‘Freebies’ or ‘Deals’ from Registered Charities Shouldn’t Be Allowed

This post: https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/354004 is a case in point. Posts that take from the goodwill of a charity and claim to be ‘deals’ or ‘freebies’ should not be allowed. The moderators should take a stance against them and delete them.

OzBargain can be a powerful community and has the power to completely overwhelm and wreck the good initiatives of a charity if people take from them just because it’s free.

UPDATE 12:05 pm 8 JAN: Take down request received from ACON regarding deal linked above - taking down both items.

Mod (9/1): We've made the following actions and changes to the guidelines.

  • Added the following to our deal posting guidelines: Freebie deal posts from charities targeted at specific groups where you receive a physical item in the mail are not permitted (with exception of a deal posted by a rep).
    • Encourage charity discussion in the forums
    • See if we can initiate a wiki page of resources for sexual health freebies, services like our mental health page.
    • Suggest that ProspectiveDarkness or the 5 others who agreed with his comment about homophobic comments not being moderated properly, start a thread so we can determine what comments are and what aren't. I think there is much confusion with this (on OzBargain and in real life) especially as within an hour I was accused of being a homophobe and also pro-gay (in a derogatory manner).

Poll Options

  • 112
    Posts involving ‘freebies’ from charities should be allowed
  • 620
    Posts involving ‘freebies’ from charities should not be allowed


  • +3 votes

    You should add a poll.

  • Thanks for creating this discussion as it's important to get feedback from the community so we can create/change guidelines.

    For clarity if we want to ban ALL charity freebies, it's probably best to list some of the freebie charity deals posted from recent times (that I can recall):

    to name a few. So if we ban ALL freebies from charities keep in mind those above will be banned.

    The second issue is in regards to who the freebies are targeted at. So for the one in the OP's post, LBGTI members. OzHarvest Pay What you Want, those who aren't well off. etc. We definitely have members that fall into both categories on this site.

    • +21 votes

      Posting them under freebies is wrong. A new catergory for them will be better or maybe you can add them into the ozbargain wiki.

    • Thanks for the links Neil.

      Yes, I personally think all of these posts should’ve been banned. It’s hard to pick and choose what might overwhelm and charity and which might not, and I think the risks of the powerful OzBargain community overwhelming and totally brodening a charity far outweigh any good that can be done. Let’s face it, the majority of OzBargain users probably aren’t regularly in need of charitable resources.

      It seems to me, based on recent promotions and posts for the site’s birthday and Boxing Day, That OzBargain is looking to be taken more seriously and become a respectable way for businesses to promote their sales and themselves. Having the exploitation of charities on the site really detracts from OzBargain efforts to be taken seriously.

      • Maybe change the heading and poll to mention "goodwill". As you mentioned in the description, posts that take from the goodwill of a charity and claim to be ‘deals’ or ‘freebies’ should not be allowed.

        But my own view is that guidelines are just that, they don't have to be followed if not appropriate. That is why they are called guidelines. Moderators need to use their discretion. Moderators are not forced to leave that deal up due to any guideline. Moderator discretion overrules all guidelines.

      • Actually… Kind of this… There's only a slight chance that members of the OZB community that legitimately needed the aforementioned Charity deals relied solely on finding out about them here. Even if they were listed as a discussion topic, with no room for comments, no front page, just a thread that showed up only if you went looking for it… It would still get the word out there for those in need.

    • entities that have a dgr status and any others that don't but have a political agenda should be banned.


    • +16 votes

      While the above may all be freebies, there are clear distinctions between some of the deals. Something like the Adani sticker is marketed to the general population, as are the occasional free condom sample deals posted. Meanwhile, and this is where the issue arises, the deal linked by the OP explicitly stipulates it is only targeted to a subset of the population. From my perspective it is in good faith to respectfully consider the intention of the vendor/charity/et al. and exercise discretion when coming across such 'deals.'

      Indeed, the OP shamefully condoning users to exploit the goodwill of the charity in question (see revision) is in very poor form among other things.

      In no way do I speak on behalf of ACON, however I dare say they would echo the sentiments of this company whose goodwill was similarly exploited:

      Most of the sample requests that came through from your website were not genuine and took our staff away from helping people who are in need.

