BBB Advises Consumers To Check Pink Ribbon Products' Charity Gifts Before Buying

St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 12, 2012 – Pink packaging has become almost as prevalent as orange and black in October, designated as Breast Cancer Awareness month. But some pink products may provide limited benefits to breast cancer charities or research, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises.

“The fight against breast cancer is dear to the hearts of many women and those who love them,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB president and CEO. “But companies need to do more than change the color of their packaging if they are going to market themselves as benefactors of breast cancer charities.”

The BBB has studied pink products ranging from lint rollers to teddy bears. The BBB found that some products promise significant donations to breast cancer charities while others do not. Many products lay out the amount they contribute to charities on the packaging, which the BBB believes is the best way to inform consumers who are interested in buying products to support those charities. However, other products make only vague claims, or they require consumers to mail in proof of their purchase before donations can be made.

If you want to support breast cancer charities by purchasing products, the BBB advises that you look into how that purchase will benefit a charity and which charity will get the money. More tips:

  • Inspect the product for information.  Many companies clearly report on labels how much of their sales go to charity and specifically where the money goes.
  • Check the company’s website.  If the information isn’t on the product itself, it often can be found at the website address printed on the product packaging.
  • If you still can’t find the information, call the company and ask for it. Firms that use charity tie-ins to market their products should be transparent to consumers.
  • Contact the charity directly if you have doubts they are receiving proceeds.
  • Check out the charity to decide whether you believe it is worthy of your support. One way to do this is by contacting the BBB to determine whether the charity meets the BBB’s 20 Standards for Accountability. You may reach the BBB by going to www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.

Consumers can find reports on charities at the BBB website (bbb.org/charity). The BBB’s Charity Information Service examines the percentage of its money a charity spends on programs, its governance, fund-raising, informational materials and effectiveness. Charities who meet all 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability can become BBB Accredited Charities. Some tips for avoiding charity scams include:

  • Be wary of appeals that are long on emotion, but short on describing what the charity will do.
  • If you contribute, do not give cash.  Make a check or money order out to the name of the charitable organization, not to the individual collecting the donation.
  • Watch out for excessive pressure for on-the-spot donations.  Be wary of any requests to send a “runner” to pick up your donation.
  • Be wary of charities that are reluctant to answer reasonable questions about their operations, finances and programs.  Ask how much of your gift will be used for the activity mentioned in the appeal and how much will go toward other programs and administrative and fundraising costs.

Before you do business with a charity or company, check its BBB Business Review or BBB Charity Review at www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.

About the BBB

The BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior.  The BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Reviews on more than 4 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust.  Please visit www.bbb.org for more information. 

Contacts ((News Media Only): Michelle L. Corey, President and CEO, (314) 645-0606, mcorey@stlouisbbb.org; Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, (314) 584-6743 or (314) 681-4719 (cell), communications@stlouisbbb.org

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