside, in a bid to stop people from leaving items.
“Please donate during shop hours,” the sign reads.
“Do not leave donations outside as this is considered littering. Offenders will be prosecuted.”
St Vincent de Paul’s website also advises people to only drop items during shop hours.
“You can drop off your wonderful donations of good quality clothes and household items to your local Vinnies shop during business hours,” the website reads.
“You can also place donations into the donation bins provided.
“If they are full, please do not leave donations outside the bins as they are likely to get damaged due to the weather/environment and we will have to take them to landfill.”
In a statement, Brisbane City Council said it forks out $800,000 a year cleaning up illegal dumping.
Anything left on a footpath or outside a charity is considered illegal dumping and offenders can be fined up to $10,000, the council added.
Charities spend millions each year getting rid of dumped goods outside their stores with more than 30 per cent of the one million tonnes people try donating to charity heading to landfill instead.
In 2018, news.com.au reported on the struggles charities faced when trying to get sellable furniture from Aussies.
At the time, Salvation Army’s national director Matt Davis said the charity had lost more than a million dollars in revenue that year due to the rise of second-hand websites including Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace.
“There’s this common misconception that whatever gets donated just gets given away to people in need but the reality is that most of what gets donated is sold by us and we can then use the profit from that to help people,” Mr Davies said.
“It might seem like we’re fussy but we have to think about what the community will actually be willing to buy because if we can’t sell it, we then have to pay to get rid of it.
“From my personal experience, it’s often because people just aren’t bothered to go to the tip so they call us instead. They don’t realise it’s costing us millions each year to get rid of that.”
Retail development manager at St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, Jacqui Dropulic, also revealed the charity had spent $1.75 million managing waste in NSW alone in 2017.
“That’s $1.75 million taken away from frontline services,” she said.