    • Maybe 'targeted' is not the badge to put with such offers because 'targeted' already has a different definition as per ozbargain site.
      Definitely I think some sort of tag/label would be good. I certainly agree, there would be members that aren't well off and which charities would like to give items to such people. Similarly, there would be LGBT people whom might have utilized the 'deal' for free safe sex items.
      Maybe some tag like 'targeted' (but some other tag) could be used to make it clear that the offer is from a charity, and should only be utilized by people that are poor, or people that are in the group targeted by the charity.

      • I don't think that there is anything wrong with using the [TARGETED] tag by broadening it's scope in the definition. In this case it was a deal TARGETED to "At risk LGBTI people", it would be impractical to verify that eligibility it is just a matter of self-assessment and being considerate to others by not abusing it.

        • True, that could work, if the mods are willing to adjust/broaden definition of 'targeted' .
          It might be a problem though, because some people have already blocked 'targeted' deals based on the current definition.
          Also, some users might want to continue to block targeted deals where they cannot receive offer unless they were specifically targeted on a seemingly random basis whether to get a deal or not. Yet they might still want to receive access to a deal for LGBT community, for instance.
          Maybe send out a message to all users who currentlu have option chosen 'not to show targeted deals' notifying them of the pending change. Could have 2 sections of 'targeted' when choice given to not show.
          Then could have different colour for the tag 'targeted' to differentiate….If mods are to go down this path.

        • @ozzpete: some others have suggested a new tag which sounds most practical if you are able to opt in/out of certain targets as well as the continued use of manually putting in the conditions in square brackets. I think that the mods say that they use the targeted tag when the exact conditions needed to receive the offer are unknown.

          Perhaps something in the format [TARGETED: LGBT] would be the preferred format and also for charitable causes not another tag but rather a stern word in the post to not abuse it.

    • Thank you OP for this post and thank you to the mods for welcoming the discussion :)

      I guess the other thing is that there have been a few popular deals for free pet adoption from Registered Charities such as the RSPCA:

      Free Mature Cat or Dog Adoption (+ Other Fees Reduced) @ RSPCA VIC
      Free Cat Adoption (Save $120) @ RSPCA Vic 19/1 - 22/1
      Cat Haven WA - Free Adoption of Adult Cats
      Free Adoption for Adult Cats on Saturday 4 March 2017 - Cat Haven WA

      Judging by the number of + votes I think the community would be happy for those type of charity freebies/deals to stay, so perhaps any ban could be limited to freebies that are ordered online/delivered (though I guess that wouldn't include the OzHarvest ones…)

      My experience with this issue: I previously posted a deal for a free standard drinks glass from DVA.

      It was aimed at military/ex-military and I posted it with the intention that the people who it was targeted to would benefit from it….and a couple of people did (or they ordered one for a relative who was a veteran). The post was reported several times though, and a lot of people commented that it shouldn't have been posted, so I requested that the Mods delete it (which they did).

      While it's a shame for people who are in the target group to miss out on something useful that they might not have otherwise known about, I completely understand the community sentiment about posting freebies from charities due to them being prone to abuse, so I try to avoid doing it now (or post in the forum).

      • I think that posting deals targeted to specific groups and broadly to raise awareness for specific groups is fair, and let the community vote on how good the deal is.


      Thanks for your reply Neil. Good point, thanks for bringing this up. This is not the right thing to do.
      Charities are there to serve a purpose and it's reaching out to their targeted audience.
      The right approach is that if I walk into this said charity and tell them that I am gay and want a gift pack, would I get a gift pack? Well, yes I would, so the deal should stay for those who are entitled.
      But now that the discussion has been brought up, there are some posts that illegitimately and illegally spoil a loophole. Those post should be and are banned by law. You say if I catch the bus and the staff do not check my ticket, am I allowed to ride without a ticket? Or if the checkout person forgets to charge me, can I take the item without paying for the service?

      No, I can't

      Those posts should be banned
      Also please add a 18+/NSFW for deals targeting adults only, including Guns, ammo and anything related to adults.
      Thanks again

      • You say if I catch the bus and the staff do not check my ticket, am I allowed to ride without a ticket? Or if the checkout person forgets to charge me, can I take the item without paying for the service?

        these two examples that you describe are an offence. one is not paying for a service while the other is not paying for goods.

        freebies are free to the users. it has been paid for by either taxpayers or by private funding.

        • -4 votes

          That's right. Yet those deals are still coming up every now and then and we all know that it is an offence being advertised by Ozbargain and we close our eyes. Those are definitely paid by taxpayers money.
          Now that @Tightarse who is treasure for this site posted a deal for a targeted group and see how everyone is triggered just because it was for a said group! But no one cares about the law and an offence.

