New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman announced today that his office is launching an investigation into companies and charities that say they are sending funds to benefit breast cancer research.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“National Breast Cancer Awareness Month continues to raise our understanding of and support for breast cancer charities, and consumers who intend to support this cause deserve to know that their purchases do the good promised,”Mr. Schneiderman said. “This review will help ensure that cause marketing campaigns provide the benefit that’s expected, and that we protect consumers, charities, and above all, the women and families affected by this devastating disease.”
At this time of year, consumers can walk into a store and find pink ribbons on pretty anything they would ever want to buy; the AG’s office is making sure that those products and stores that say they are donating to breast cancer research are in fact going through with it.
Earlier this year, Mr. Schneiderman sued to shut down the Coalition Against Breast Cancer, which fraudulently raised millions of dollars under the guise of fighting breast cancer. In August, two defendants pleaded guilty to criminal charges for misusing more than $500,000 donated to the phony Coalition For Breast Cancer Cures, using the funds to pay for personal travel, shopping and other unlawful extravagancies.
Mr. Schneiderman’s office put forward a checklist for consumers concerned about where their charitable dollars are going:
· Check The Benefit Amount. Read the packaging, contact the charity or product manufacturer to find out how much of the purchase price will actually be donated.
· See Who Will Benefit. Does the promotion clearly state which charity will receive the donations? Are you familiar with the charity? Visit the Attorney General’s searchable charities registry at www.charitiesnys.com for more information about the organization that stands to benefit.
· Find Out How Purchase Will Make A Difference. In some cases, the business has agreed to donate a specific amount, regardless of the number of items sold. Others will limit the amount they will donate, and may have reached that amount by the time of your purchase. See if such limits are disclosed.
· Ask About Additional Action. Read the fine print on the label before you make the purchase – some companies require you to take further action to complete the donation, entering a code on a website or mailing in a proof of purchase. You may also be asked to provide personal information, such as your name and email address, to complete the process.
· Check The Date. Many cause marketing campaigns have a time limit. Check the packaging to see if one is mentioned and, if so, whether it has expired