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Better Business Bureau Warns of “Pinkwashing” Charity Fraud

During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Consumers Should be Careful of “Pinkwashing” Charity Fraud

pinkwashingOctober is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and that means pink ribbons will be on many products to promote awareness and donations to breast cancer charities and research. However, the Better Business Bureau has issued a warning to consumers regarding “pinkwashing,” a form of charity fraud.

The BBB advises consumers this month to research products before they buy the items simply for the pink ribbon. The pink ribbon is not regulated by any agency, and it can be used by unscrupulous scammers or businesses who want to make a buck – this practice is called “pinkwashing.”

“The pink ribbon is not regulated by anyone, so anyone can use that logo and not necessarily provide money to breast cancer research or cure,” says Jim Camp, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Central SC and Charleston.

Originally, putting a pink ribbon on a product meant the company would donate a portion of their sales to breast cancer research and charity programs. In some pinkwashing cases, companies will put a “cap” on donations going to a specific organization, so when that cap is met, no more donations come from the sale of the item, even if the items still have a pink ribbon on them.

There are many other companies that commit worse charity fraud, by putting the pink ribbon on items but donating no money to breast cancer charities or research.

Fortunately, some companies do not commit charity fraud or pinkwashing, and legitimately donate a percentage of their sales to breast cancer programs. The BBB says that most pink ribbon efforts are legitimate, but it is important for consumers to be aware of potential charity fraud.

The BBB’s specific recommendations are:

• 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 you’re purchasing from by checking their BBB Business Review at

• Confirm the charity’s corporate partners. Many national breast cancer charities list corporate partners and sponsors on their website. Check to make sure the business you’re purchasing from is associated with the charity.

• Consider a direct donation. Find a charity you trust at and make a donation directly.  If you donate online, be sure to print the confirmation page for your records — many donations are tax-deductible.

Local South Carolina Company Gives All Proceeds to Breast Cancer, Combats Charity Fraud Business Image

Garnet and Black Traditions, and Jewelry Warehouse stores in Lexington and Columbia are very upfront about exactly how much money they give to breast cancer charities, and are working to combat the “pinkwashing” charity fraud image that so many businesses have incurred.

For example, one Pink Gamecocks tshirt that sells for $14.99 at Garnet and Black, 100% of the money goes to researching triple negative breast cancer.

“This year, in particular, breast cancer has really hit home with us, because the owner’s wife has actually been diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer,” says Erin Huxford, buyer and merchandiser for the store. “It’s a very rare and aggressive form of breast cancer that just a lot of money isn’t poured into.”

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Business Litigation, Including Charity Fraud Charges

The Strom Law Firm LLC’s business litigation practice is focused on representing individuals, officers, directors, public companies, and private corporations involved in complex civil disputes.

We concentrate our resources and efforts on business and commercial litigation involving:

  • Breach of contract claims
  • Business fraud
  • Interference with business activities or unfair competition
  • Antitrust lawsuits / price fixing allegations
  • Bank and lender liability
  • Insurance fraud and Securities Fraud
  • False Claims Act / “qui tam” whistleblower cases
  • Breach of warranty claims

If you find yourself in the middle of a business dispute, including financial fraud or charity fraud charges, or need help interpreting or enforcing a contract or legal agreement, contact The Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss your available options. 803.252.4800



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