          I think the charities would like to have a platform. Best is to have the targeted tag on. Ozbargain is not a police station, whatever is not an offence should be allowed for the community to decide and vote. Those who find themselves entitled to accept a gift from a charity probably are entitled and should be allowed to do so.

    • The poll options are very limited so I have voted no but I am not against all charity posts (I note however that the OP is more clear in his actual post and that the question is really about 'deals' that take away from charities, others may not read the poll that way and that may account for the votes to keep these posts).

      The real question here is about posts that involve taking charity and NGO resources.

      • Posts by charities and organisations themselves are fine.
      • Posts with explicit and informed permission from charities and organisations are fine.
      • Posts that fundraise and do not take any resources away from charities are fine.
      • Posts about deals or freebies that are targeted at the entire population and are clear 'awareness raising' freebies are fine as long as people reflect about suitability and any risk of unwanted exploitation before posting and that such posts are removed as soon as any exploitation occurs. Free Anti-Adani stickers, free Bibles, free OzHarvest lunches in business areas of cities, all of those are for general public 'awareness raising' and no or minimal risk of exploitation. Most posts about one-off events and initiatives would come under this.

      • Posts that are freebies or 'deals' targeted at specific populations or vulnerable people should not be allowed if there is any non-negligible risk of charities and NGOs being used and exploited by non-eligible or non-targeted people. A 'freebie' that is a face-to-face interaction with a charity that requires physically travelling and seeking it out such as the 'Pay what you want for groceries at OzHarvest' has less risk than an online form that relies on anonymous honesty about eligibility such as the ACON example. A simple low risk rule to start from could be 'no freebies from charities or NGOs that are targeted at specific communities or vulnerable populations via an online form'.

      • I am poor, gay and disabled and I OzBargain because it's the only way I can afford things on a pension. I am interested in freebies and new things yet I also know that the services and charities I use have very limited resources and one ineligible yet 'entitled' person let alone hundreds or thousands of people taking from them means there is less for people like me who are vulnerable or have very little. In the case of the linked thread, I use ACON's services, my eligible friends use ACON's services, the vulnerable people I work with use ACON's services and there simply isn't enough support and resources for people living with HIV and LGBTIQ people in NSW as it is (ACON is the key service provider for both).

      • At a minimum, a new title tag of [CHARITY] or similar should be discussed and used. Goodwill I think does not have the same level of 'stop and think' that the word charity has (eg people might take from Goodwill but not take from charity). There are still selfish brodeners out there but I think making clear that something should be thought about more closely is important. There is risk though that the word charity in some people's minds might equal free. Just as commenters in the linked post thread felt entitled to exploit ACON because 'they pay taxes' and ACON receives some NSW Health funding (totally ignoring the extent of the services, population and geography that funding needs to cover)

      • Posts that are clearly or likely being exploited should be removed straight away at the slightest indication of increased risk. It should not take 36 hours when it is clear from the post itself and from early comments that people are ignoring eligibility and exploiting a charity's resources. It only takes 1 or 2 exploiter or pack mentality comments for this to be known. Consider that those 1 or 2 exploiter comments likely represent many more exploiters who have not commented and that pack mentality comments encourage even more exploitation from unknown more people. The snowball and pile on effects of Front Page deals are massive and if it occurs over a weekend there may be a delay before the charity or organisation concerned finds out and can respond.

      • Arguing that it's 'awareness raising' when a charity is being exploited and that a theoretical OzBargainer who is eligible might maybe theoretically miss out if the deal gets taken down ignores the fact that people who are eligible will 100% definitely miss out if a 'deal' is exploited by a single person. As good responsible citizens, OzBargain should err on the side of caution and not permit any post that involves possible or likely exploitation of charities and NGOs.

      • I feel very sad thinking about the resources that might be lost to this, particularly the volunteers who spends hours at 'Packing Parties' at ACON to make up the kits like this. Less than a month away from Mardi Gras season, this is the most demanding time for ACON volunteers and staff and the most in-demand and important season for the legitimate distribution of these Safe Sex Packs to people at risk.

        If some OzBargainers have taken from ACON, it would be a good time for them and other OzBargainers reading to consider making a donation. They are doing a fundraising drive for $50,000 to help fund their services like meals for people with HIV, support for victims of domestic and family violence and their counselling services. $5 is enough to pay for a small Safe Sex Pack (the website packs that OzBargainers were requesting on the websites are larger and more expensive than that, especially the specialised I Love Claude ones, and that doesn't include shipping costs either). You can donate here: https://acon.nationbuilder.com/

    • Get rid of such posts? NO!

