October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and many businesses are marketing products and services donned with pink ribbons to show financial support for breast cancer charity groups and organizations. While this is a legitimate practice, be on the lookout for dishonest businesses who claim to support breast cancer research or services by purchasing pink products but pocket the donations instead. Better Business Bureau (BBB), serving Central East Texas, advises consumers to research pink products and charity claims before purchasing or donating.
“Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the U.S.,” said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB serving Central East Texas. “That’s why it’s so important to make sure your donation dollars go to legitimate charities who are researching in search of a cure.”
BBB recommends consumers take the following steps to ensure their donations go where they are needed:
Investigate. Remember to read labels on products carefully for disclosure of information. If you can’t find information, contact the business directly and ask the following questions: What portion of the purchase price goes to the charity? When will the charity receive the donated amount? What are they funding? Are donations to the charity from the business capped? When is the last day to donate? Finally, confirm the charity’s corporate partners. Many national breast cancer charities list corporate partners and their sponsors on their websites. Check to make sure the business you’re purchasing from is associated with the charity.
Use your head as well as your heart. Think about the product that you are purchasing. Is it something that you want or need? If the answer is no, then consider donating directly to the breast cancer charity of your choice. That way you know exactly how much money is going to the charity of your choice.
Keep an eye out for copycat charities. It’s essential to make sure donations go to the right place. Suppose you suspect a scam involving a ‘look-a-like charity,” do not give. Be watchful for names, logos, slogans, or colors which are similar to the legitimate charity. Be wary of claims like “100 percent of donations go to the charity.” It is not true since all charities have fundraising, program, and administrative costs, and be wary of vague claims, such as “all proceeds go to charity” or “your purchase will benefit a charity.” Also, remember that it’s often difficult for donors to verify the trustworthiness of those requesting assistance when donating to crowdfunding sites. Avoid giving to a fraudulent charity by going to Give.org.
For more tips on being a savvy consumer or sharing your experience with a business, go to bbb.org. Then, call BBB at (903) 581-5704 or report it via BBB Scam Tracker to report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices.
About BBB: BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. In addition, BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more details. Over 100 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central East Texas, founded in 1985 and serving 19 counties.