BBB warns of “Pinkwashing” scams during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

BBB warns of "Pinkwashing" scams during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (Image 1)

By Robert Kittle 

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Better Business Bureau is warning you that some companies may be using the sale of pink products as a scam. It's 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.

Some companies, like Garnet and Black Traditions and Jewelry Warehouse stores in Columbia and Lexington, are upfront about exactly how much of the money you spend on pink items actually goes to breast cancer research. The store spells out on the tags of pink items exactly what percentage will go toward find a cure. Some say $2 from the sale of this item will go toward a cure, some say 5 percent, and some say 10 percent.

For one pink Gamecocks t-shirt that sells for $14.99, 100 percent of the proceeds will go to research on 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 BBB says some companies just flat-out scam people, selling pink ribbons or other pink items and not giving any money to breast cancer research or charities. Others may have a maximum contribution limit. After that's met, they might keep selling the pink items but none of that money goes to breast cancer research.

The BBB says you should ask questions, like what percentage of the sale price will be donated, to which charity and how the funds will be used. Also, research the business, through the BBB website.

And if you really want to make sure your money goes to breast cancer research, consider a direct donation to a charity you trust.

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