      The businesses/whatever that offers things are not naive little children, and we're not paid to be their nannies. It's up to them to judge if their customers/recipients are genuine. I'm sure they have rules and guidelines and deal with that every day before their new-found 'babysitters' turned up. If it wasn't posted here, there would still be people faking to get stuff (or not). If they don't have such a process in place, then they should - and if they get overwhelmed by requests it will be a wake up call TO DO THAT, plus, they're not forced at gunpoint to comply - they can just say no!?

      This is just another case of Australia slowly adopting the same cancer that is suffocating common sense in the USA: the insidious spread of the social justice wOrrier. Which is evidenced by one notifying the place, who then requested the post be removed. Funny how these self-appointed super(stoopid?)-heroes will say they're for equality - then do all they can to remove that post from the sight of someone HERE that qualifies who otherwise would have never heard of it. Also funny how that place didn't bother considering that EITHER. I guess they're more concerned about keeping their job PRODUCED by the charity/donations, more than their supposed cause.

      Just post them. If the places want them removed, they'll contact ozb and ask for that, after the obligatory wOrrier gets their knickers in a twist and does their daily dose of nitpicking. Most of the things said here are in jest (send to my boss, etc.) and no-one would actually bother. People with an IQ in the positive range understand this.

    • See ozbargain as just a forum for people to post topics of bargain. Ozbargain being a forum is a facilitator. Whether its ethical or not to take from the charities is up to the individual. Ozbargain shouldn't try to mandate the ozbargain views onto them (through the strategy of banning forum topics) as it will impact on the geninuity of the site as a free speech bargain discussion forum.

  • Seriously? WTF is wrong with people? Let's take advantage of a charity who are trying to work with vulnerable parts of society for something that we don't actually need or so you can make a joke on your mother in law or boss. Posts like this should be removed.

  • Maybe rather than banning them we should put the "targetted" message in the title, like we do with some of the other deals. People can then wrestle with their consciences. If the post means the targetted group is made aware then this is works as a benefit. If I saw that something was targetted I probably wouldn't jump on board.

    • Let's be realistic, It's ozbargain. It's free, people will jump on just because it's free and not give a damn that they're not 'targeted'. For all we know, we've just exhausted their yearly supply or whatever they're giving out

    • Our definition of targeted offer (e.g. The Targeted Blue sign) is basically where we don't know who this is targeted to. Targeted offer. So in the OPs example [LBGTI] would be appropriate like [NSW], [Costco Members] or [iOS] etc rather than the Targeted Offer Blue Tag.

      • I believe that the tag for these deals should highlight the type of deal, rather than who the deal is targeting. See my comment below for examples of tags.

        While most [TARGETED] deals can only be taken advantage of by people who meet the criteria for the deal, these charity deals generally don't restrict who is able to apply for them, and rely on people's conscience.

        I've also noticed a bit of a culture recently of people finding it unfair when they aren't targeted for certain offers, and I'm afraid that people will view tags like [At Risk LBGTI ONLY] as exclusivity rather than awareness of the intended recipients of said charity.

      • +10 votes

        A green CHARITY sign may prevent most offence.


        Oh it is getting complicated, there are lots of different posts to be banned before we get to charities

    • I think instead of [TARGETED] it should be [CHARITY] or [GOODWILL]. And all of the deals that have the tag should have a generic disclaimer in the description that informs users about some of the moral implications of taking advantage of the deal.

      I believe that would be enough to encourage people to consider their actions and not blindly take advantage of freebies that could really help others.

  • +14 votes

    I think the statement made by mods is appropriate. If you're not a member of the LGBTIQ community and/or not at risk of HIV, unsafe sex etc. then don't take advantage of the offer. There would be many people reading this website that are at risk. Not everyone can just go down to the store and buy condoms - we don't know what their situation is, and to be perfectly honest it can be pretty embarrassing sometimes. Infact I didn't even know what PrEP was before the post.

    This post has raised awareness for those in need. People should be embracing it and not giving into their selfish urges of hogging up everything that is free. People's attitude and the personal attacks directed towards TA is disgusting and in my opinion… the lowest of low.

    • The thing is, opening it up on this website is like a can of worms. The people who will mainly see it aren’t those who are at risk - they are people who are after a quick deal or freebie. Those in genuine need are actually more likely to see it on the charity’s own website, without an OzBargain deal about it.

