BBB Advises Consumers To Check Before Buying Pink Ribbon Products

October 29, 2009

As National Breast Cancer Awareness month celebrates 25 years of education, many national and local businesses are marketing pink ribbon products and services to support a cure for breast cancer. Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona advises consumers to research donation claims before making a purchase.

BBB encourages consumers to look for companies that discloses a charity name, the amount of a sale going to the charity, the duration of marketing campaigns and, if applicable, the maximum or minimum contribution amount.

“The ultimate goal is for a portion of the purchase to end up in the intended charity’s hands,” said Kim States, BBB President.  “Consumers can ensure this will happen by asking the right questions.”

While most pink ribbon marketing campaigns are trustworthy, consumers can eliminate the possibility of supporting companies that market false donation claims by doing the following:

  • Identify the charity receiving the donation. If the product or service is linked to a donation percentage, contact the business or manufacturer to determine exactly where the money is going and what percentage is donated.
  • Research the charity through BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance.  If the product or service is in support of an unfamiliar charity, learn more about the organization by reviewing BBB’s charity report online at
  • Confirm the charity’s corporate partners.  Many national breast cancer charities list the names of corporate partners and sponsors on their websites.

In addition to purchasing products and services, consumers may receive solicitations for general donations over the phone. BBB advises potential donors to be cautious of individuals claiming to represent national breast cancer charities.

According to the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month organization (NBCAM), the group does not solicit contributions and has not authorized the use of its name for solicitation purposes. BBB suggests that you contact the charity directly to confirm any telephone solicitations.

Additional charitable giving advice includes:

  • 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.

For more information on how to ensure that your donation gets into the right hands, visit BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance at