October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many businesses are marketing “pink” products and services to support breast cancer charity groups and organizations. But every year scammers find a new way to take advantage of these good deeds – a practice known as “pinkwashing.” In order to make sure donations go to the right place, Better Business Bureau advises consumers to research pink product claims before making a purchase.
The widely recognized pink ribbon symbol is not regulated by an agency and does not necessarily mean it effectively combats the breast cancer epidemic. Some products have a pink ribbon in order to indicate that the company supports breast cancer programs even if the company’s contributions are not tied to the purchases of the specific product bearing the ribbon. Other companies give a portion of an item’s cost to a breast cancer organization but may require further action on the part of the consumer for the donation to be realized.
While the majority of these efforts are trustworthy, consumers should take the following steps to double check their efforts will go where they are needed:
Ask questions. Find out what percentage of the sale price will be donated, to which charity and how the funds will be used.
Research the business. Learn more about the business your purchasing from by checking their BBB Business Review at bbb.org.
Confirm the charity’s corporate partners. Many national breast cancer charities list corporate partners and sponsors on their Web site. Check to make sure the business you are purchasing from is associated with the charity.
Consider a direct donation. Find a charity you trust at bbb.org/charity and make a donation directly. If you donate online, be sure to print the confirmation page for your records – many donations are tax-deductible.