      • +11 votes

        Do you not realise that those people who are in genuine need could be on this website? OzBargain is made up of everyday people from all walks of life.

        • As I said, they are likely to be in the vast MINORITY of users of the site and are more likely to find out about the charity via other means. The risks far outweigh the benefits.

        • @ihavecentsnotsense: Doesn't matter if it's a minority. If someone in need has seen it then the job has been done. There are plenty of deals that get posted here which target a specific minority.

          The problem is people with no self control who take advantage of stuff they don't need and those who think it's right to personally attack someone.

        • You're right, but for the handful of those that the 'offer' is relevant for who is perusing this site, you've basically (profanity) over the thousands of others the charity is trying to help because most people ordering are NOT the target market.

        • @goodo: And that's the problem. Don't blame the one who shared it. Blame those in the community that are abusing it.

        • +1 vote

          Still shouldn't be posted as a deal/freebie, a forum post would be more suitable.

        • @BrodenIt: Perhaps, but it's not actually posted as a deal though. It's posted as a Freebie. They're actually separate things here.

        • @Clear:

          I'm not trying to blame the person who shared it. I'm just saying given we can't prevent people from abusing the charity, I don't think these posts should be posted.

        • @goodo: I'm glad you see it that way, because heaps of people don't. Perhaps a forum post was a better idea. Regardless, it's up to the mod's discretion now.


          @Clear: Yes, but isn't freebie still listed as a category under deals?

        • @Clear:

          Regardless, it's up to the mod's discretion now.

          It's up to the community :). We're happy with a decision as long as it can be applied uniformily especially if it prevents numerous reports, toxic comments and hate pointed towards staff and the OP.

        • @neil: Maybe a whole separate category to deals? All the different charities and health services can be put under it for "those in need". The downside I see is people abusing it.

        • @neil: banning charity deals would achieve this.

        • @ihavecentsnotsense: Banning Charity Deals is like using a Sledgehammer to hit a nail. There are other ways to achieve the desired outcome without destroying a whole category of deals.

          Perhaps it should be up to the Charity in question if they are willing to take the risk that there will be some coming from this site who will abuse the deal (despite the warnings) on the tradeoff that they might reach more target viewers than by not using this site.

        • @neil:
          The community have clearly spoken and yet the deal is still up.

      • Opening it up on the INTERNET is like a can of worms. Let them police it - as they have done before it was here - and will do once we all (thankfully) forget about it.

    • +3 votes

      Sad truth, but would those brodens even care?

    • I didn't even know what PrEP was

      I thought it was lubing up before having sex.

      • And laying down the towels, brushing the teeth, getting out the garden gloves…

        • Just in case anyone was getting ideas, don’t brush your teeth before sex as it can lead to small cuts in your mouth

        • @dipster: As for the L in LGBT etc (there seem to be variations) it appears that charity is prepared to send condoms to lesbians. I accept my imagination is somewhat blocked until I drink some coffee, but … why would lesbians require condoms?

        • @PJC:
          Perhaps for sharing toys?

        • @whooah1979: Yeah, fair enough, I would have worked that out myself by 8am. The kettle is boiling …

    • People's attitude and the personal attacks directed towards TA is disgusting and in my opinion… the lowest of low.

      Given that he suggested people lie about their details to claim the "freebie", he's not without blame. It's a scummy thing to do.

      • Doesn't justify the actions by a select few. I'm not saying it's right, but it definitely seemed to be a more tongue in cheek comment.

  • +13 votes

    As said above, taking advantage of charity freebies that were intended for those in need is plain wrong and encouraging people to do so on Ozbargain is worse.

  • Another issue to discuss is that originally, the OP of the deal stated something to the effect of: 'This deal is only for gay and trans men. Use your imagination ;)' which was ultimately suggesting people lie about their sexual orientation to get the freebie. The current wording of the post is significantly better, but it only shows we need clear guidelines around these posts.

    For what it's worth, I don't believe all charity posts should be banned. For example, the Think.Eat.Save free lunches were about raising awareness for the entire community about food wastage. Instead, I believe deals that target specific (especially vulnerable) groups of the community for a charitable or public good should be banned (say, domestic violence victims, homelessness, those at risk of HIV, bushfire victims). We may well say that the deal is targeted, but given the number of commenters suggesting they'd bought the packs as a joke, I don't believe this is enough to protect charities from being overwhelmed by non-legitimate OzBargainers. OzBargain should have a corporate social responsibility for things like this.